Jamaica keeps CU17W objective in mind
Jamaica's Shayla Smart (yellow jersey) scored against the USA in a CONCACAF Under-17 Women's Championship match on March 4, 2016, in St. George's, Grenada. (Photo: Mexsport)

ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada – For Jamaica, the 2016 CONCACAF Under-17 Women’s Championship started in the same way its participation in the last edition ended: a loss to the United States.

In both encounters, the Reggae Girlz conceded eight goals. A bright spot, though, was that Shayla Smart netted a 32nd minute equalizer after Civana Kuhlmann gave the U.S. a 1-0 lead. It was only the fourth goal conceded by the Americans in 21 all-time CU17W games.

That fact, though, didn’t make head coach Lorne Donaldson feel any better about the result.

“The U.S. was just a better team than us, better prepared, better players, just a better team,” said the 61-year-old, who is also the president and executive director of coaching for Real Colorado, a club on which two of the U.S. under-17 players compete. “We came out, we tried. They’re a lot, lot fitter than us. It showed in the second half that our fitness wasn’t there.

“We tried, we gave it everything.”

As tournament host more than two years ago, Jamaica achieved its best-ever under-17 placement in CONCACAF, finishing in fourth place. Donaldson believes that there is still time to turn things around and secure a semifinal berth.

“We expect to move on. That’s why we show up here,” he stressed. “There’s three games in the tournament, they know that. One game does not make a tournament. We’re here to try to advance as hard as it seems. That’s what we’re trying to do.

“Hopefully, this one game can show us a few things. We have to play football.”