The CONCACAF U-17 Women’s Championship begins on Wednesday and three teams from the region will book their tickets to the U-17 Women’s World Cup, which begins in Azerbaijan in September.
This is of course a tournament that U.S. Soccer will be particularly eager to find success in after a mishap in 2010. The U.S. ladies steamrolled the competition in the group stage – winning their three group games by a combined 38-0 – but they drew Canada 0-0 in the semifinal and lost on penalty kicks to become the first American women’s team not to advance to the World Cup in their age group. In fact, every U.S. women’s team at every level had previously reached the quarterfinals of every world championship. CONCACAF.com provides some perspective on that.
Naturally, there was some serious disappointment from that.
Earlier today, Travis Clark reminded me that there were only two spots available out of CONCACAF in that 2010 U-17 Women’s World Cup because Trinidad & Tobago hosted the tournament. He knows his stuff. That’s why you should read his preview here.
While this group of players is not the same as that one that fell out of qualifying two years ago, it will carry that cloud over its collective head. This squad has talent, no doubt about it. Barring any crazy circumstances, these young ladies should not have any trouble qualifying for the World Cup.
And with maturity like that shown by Morgan Andrews, whose latest blog for The Equalizer is somewhere in which wisdom, confidence and growing up intersect, I grow pretty convinced in the leadership on the squad. That’s not even to mention that Albertin Montoya is in charge. I interacted with him a lot in his two years with FC Gold Pride and watched him coach a session at this year’s NSCAA Convention. He seems to be a perfect fit for the U-17′s as a great coach who keeps things fun (see video below).
The U.S. is paired against Mexico, Trinidad & Tobago and the Bahamas in Group B, while Group A consists of Canada, Jamaica, Panama and hosts Guatemala. Watch all the games live on CONCACAF.com. Here is the full schedule.
Oh, and here is that video on keeping the mood light: