Canada is the regional Under-15 girls’ soccer champions.
In the inaugural Confederation of North, Central American & Caribbean Associations of Soccer (CONCACAF) championship in the Cayman Islands, the national side defeated Haiti on penalty kicks last Sunday after the two teams were deadlocked at 1-1 at the end of extra time.
Canada scored the equalizer with six minutes remaining in regulation time to extend the match.
“I am very proud of these players,” said coach Bev Priestman. “They showed unity and passion and when we needed them to play, individually, they made things happen. The scary thing about this is that these players could have been 20 years in our system. It’s exciting that even at this young age, this team has inspired a nation. I know they have inspired me and I am just so proud of them.”
Canada advanced to the final with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Trinidad & Tobago. It was the team’s fifth match in 10 days.
“You can tell our girls were tired since our decision making, at times, was a little bit shaky,” said Priestman after the semi-final match. “But I’m really proud of them. They ground out a result and sometimes you have to do that at tournaments.”
In the first round, the Canadians shut out Puerto Rico 5-0 and Cuba 6-0 and drew 1-1 with the Haitians to advance to the quarter-finals where they beat Costa Rica 8-1.
Canada scored 22 goals in the tournament while conceding just three.
Trinidad & Tobago finished third with a 5-2 win over Honduras, which lost to Haiti 2-0 in the other semi-final contest. The twin-island republic defeated Barbados 4-0 and Honduras 2-0 and drew with Bermuda 1-1 on the way to the semi-final.
Jamaica succumbed 2-1 to Haiti in the quarter-finals after failing to concede a goal in the first round. The Jamaicans shut out Belize and Anguilla 5-0 and 6-0 respectively, and drew nil-all with Costa Rica.
Rwanda, meanwhile, has been disqualified from the Africa Cup of Nations 2015 qualifying competition.
The decision followed a protest made by the Congolese Soccer Federation regarding the eligibility of Rwandan player, Birori Dady, who featured in the first leg of the second round qualifier between the two teams last month.
Congo claimed that Dady, who plays for AS Vita in Kinshasa, has a different name and age in his passport. A subsequent Confederation of African Soccer (CAF) investigation looked at documents provided by the Rwanda, Congo and Democratic Republic of Congo and also heard testimony from the player earlier this month.
While the Rwandan Soccer Federation maintained that, to their knowledge, the player had one identity, investigations revealed that he was summoned as Etekiama Tady to play for Rwanda. CAF established that the player also uses a different age in his passport and that the two identities referred to a single person.
Dady cannot play for his club and country until further notice.