When the Cayman girls Under-17
footballers face host nation Costa Rica their legendary team spirit will be
tested to the core.
Cayman have reached the last eight
of the CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers and play their first game in Group B in
San Juan tomorrow
Cayman tackle defending champions
USA on Friday and Haiti on Sunday. If they reach the semi-final stage, they
will play again on 18 March and the finals are on 20 March.
The lion hearted Cayman side has
been adopted as every neutral supporter’s favourite.
Amanda Nelson will be battling like
all her team-mates. The 15-year-old defender said: “We’ve got a lot of
experience in recent months. We’ve travelled a lot, got the team together and
got some good experience.”
Nelson has only been in the
national programme a year but she’s been kicking footballs since she was five.
“I’m very excited to be going to
Costa Rica, playing different teams. I think the Costa Rica girls are very
smart, they’re strong and have a lot of skill and ability and quickness.
“USA are tall and aggressive but I
think we’ll handle them pretty well.”
Haiti lost five of their players and one coach
from the earthquake so there will be huge emotion everyt time they play.
Cayman lost both recent friendly
games against Jamaica. Nelson played both learnt from the experience.
“The Jamaicans are very fast and
physical. They cut in a lot and just shoot, shoot, shoot as soon as they get
the space to.
“I not worried about the other
teams because we play really well as a team and we can do anything when we put
our minds to it physically, mentally and spiritually.”
The squad making the team is; Emily
Kelly, Jasmine Ebanks, Tacita Berry, Brianna Hydes, Brittany Mobley, Nelson,
Marissa McLaughlin, Chelsea Bush, Alyssa Chin, Jetena Bodden, Shanice Monteith,
Chelsea Greene, Brown, Shanelle Frederick, Monique Roberts, Brittany Bodden,
Ashani Francis, Xotchilt Watler, Ashleigh Shim and Nikki Ebanks.
Berry is the captain.
The team is accompanied by Head of
Delegation Martha Godet, Head Coach Bobby McLaren, Technical Director Thiago
Cunha, Manager Gloria Gall, Equipment Manager Annette Monteith and Physiotherapist
Chelsea Brown is only 13 but she
has the air of someone who has played international football for ever.
She played in Haiti last year and went
on the recent Orlando trip. She had the satisfaction of scoring the solitary
goal against Jamaica in the defeats of 3-1 and 6-0.
Brown said: “The matches so far
have not been easy for us but as we go on we learn from them. I think we can
manage to move on to the next round.
“Our training has been excellent
over the past few months. We’ve done drills, practice matches, on-field fitness
and a lot of physical work. We’re ready.
“Against Haiti will be an emotional
match but we have to do what we have to do and try to make it to the next