Canada edges Haiti to lift crown

Canada now has one of the top youth football teams in the region. 

The Canadians beat Haiti, 4-1 on penalty kicks, to win the inaugural Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football Under-15 Girls Championship. Truman Bodden Sports Complex saw thousands of fans witness a tense game that was 1-1 at the end of regulation. 

Lysianne Proulx would shine for Canada, making two huge saves in the penalty shoot-out on shots by Nerilia Mondesir and Saraphina Joseph. Only Melissa Dacius scored for the runners-up. The Canadians were flawless on their attempts, with goals from Shana Flynn, Samantha Chang, Sarah Stratigakis and the clincher from Jordyn Huitema. Haitian keeper Kerly Theus was helpless to stop the clinical strikes. 

Regular time was a tale of two halves. In the beginning, Haiti’s staunch defense kept them in it as Canada poured on the pressure. The result was a number of free kicks, corners and half chances in front of goal as the Canadians enjoyed the majority of possession. 

The second half started ominously for Canada as Mondesir took advantage of a defensive miscue to slot home the opening goal in the 47th minute. Canadian defender Bryana Buttar then went down with injury – it appeared to be a concussion – in the 64th minute, needing around 10 minutes to be stretched off the field. Substitute Lauren Raimondo would equalize in the 74th minute on a textbook header off a cross delivered by Flynn from the right wing. 

Canada’s victory caps off a dominant performance throughout the tournament. The Canadians played their group games in Cayman Brac and just topped Group D ahead of Haiti as both clubs went 2-1-0 with seven points. From there the champs would thrash Costa Rica, 8-1, in the quarters and edge Trinidad, 1-0, in the semis. 

Sarah-Stratigakis

Sarah Stratigakis, with the ball, captained Canada to victory. – PHOTO: MATTHEW YATES
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