BRADENTON, Florida – Following a 2-1 defeat to Mexico in the semifinals of the CONCACAF Women’s Under-17 Championship, Canada’s focus quickly shifted to Tuesday’s pivotal third-place match in which a final spot in the 2018 FIFA Women’s Under-17 World Cup will be on the line.
“If they believe in themselves, then that’s what it takes,” said Canada Head Coach Bev Priestman in a post-match interview with CONCACAF.com “I believe in them, they know that. The way we want to play, I try to get them to believe that but as long as they believe it, we can win,” added Priestman.
For Priestman, there was a lot to take away from Sunday’s defeat to Mexico and that it will serve as a lesson for Tuesday’s match.
“I think in the first 45 minutes we showed Mexico too much respect. The occasion got to these young players, but what we do know is that it’s the next game that counts. The girls are going to make sure that doesn’t happen again and I think when we did have belief in ourselves, we really took the game to them as we have every opponent, so we’ll be ready for the game that really counts,” said Priestman.
As a four-time CWU17 finalist, the Canada coaching staff has seen first-hand the improvement shown by all teams within the region and that this year’s CWU17 is just the latest example of that.
“I think what the tournament has shown is that the gap is closing, particularly with the top four or five teams the gap is getting tighter. The countries are investing more money in women’s football and I think that shows in the long-term and that makes these players better for the senior team,” concluded Priestman.