Canada will begin their journey at the 2016 CONCACAF Women’s Under-17 Championship on Thursday night when they face Guatemala in the opening match of the group phase in St. George’s, Grenada. The tournament serves as the qualification route for the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Jordan 2016.
Canada will play their three group matches at Grenada Athletic Stadium during the competition, with matches scheduled on 3 March (against Guatemala, 17.00 local), 5 March (against host Grenada, 15.30 local), and 7 March (against Haiti, 17.00). Fans can follow the journey across Canada Soccer’s digital properties, including CanadaSoccer.com, @CanadaSoccerEN on Twitter, and @CanadaSoccer on Instagram.
“Our opponents will bring a different style of play that we are not used to here in Canada,” said Bev Priestman, Canada Soccer’s Women’s National U-17 Coach. “Hopefully, it will give our girls good experience from which they can learn to progress in our system.”
More than just a chance to qualify for Jordan 2016, Canada will use the tournament to assess their players within a tournament environment.
“We want to play as many games as possible,” said Priestman. “If we go far in the tournament, then we’ve got to assess these players for more games, but also against tougher opponents. I think that is crucial for us.”
Canada’s squad can count on some recent international tournament experience, with six players of this group having played in the 2015 CONCACAF Women’s Under-20 Championship and four having been involved in the last edition of the CONCACAF Women’s Under-17 Championship in 2013 in Jamaica.
The roster also includes Canada Soccer’s recent Canadian U-17 Player of the Year, Kennedy Faulknor, who in December made her debut with Canada’s Women’s National Team.
From two four-nation groups, the top four will advance to the knock out round, with the semi-finals on 11 March and the match for 3rd place and Final Match on 13 March. The top three teams from the CONCACAF championship will qualify for the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Jordan 2016 taking place in September and October.
Canada are four-time CONCACAF women’s youth champions, twice at the U-20 level and once each at the U-17 and U-15 levels. Canada have participated in all four FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cups since the biennial tournament was initiated in 2008, including three trips to the quarter-final phase.
Between 2014 and 2015, Canada were the only nation in the world to finish top-8 in three FIFA women’s competitions (sixth place at the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015, sixth place at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Canada 2014, and eighth place at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Costa Rica 2014).