May 10, 2021

Caribbean sides begin 2015 Women’s World Cup Qualifying

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110810-FEAT-WWCQ-TRIvsGUYBy Tim Grainey – From Soccer365

The 2014 Caribbean Football Union’s (CFU) Caribbean Women’s Cup, part of CONCACAF’s 2015 Women’s World Cup Qualifiers, begins play next month with five groups comprising 19 teams, with each group playing one round at a designated site.

Group play begins on May 21, with the five group winners and two best second-place finishers from Groups 1, 2, 4 and 5 advancing to an eight-team final round in Trinidad & Tobago from August 17 thru August 27. Trinidad advanced automatically to the final round as host.

This is the inaugural tournament for the Caribbean Women’s Cup and represents part of a strategic plan to further develop women’s football in the region, according to CFU General Secretary Damien Hughes: “It is the vision of the CFU’s President–Gordon Derrick–to introduce this tournament, the CFU Women’s Football Committee enthusiasm to develop the idea, and Member Associations’ foresight and unrelenting pursuit of the development of Women’s Football in the Caribbean Region.”

 

The First Round Group and dates are below:

 

GROUP 1 (May 21-28, 2014)

Antigua & Barbuda (host)

Aruba

St. Vincent & the Grenadines

U.S. Virgin Islands

 

GROUP 2 (May 21-28, 2014)

Puerto Rico (host)

Barbados

Dominica

Martinique

 

GROUP 3 (May 21-28, 2014)

Turks & Caicos Islands (host)

Cayman Islands

St. Kitts & Nevis

 

GROUP 4 (May 28 – June 4, 2014)

Haiti (host)

Cuba

Guadeloupe

Suriname

 

GROUP 5 (June 16-23, 2014)

Dominican Republic (host)

Anguilla

Jamaica

St. Lucia

It’s tough to handicap the groups as some of these nations are only just starting a women’s national team (Guadeloupe) or they rarely play abroad (Cuba, Anguilla).

In Group 1, St. Vincent & the Grenadines would seem to have an edge on experience but it could be a wide open group, with each team pulling points off of the others. If that happens, the second place team could miss out on the final eight in Trinidad. The U.S. Virgin Islands participating is interesting because, since USVI is a U.S. territory and they qualify to play with U.S. passports, their team could draw heavily from the mainland, funds permitting.

Beyond Bend It Like Beckham

In Group 2, Puerto Rico used that same approach discussed above liberally on the men’s side for years–particularly when the United Soccer League’s Puerto Rica Islanders were active–at times giving quite a liberal interpretation of “Puerto Rican” heritage by bringing on some Americans whose only connection was that they were contracted to the Islanders for a few years. The Barbados Women’s team has been in training for several months under head coach Eric Alleyne and assistant coach Edward Smith. Barbados probably has the edge on consistency but Puerto Rico will host the group and their game will probably decide who wins the group and automatically advances.

In Group 3, Turks & Caicos hosts but the Cayman Islands have to be the favorite here. Their federation has been quite active in developing the women’s team and has utilized the FC Indiana coaching staff, led by head coach Shek Borkowski, in the past to help coach their youth side. Now FIFA Vice-President Jeffrey Webb was supportive of the women’s game when he ran CONCACAF and his local federation, and that attitude prevails to this day at the Cayman Islands Football Association.

Group 4 should come down to the game between host Haiti and Cuba, with Guadeloupe and Surinam striving for third place. Borkowski has coached Haiti for three years, bringing the side to Indiana for 5-6 months every year to train and play collegiate teams (including Notre Dame and Brigham Young University), occasional internationals (Australia) and professional sides (Seattle Reign last season and an entire WPSL Elite season in 2012). Borkowski told Soccer 365 after he learned the results of the draw that: “Surinam and Guadalupe shouldn’t pose too many problems. Cuba however is a complete unknown; they rarely travel [with their last games at the 2012 Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Canada].” Borwkoswki explained that: “Cuba could be disorganized or they could be at home training against men’s sides, [like North Korea is said to frequently do]; I have no idea.” They two sides did meet in Vancouver in January of 2012, before Borkowski was appointed to the position, with the Haitians defeating Cuba 3-0.

In Group 5, Jamaica and Dominican Republic will vie for the finals. While Dominican Republic will host the group, Jamaica will have ex-WPS and George Mason University forward Omolyn Davis, who has played club ball in the U.S., Russia and Kazakhstan.

Trinidad and Tobago awaits the seven CFU qualifiers from the first stage. By far the most experienced of the island nations, they held a four match training camp in Charleston, South Carolina earlier this spring, defeating Charleston Southern University 7-0, the College of Charleston 1-0 and Coastal Carolina University 3-2, while drawing with top-side University of South Carolina 1-1. The Soca Princesses, coached by Marlon Charles, was comprised primarily of local players, but also included U.S. based goalkeeper Linfah Jones, who plays at William Carey University in Hattiesburg, Mississippi and Canadian based defender Arin King (University of Toronto). Forward Ahkeela Mollon has signed a with Swedish Elittetan (second division) club Kvarnsveden IK but is expected to play this summer for her homeland, after a few years in the wilderness from some differences with the federation officials.

From the Trinidad tournament, three teams will advance to the 8 team CONCACAF finals in November in Mexico, where three teams will qualify directly for Canada, with the fourth place team playing the third place team from CONMEBOL (South American Federation) for a final Women’s World Cup place.

For more on this story go to: http://soccer365.com/caribbean-sides-begin-2015-womens-world-cup-qualifying/

 

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