ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada – Although it didn’t win in three games at the 2016 CONCACAF Under-17 Women’s Championship, Jamaica displayed steady improvement throughout the competition.
As evidence of that assertion, an opening 8-1 setback against the United States was followed by much closer losses to Costa Rica (2-3) and defending champion Mexico (0-1).
“We’re just trying to build,” said head coach Lorne Donaldson. “We’re a young team.”
Only three of his 20 players were 17-years-old, while nine were 15 or younger.
After Tuesday’s defeat at the hands of the Mexicans that ended the Reggae Girlz’s participation in the tournament, Donaldson presented a realistic match assessment.
“Obviously, Mexico is a lot more experienced team than us and with a lot more experienced players,” he commented. We hung around and made it into a match at the end.”
It took a well-crafted play by the Tricolor four minutes before halftime to beat goalkeeper Sydney Schneider, who made eight saves and was outstanding throughout the afternoon.
“I think overall this was our best game,” Schneider said. “We kept possession, we stayed calm. There were a few shaky moments, but we always came back and we fought hard.”
With such a youthful side, Donaldson believed that games against three of CONCACAF’s strongest teams will have a positive impact on the future. In fact, he’s already looking ahead.
“It is very significant,” the 61-year-old expressed, when asked about the CU17W’s importance. “We have to figure a way to get these girls from a younger age training, playing real games because some of these girls, that’s the first time playing a game for Jamaica and playing in a tournament like this.”
If all that happens, what can be expected from Jamaica in the years to come?
An eager Donaldson didn’t hesitate with his answer: “I can tell you right now...some training and some games…watch out.”
Now that’s the Jamaican spirit.