PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – A late first-half goal by Summer Arjoon was all Trinidad & Tobago needed to defeat host Haiti 1-0 in final of the Caribbean Football Union Women’s Under-17 Tournament on Sunday at the Stade Sylvio Cator.
The much-anticipated encounter was played before a crowd of 6,800 spectators, braving inclement weather to witness history as a Caribbean champion in this age group was crowned for the first time.
The home supporters gave Haitians a lift from the opening whistle, while the Trinidadians did well to absorb the early pressure. It was clear that the young Soca Princesses would place special focus on limiting the attacking duo of Batcheba Louis and Isnada Lebrun, who combined to 26 of Haiti’s 32 goals in the competition.
The first half was largely played to a stalemate, but it shifted in Trinidad’s favor five minutes before the break. After eluding a challenge, midielder Chevonne John maintained her balance and found teammate Zoe Swift. The 16-year-old fed Arjoon in the penalty area and she beat goalkeeper Jonie Gabriel for a 1-0 lead.
Haiti stepped up its attack in the second half, nearly leveling in the 55th minute. Sherly Jeudy struck a well-paced effort that looked destined for the back of the net, before it was pushed over the crossbar by Trinidad goalkeeper Nicolette Craig.
With 30 minutes left in regulation, the Soca Princesses adjusted their formation, going with a single striker and positioning the midfield closer to the defense.
Despite some close calls, the tactic paid off, enabling Trinidad to lift the trophy.
The two finalists now head to the 2013 CONCACAF Under-17 Women’s Championship, which will take place October 30 – November 9, in Montego Bay, Jamaica. As well as the host nation, the eight-team tournament will include Canada, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, and the United States.
NOTES: In the match for third place, Puerto Rico got a goal in each half from Monica Ocasio to top Bermuda, 2-0…Trinidad’s Summer Arjoon was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.