U.S., Spaanstra work to achieve CU17W objectives

Alexa Spaanstra (left) scored in the USA's CONCACAF Under-17 Women's Championship game against Costa Rica on March 8, 2016, in St. George's, Grenada. (Photo: Mexsport)

ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada – For Alexa Spaanstra, it’s all about her teammates and what they can accomplish together.

The talented forward scored the first goal in a 2-0 win over Costa Rica on Tuesday, a result that sealed the top spot in Group B and a place in the semifinals for the United States (3W-0D-0L, 9 points) at the 2016 CONCACAF Under-17 Women’s Championship.

“One of our goals for this tournament was to win our group stage, so I thought we were very professional about it,” said Spaanstra. “We came together and got the outcome that we wanted. I thought that we all fought really well.”

Spaanstra downplayed her goal and its role in the victory, preferring to praise the team.

“I couldn’t have done it without my teammates,” the Michigan Hawks product commented about the goal, which came on the strength of a magical run by Sophia Smith into the right side of the Costa Rican box. “We all worked really hard to get here and every piece of the game mattered.”

There’s a lot more to come that will matter to the Americans. By virtue of finishing first in Group B, a final-four encounter against Group A runner-up Canada awaits on Friday, with the winner earning a spot in the tournament’s final and a berth in the 2016 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup.

As the competition rolls on, Spaanstra is happy that the U.S. can rely on the experience of midfielder Ashley Sanchez and defender Kiara Pickett – veterans of last year’s CONCACAF Under-20 Women’s Championship title-winning side.

“We can tell from Ash (Sanchez) and Kiki (Pickett), who’ve had experience with the U-20 World Cup (Qualifying), it really helped us bring a lot of energy to this,” the 16-year-old expressed.

At the end of the day, Spaanstra is enjoying the CU17W journey in the southern Caribbean and doesn’t want to see it end.

“I’ve never to been to Grenada, but there’s a lot to take in,” she finished. “We’re staying at a great place and having fun with as a team. We get along real well.”

Thus far, that has been a winning combination for the USA.