EDINBURG, Texas -- Just reaching the 2018 Concacaf Women's Championship has been a dream come true for Cuba, but the Caribbean side isn't finished dreaming just yet.
The Cubans, who make their CWC debut against Costa Rica in the Group B opener at H-E-B Park on Friday night, want to qualify for the 2019 Women's World Cup.
"It has been a dream come true for us to get to this point because it has very hard work to get here," head coach Reniel Bonora remarked. "Female football athletes live and breathe football. We had to do a lot with our athletes to develop them psychologically and that inspired them to have a dream that, yes, they can attain their goal of getting here. There have been ups and downs to get to the qualifiers. But we dream."
Bonora is optimistic his team book a spot in France. Cuba also will battle Jamaica and Canada for two CWC semifinal spots.
"When you don’t have that belief in your mind, in your heart, then you don’t achieve anything," he commented. "If they believe it, if they feel it, if they keep every training session in mind, if they recall all we have shown them and taught them, planned for them, if they fight, then yes, they can. We have all seen 'weaker' teams beat 'stronger' teams, so yes, it is possible. For example, Greece won that  Euro Championship, no one believed it. In life, we all have to dream. Because without dreams, we have nothing and because they represent 11 million Cubans."
The Cuban coach noted his team is young, with 10 players who are 18-years-old, which makes for an intriguing challenge of meshing with five players who are 25.
"We’re a team where the age difference is noticeable," Bonora concluded. "We have had to work extremely hard with this team. There’s an age difference, a difference in thought process, in the way they converse with each other. Some have children, others don’t. Some go to college, others don’t. It’s difficult bringing all those levels of thinking together."