Canada booked its ticket to next year’s International Soccer Federation (FIFA) Under-20 women’s tournament with a 5-4 penalty shootout win over Mexico in the Confederation of North, Central American & Caribbean Associations of Soccer (CONCACAF) qualifier that ended last Sunday in Honduras.
The national side finished on top of its group with a perfect mark after shutting out Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaica and host country, Honduras. Canada scored 11 goals in the three matches without conceding any.
This is the seventh time that Canada is heading to the Women’s Under-20 World Cup that takes place from November 13 to December 3, 2016 in Papua New Guinea.
“By getting to the FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup and getting to the CONCACAF final, it shows that the program – the National Excel, the Regional Excel, our national Under-17 team, our national U-20 team – it is working,” said Under-20 coach, Daniel Worthington. “This is a step in the right direction for our Canadian Women’s National Team.”
The Canadians fell 1-0 to the United States in the championship game last Sunday.
“Our players left everything on the line,” said Worthington. “I think tactically we were sound. We knew it was going to be a goal that was the difference, be it a giveaway or on a transition at either end, because we knew we would be good enough defensively to nullify their threats and we did that.
“We look forward to going to Papua New Guinea 2016 and playing against the best teams in the world. We won’t change our philosophy. We are going to play the way we want to play because it is the right way and it is the right way for Canada.”
Mexico secured its spot by shutting out Honduras 2-0 in the third-place playoff contest.
The United States, New Zealand, Japan, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Korea Republic, Ghana, Nigeria, Brazil, Venezuela, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden and host country, Papua New Guinea, are the other countries that have secured their places.
Meanwhile, Bill Crothers Secondary School student, Kennedy Faulknor, who is in Brazil with the national women’s senior team, was named Canada’s Under-17 Female Player of the Year.
Last week, the 16-year-old Unionville Milliken Soccer Club Strikers 99 defender made history by becoming the youngest centre back to play for Canada. She was in the starting line-up in Canada’s impressive 3-0 victory over Mexico.
“She is very comfortable on the ball and she has adapted over the year,” said national Under-17 coach, Bev Priestman. “She was a left back at the Under-15 level and a wide forward before that. She has really earned her trade as a centre back. She is really comfortable on the ball, physical, and you could even say she has some Kadeisha Buchanan-type traits and we are seeing that in the Women’s National Team camp.”
By RON FANFAIR