Brave girls really took it on the Chin

At least the Cayman Islands girls
finished their World Cup campaign in triumph.

An 89th minute header by Alyssa
Chin gave Cayman’s Under-17s a 1-0 victory over Haiti Sunday in Alajuela, Costa
Rica.

It sent both teams home from the
CONCACAF Under-17 Women’s Championship and the Haitians to an uncertain future.

Cayman had lost 13-0 to the United
States and 7-0 to Costa Rica previously. Poor results but when put into context
Cayman did exceptionally well because they were easily the youngest side in the
eight-team tournament and least experienced.

Haiti lost all three games and returned
to a country devastated by the January earthquake which killed an estimated
270,000.

All the players were left homeless
and reserve goalkeeper Madeline Delice lost both of her parents in the quake.
The Haitian federation is hoping to house the team at its FIFA Goal Project
training facility in the Port-au-Prince suburb of Croix-des-Boquets.

Chin’s header came from a free kick
by Shanice Monteith. “It feels awesome to score that goal” Chin said.
“I’m very excited. It shows that after we lost two games, the Cayman
Islands never stops fighting.”

Haiti, who had lost five players
from the earthquake and a coach, beat Cayman 1-0 in qualifying in November in
Port-au-Prince, so it was a satisfying rematch.

Cayman played Emily Kelly in goal
despite her limping heavily from an injury sustained in the match against the
USA Friday.

The US smashed Costa Rica 10-0
Sunday. The Americans had beaten Haiti 9-0 in their first match.

Canada and Mexico join the US and
Costa Rica in the semi-finals on Thursday. Jamaica did not qualify for the
semis as they lost to Canada 4-1 and Mexico 3-0. Jamaica played Panama last night.

Two teams from this tournament go
through to the World Cup finals in Trinidad and Tobago in August.

Meanwhile, Chelsea ‘Gatorade’ Greene
may be only 12 but she played with immense maturity in the tournament.

Greene stood out because she showed
admiral fighting spirit and composure against much bigger and older opponents.

Coach Bobby McLaren said after the
US defeat: “It was obvious that the Cayman Islands in comparison to the other
countries competing in this championship are decades ahead with regards to
development to be able to compete so extraordinary at this level.

“These ambassadors of the smallest
island in this competition have given us all the opportunity to understand
first-hand what is required as it relates to the resources needed to develop
women’s football to compete at this level effectively.

“This experience should be
cherished and considered as a learning process when a team moves to an advanced
level and that is the situation now. We will have to accept this as part of the
growing and women’s football in the Cayman Islands on a whole.”

SPORTSchinSTORY

Greene had a great tournament.
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