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Wednesday 21 February 2018
Football

Canada bring teen star for U-20 tourney

Canada’s Jordyn Huitema (23) will be competing at the CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championships which kicks off on Thursday at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva.

Fans will be in for a football feast from Thursday with the best that CONCACAF youth football has to offer as the confederation’s top eight nations compete for three spots at the 2018 FIFA Under 20 Women’s World Cup in France. The CONCACAF Women’s Under-20 Championships will be held at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva.

With the United States set on defending its 2015 title, Canada will be entering the competition with their hopes resting on 16 year old pacey forward Jordyn Huitema. She was included in their final 20-player roster announced on Friday.

“Our main objective will be to qualify for the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup to ensure this group will again experience major tournaments, but we have also set some goals in terms of how we want to play and how we want to represent Canada as a team,” said Bev Priestman, Canada Soccer women’s U-20 head coach and Women’s National EXCEL Director Under-15-Under-23.

“Some of these players have had the opportunity to play with Canada Soccer’s women’s national team so they’ve experienced the unique culture that has been created within the women’s national team. Our hope is they will bring some of that experience back to this group, not only on the field tactically, but also off it.”

Canada’s roster includes seven players who have made Canada Soccer women’s national team appearances

Huitema broke into Canada’s senior women’s side during the last calendar year, making seven appearances at the international level. The teenage striker then opened her senior international scoring account with a brace in a 6-0 friendly win over Costa Rica on June 11.

Those goals in Toronto not only made Huitema the second youngest goalscorer in Canadian women’s team history, she then became the first Canadian international – male or female – to score for her country’s U-17, U-20, and senior national sides in a calendar year. For her efforts, Huitema was recently named Canada’s U-17 Women’s Player of the Year for 2017.

It is an impressive set of milestones for a player that is still finding her feet at the top level.

“I think that’s partially because of the environment I have been put in,” she said in a recent interview with FIFA.com.

Though she has had a taste of the senior international game, Huitema is ready to play her part in helping the Canadians qualify for both Uruguay and France in 2018, having made her FIFA tournament debut as a 15-year-old at last year’s U-17 Women’s World Cup in Jordan.

“Who wouldn’t want to play in a World Cup? It’s a great honour to do that,” the forward said of next year’s tournaments.

TT will come up against Huitema and Canada on January 20 from 6:30pm at the Ato Boldon Stadium.

TT head coach Jamaal Shabazz is aware of Canada’s strengths but will focus on that hurdle at the right time,

“We are aware that every team in this competition has strong qualities, but we also have our strengths which we will aim to maximise and make the best use of from match to match. Our first hurdle is Haiti,” Shabazz told TTFA Media. “It is important for us to get a decent start against them and set the pace for the rest of the competition,” he added.

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