NEW YORK - Haiti, which was devastated by an earthquake last month, will open the CONCACAF Under-17 Women's Championship against the defending champion United States, the start of the 16-game, 11-day event.
Despite the calamity which according to some estimates has killed 200,000 in the country, Haiti has confirmed its participation in the second biennial U-17 championship, the first time it has qualified for the CONCACAF finals of a women's youth event since the 2002 U-19 tournament.
CONCACAF President Jack Warner visited Haiti on Sunday, committing support and offering encouragement to the Haitian Football Federation.
"Haiti's participation in this tournament under the most difficult circumstances is a testament to the will and commitment of the Haitian Football Federation, their players and coaches and the Haitian people," Warner said. "We applaud their perseverance and look forward to working together to rebuild their football program and country."
The team already has arrived in Santo Domingo, where the Dominican Football Federation is providing lodging, training facilities and other assistance to help prepare the side for next month's championship.
The tournament, to be played entirely at Alejandro Morera Soto Stadium - the home of Liga Deportiva Alajuelense - in Alajuela, Costa Rica, will open March 10, a day later than originally announced, and will conclude with the title and third-place matches on March 20.
Like the CONCACAF U-20 Women's Championship in January, all matches from the U-17 event will be streamed live free of charge at CONCACAF.com. Each game will also be available on-demand shortly after its conclusion.
The CONCACAF event will qualify two teams, along with Under-17 Women's World Cup host Trinidad & Tobago, for the world championship in September.
Immediately following the Haiti-United States match, host Costa Rica will play the Cayman Islands in the nightcap of the opening day, Group B doubleheader.
Group A will begin the following day, March 11, with Panama playing Mexico and Jamaica facing Canada.
Group play will continue on alternate days through March 15, with the semifinals set for March 18.
(Kickoff times in U.S. Eastern; local times in parentheses)
Wednesday, March 10
Haiti vs. United States, 6 p.m. (5 p.m.)
Costa Rica vs. Cayman Islands, 8:30 p.m. (7:30 p.m.)
Thursday, March 11
Panama vs. Mexico, 6 p.m. (5 p.m.)
Jamaica vs. Canada, 8:30 p.m. (7:30 p.m.)
Friday, March 12
United States vs. Cayman Islands, 6 p.m. (5 p.m.)
Costa Rica vs. Haiti, 8:30 p.m. (7:30 p.m.)
Saturday, March 13
Mexico vs. Jamaica, 2 p.m. (1 p.m.)
Panama vs. Canada, 4:30 p.m. (3:30 p.m.)
Sunday, March 14
Cayman Islands vs. Haiti, 7 p.m. (5 p.m.)
Costa Rica vs. United States, 9:30 p.m. (7:30 p.m.)
Monday, March 15
Jamaica vs. Panama, 7 p.m. (5 p.m.)
Canada vs. Mexico , 9:30 p.m. (7:30 p.m.)
Thursday, March 18
Semifinal 1, 6 p.m. (4 p.m.)
Semifinal 2, 9 p.m. (7 p.m.)
Saturday, March 20
Semifinal losers, 6 p.m. (4 p.m.)
Semifinal winners, 9 p.m. (7 p.m.)