A team of young Canadian soccer players will now be heading to the 2023 Concacaf Women’s Under-20 Championship in the Dominican Republic thanks, in part, to the efforts of a few B.C. athletes in the recent qualifying matches.
From April 14 to 22, the team of 20 Canadians (and one American), competed against four other teams from North and Central America as part of the Concacaf Women’s U-20 Championship qualifiers.
Team Canada got off to an impressive start, beating Martinique by a score of 15-0 in their very first match of the tournament. Pitt Meadows’ Perrault put up a goal and two assists, while Coquitlam’s Jeneva Hernandez-Gray got her own goal and assist to help their team get the dominating win.
At the next match against Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, the Canadians kept their shutout streak going, coming away with a 12-0 win.
During the April 20 game against Cuba, Team Canada experienced a drop in their scoring ability, but was able to maintain their perfect goalkeeping, winning the game 4-0.
The final match saw the Canadians giving up their only goal of the entire tournament, but the women were still able to pull out a 9-1 victory over El Salvador to get first place in their group.
Canada’s head coach Cindy Tye said her team did exactly what they were supposed to do and put on a performance they can be proud of each time they went out onto the field.
“We had a great camp from start to finish and grew through every game so now we’re looking at this next stage,” said Tye.
By winning their group, Team Canada, along with Panama, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, and Costa Rica, secured their spots in the upcoming U-20 Championship.
They will be joining Mexico and the United States, who automatically qualified for the championship by finishing in the top two spots of the regular season.
Canada is quite experienced at this stage of the sport, having won the 2004 and 2008 championships, making this the tenth championship appearance for the country.
If they’re able to finish in one of the top three spots, they will earn their way into the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, which the Canadians have previously competed in nine times.
The 2023 Concacaf Women’s U-20 Championship will take place from May 24 to June 3, with the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup scheduled for 2024.
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