ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada – Jamaica under-17 women’s national team head coach Lorne Donaldson is also the President and Executive Director of Coaching for Real Colorado, one of the leading youth soccer organizations in the United States.
Some of the players he coaches in the famed club are on U.S. under-17 women’s team roster.
Well, as happenstance would have it, Thursday’s draw for the 2016 CONCACAF Under-17 Women’s Championship produced a pairing that will fill the former Colorado Rapids assistant coach with pride and, perhaps, some apprehension. The Reggae Girlz and the Americans have been pitted against each other in the Group B opener for each on March 4.
Talk about coincidences.
“It was a funny reaction because I have two or three girls who play for the U.S. national team and we train on Monday and Tuesday,” said Donaldson, when asked about the match-up. “I bet them we would play in the first game.
“They said, ‘coach, you are crazy.’ We’re playing the first game.”
While the U.S. could be considered the favorite heading into that encounter, Jamaica will be no pushover. It won the Caribbean qualifying competition last year, registering a 2-1 win over Haiti in the final and posting an overall record of 7W-1D-0L.
Forward Jody Brown netted a team-best six goals, while the defense conceded one goal or fewer in seven of eight outings.
After the U.S., the Jamaicans’ road won’t become any easier as matches against Central American power Costa Rica (March 6) and defending champion Mexico (March 8) will follow.
Donaldson has no plans of backing down regardless of the opposition.
“You have to have confidence,” he finished. “I mean, when we go out to play, at least we’re going to try to play hard and get after it. Our chances are just as good as anybody else and we’re going to give it everything.”