- The USVI are the only team in the group that competed in League C of the Concacaf Nations League
- “It is a very difficult group. We have Grenada, El Salvador, Montserrat and Antigua and Barbuda,” USVI Head Coach Gilberto Damiano.
- “I think the most important thing for us is looking at how preparation will be"
MIAMI, Florida – There is no question that one of the most competitive groups in the First Round of Concacaf World Cup Qualifying is Group A, in which El Salvador, Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Montserrat and the U.S. Virgin Islands will do battle.
The USVI are the only team in the group that competed in League C of the Concacaf Nations League, but that doesn’t mean that the side won’t approach their four matches with the same eagerness as always.
“It is a very difficult group. We have Grenada, who finished first in their group in League B in the Nations League. We have El Salvador and Montserrat who finished first and second in their group as well in League B, and we have Antigua and Barbuda who finished third in their group in League B. It is going to be a challenge, but it is a challenge that we are looking forward to,” said USVI Head Coach Gilberto Damiano in an exclusive interview with Concacaf.com following Wednesday’s draw.
“We have a very young group of players, so most of them are still playing college soccer in the United States. Some of them play at a high level, like Division 1 college there, so we have a group of players looking to gain experience to become more competitive in the years to come,” said Damiano.
Concacaf’s Nations League initiative has helped teams from across the region, including the likes of the USVI, who earned a 2-1 win over Saint Martin in Group A of League C prior to Damiano taking the reins of the team in November 2019.
If one thing is for certain in the CNL and with the upcoming Concacaf WCQ, opponents of the USVI know they will face a team that will give a full effort for all 90 minutes.
“From the previous games that we had, I think our desire and determination of the players is our best and our biggest strength. There are no games in which players come and only give 50 percent; they always give 100 percent in every single game. We didn’t have the results that we wanted to have [in the CNL], but we grew as the tournament went on. We gained experience and we grew and we finished very strong, being very competitive against Barbados and Saint Martin as well. No doubt our strength is the desire and determination of the players,” said Damiano.
For Damiano, the most important thing now for the USVI is to make sure his team have ample time to get ready for their first match in October against Antigua and Barbuda.
“I think the most important thing for us is looking at how preparation will be. I’m not sure if we are going to be able to get together before the games in October, so I am looking to hopefully getting the team to play a few friendlies before the first game. That’s the main thing we are looking to achieve,” said Damiano.
Damiano also took a moment to praise Concacaf’s decision to implement the Nations League, saying that it has changed the lives of a new generation of footballers in the USVI who are looking to transcend in WCQ.
“The Nations League is making a lot of young players dream, that’s what it is doing for us as a nation. I was getting messages from the players after watching the draw live and their enthusiasm and desire to represent the country and do well, it’s a dream for all of them. Concacaf is helping some of these young players achieve their dreams,” concluded Damiano.