TT women’s Under-20 football team will play their first warm-up match, against a senior semi-professional women’s squad, in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, on Friday.
The national team are presently in a training camp with coach Richard Hood, fine-tuning ahead of the CONCACAF Under-20 Women’s Championships which kicks off in the Dominican Republic on February 22.
Competing out of Group F, TT begin their campaign on the following day against St Kitts/Nevis at the Estadio Panamericano, San Cristóbal, before facing Cayman Islands (February 25) and Haiti (February 27).
Although the team have already completed three training sessions, six of the eight North American-based players – Sydni Greaves, Sydney Boiselle, Tori Paul, Sarah De Gannes, Shalisha King and Megan Rampersad – only joined up with their ten TT-based teammates on Tuesday. Two additional foreign-based talents, Arnelle Douglas and Klil Keshwar, will arrive on Sunday.
On Thursday, Hood conducted a double session with the 16 available players. He was impressed with the look of the six newcomers so far, along with the rest of the squad.
“We had our first session (Wednesday) where we had an opportunity to see six of the foreign-based players for the first time. We got a favourable impression of them for the most part. We introduce them to some of our tactical plans and there were very receptive,” Hood stated.
“(On Thursday morning) we had a physical session and returned to the pitch in the afternoon where we prepare for our first scrimmage on Friday,” he added.
The team have been sharpening their skills, ahead of next week’s tourney, at the Dominican Fiesta Hotel. According to Hood, the hotel’s housing/sporting facilities are excellent. He expressed satisfaction with the training pitches and revealed the players and staff are all in good spirits.
“We look forward to the challenges ahead,” Hood concluded.
The tournament runs from February 22 to March 8. The top three teams from each group will advance to the knockout stage.
The final tournament is expanded from eight to 20 teams, with the top two teams qualifying for the 2020 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica and Panama. As hosts, both CONCACAF nations have automatically qualified.