The Cayman Islands National Under-17 girls team leaves today for Santo Domingo where they will play the Dominican Republic on Saturday in the first leg of the playoffs for a place in the next phase of the Caribbean Football Union World Cup qualifying games.
The return leg will be played in Cayman on a date yet to be confirmed.
The Cayman girls created history last month at the Sylvia Cator Stadium in Port- Au- Prince, Haiti by scoring the highest number of international goals played by any Cayman national team.
They defeated Bahamas 2-1, British Virgin Islands 13-0 and were edged out 1-0 by group winners Haiti. As the second placed teams Cayman will be facing Dominican Republic in a home and away playoff. The winner will qualify for the next stage in Costa Rica next year.
The players selected for this trip are Emily Kelly, Brittany Mobley, Tacita Berry (capt), Brianna Hydes, Chelsea Bush, Alyssa Chin, Ashani Francis, Marissa McLaughlin, Shanice Monteith, Ashleigh Shim, Chelsea Brown, Chelsea Greene, Ashley Borde, Kaela Ebanks, Xolchilt Watler, Shanelle Frederick, Chloe Mclean and Jetena Bodden.
Presently keeper Emily Kelly attends college in the United States. She was on island last week working out with the other girls as they do their final preparations for this crucial game.
Head coach Bobby McLaren said: ‘Our plans for this leg are to play our natural style of football and take it from there.
‘The team has been working very hard on their fitness and team building exercises. Our aim is to get maximum points to get the away advantage. We are fully aware that we will be playing 180 minutes of football, therefore we will exhibit a team effort to get the job done.’
These national players are dedicated to the game and under the expert guidance of Technical Director Thiago Cunha and McLaren have developed into some tough contenders.
They form a disciplined and committed core of football players who with the continued support from Cayman Islands Football Association, their families and supporters will continue to make the Cayman Islands proud.