Girls football in the Cayman Islands can officially boast it has top regional talent.
Cayman player Chelsea Green was named one of the 11 best players at the inaugural Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football Under-15 Girls Championship. The Technical Study Group at the tournament announced Green on the tournament’s Best 11 squad as a right midfielder following Sunday night’s finale at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex.
In addition to Cayman, the team has seven players from champion Canada, two from third-place finisher Trinidad and Tobago, plus one from runner-up Haiti.
Goalkeeper: Lysianne Proulx (Canada)
Right Back: Emma Regan (Canada)
Center Back: Samantha Chang (Canada)
Center Back: Amaya Ellis (Trinidad & Tobago)
Left Back: Kennedy Faulknor (Canada)
Right Midfield: Chelsea Green (Cayman Islands)
Center Midfield: Sarah Stratigakis (Canada)
Center Midfield: Nahida Baalbaki (Canada)
Left Midfield: Raenah Campbell (Trinidad & Tobago)
Forward: Anyssa Ibrahim (Canada)
Forward: Nerilia Mondésir (Haiti)
In addition, Green also won a share of the Golden Boot award as the competition’s top scorer. Green scored six goals during Cayman’s first three games, while Mondésir of Haiti notched six goals over the course of six games – three of which were in the knockout phases.
Thanks in large part to Green’s finishing, Cayman went undefeated in group play, topping Group A at 3-0. The home team enjoyed landslide victories: 5-0 over British Virgin Islands, 4-1 over the Bahamas and 6-0 over Curacao. Cayman, behind youngsters like Halle Medina, was the only squad to gain the full nine points during the opening phases while scoring a competition-best 15 goals. The local girls would lose to Honduras in the quarterfinals.
In total, 16 countries competed in Cayman this month. Aside from the aforementioned nations, the other teams were: Barbados and Bermuda (Group B), Anguilla, Belize, Costa Rica and Jamaica (Group C), and Cuba and Puerto Rico (Group D).
CONCACAF President Jeffrey Webb said the competition represented a commitment to youth development in the region.
“This is an exciting time for us here at CONCACAF,” said Webb. “This Under-15 competition fulfils our pledge to fully focus on developing football in the region, not only for boys, but for our female athletes as well.”
Women’s football has a rich history in the region, primarily driven by the success of the United States with multiple global titles. Webb said that to maintain that legacy, CONCACAF has to create more opportunity for its female players.
“For our confederation to remain world champions in women’s football, we have to continue to develop, continue to challenge our athletes and continue to give them the opportunity to develop as a group,” Webb said.
The Under-15 tournament is the latest CONCACAF competition to be held in Cayman. The other two – the 2013 Under-15 Boys Championship and the 2014 Under-20 Women’s Championship – have taken place in the last year.
It should be noted that instead of competing in Cayman, the United States instead focused on pooling together its top youth talent to form a squad at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Canada. The Americans, who were the reigning champions after winning in 2012, lost in the quarterfinals on penalty kicks to North Korea. Among the standouts on the team was French pro Lindsey Horan.