ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada – When she entered the match in the 70th minute for Sydney Zardi with her team leading Jamaica, 4-1, you knew that Frankie Tagliaferri was going to bring talent, energy and effort to the Grenada National Stadium pitch.
What you didn’t know was that she would explode for four goals in an 18-minute stretch to help the Americans to an 8-1 win in their 2016 CONCACAF Under-17 Women’s Championship (CU17W) opener on Friday.
“It felt so good to go in the game and do that for my team, and do it together,” Tagliaferri told CONCACAF.com.
The 17-year-old forward became the fourth player from the U.S. to net four times or more in a single CU17W match, joining the trio of Lindsey Horan (2010: 4 v Haiti); Summer Green (2012: 5 v Bahamas); Zoe Redei (2013: 4 v Guatemala).
“It’s just a cool thing,” said Tagliaferri, a standout performer with renowned New Jersey youth club PDA, when informed about those already in the four-goal club. “I couldn’t have done it without everyone else on the field. I think it’s amazing.”
It is a rare occasion in football that a player will come on as a late substitute and then make such a stunning impact. The U.S. coaching staff, however, makes sure that every player in the squad is equipped for all possible eventualities.
“We talk a lot about it together in our meetings,” commented Tagliaferri, who also played in the 2013 edition of the tournament. “If you’re on the field or a game-changer waiting to come in, you have to prepare for that, you have to be mentally prepared. You have to follow the game and just stay on track.”
While Tagliaferri was obviously excited about her significant contribution to the victory, she was already looking forward to planning for the next Group B games against Mexico (March 6) and Costa Rica (March 8).
“We’ll work together, trust each other and play as hard as we can,” finished Tagliaferri.
As evidenced by the victory over Jamaica, that’s exactly what will happen.