Canada will open the 2018 at the Concacaf Women’s Under-17 Championship this Friday in a Group B match against Caribbean opponent Bermuda. The Friday 20 April match is the first of three group matches in five days for the young Canadian team in Managua, Nicaragua.
At the eight-nation Concacaf Women’s Under-17 Championship, three nations will qualify for the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Uruguay 2018. In the group phase, Canada will face Bermuda on 20 April, Costa Rica on 22 April, and USA on 24 April. Two nations from the group will then advance to the semi-final phase.
“I know the players selected can’t wait for that first whistle at the Concacaf Women’s Under-17 Championship,” said Bev Priestman, Canada Soccer’s Women’s National EXCEL Director U-15 to U-23. “We have an exciting opening match against Caribbean side Bermuda and our players will do everything they can to make Canada proud.”
The eight-nation competition provides an important development step on the pathway to the Women’s National Team and future FIFA Women’s World Cups and Olympic Football Tournaments. Canada’s first goal in the tournament will be to advance beyond the group phase.
“The Concacaf Women’s Under-17 Championship is a great window and key development step for young, talented players to gain unique tournament experiences and be pitted against some good opposition in a major competition,” said Priestman. “We know and have seen that these competitions and environments provide young players with the chance to bloom and find new personal bests.”
The 20 April match marks the first-ever meeting between Canada and Bermuda at a Concacaf women’s youth tournament.
Under an aligned Women’s EXCEL Program, the 20 Canadian players will have collectively accumulated more than 2,000 player days in Canada Soccer’s women’s youth program by the time their competition starts on 20 April. Three players (Teni Akindoju, Jayde Riviere, and Caitlin Shaw) have already accumulated more than 200 camp days and three players have already earned their first call up to the Women’s National Team (Riviere, Jordyn Huitema, and Ariel Young).
All 20 players are also currently enrolled at Canada Soccer’s Super EXCEL Centres in British Columbia, Ontario, and Québec, including two which came from Regional EXCEL Centres in Nova Scotia and Alberta.
Also highlighted in the squad, 11 players have previous experience at a Concacaf youth competition at the U-15, U-17, or U-20 level. Among the nine debutants, the three youngest are 15-year old players Stella Downing, Jade Rose, and Élisabeth Tsé.
The 2018 Concacaf Women’s Under-17 Championship runs 19 to 29 April at the Estadio Nacional de Fútbol de Nicaragua. Group A (19, 21, 23 April) features Haiti, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Puerto Rico while Group B (20, 22, 24 April) features Bermuda, Canada, Costa Rica, and USA.