Canada wins CONCACAF silver in San Pedro Sula
Posted on 14 December 2015 in ↳ Women's EXCEL U-14 to U-17
Canada won a silver medal at the 2015 CONCACAF Women's Under-20 Championship, finishing runners up to USA after a narrow 0:1 defeat in the 13 December Final Match.
USA, Canada, and Mexico all qualified for the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Papua New Guinea 2016 at the 11-day, eight-nation competition. The top four nations all played five matches, with Canada and USA winning their Papua New Guinea spots on 11 December and then Mexico winning their spot with a 2:0 win over Honduras in the 13 December Match for 3rd Place.
Canada won the CONCACAF Fair Play Trophy while both Bianca St-Georges and Sarah Stratigakis were named to the tournament's Best XI.
"Our players left everything on the line," said Canada Soccer's Women's U-20 Coach Daniel 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."
The lone goal came on a giveaway in the second half, scored by American Ashley Sanchez. Canada was sound defensively in the first half before springing forward their attacks in the second half.
Said Worthington of the competition, "we defended in two to three different ways in their half, we defended in our half three different ways, we attacked in two formations, and we had about five to six attacking strategies from our half."Into the CONCACAF Final Match, Canada emphasized their youth and technicians, with five players born 1999 or later starting among the 11 on the last day (that's five players still eligible at the U-17 level). With two 15 year olds and three 16 year olds, it was Canada's youngest starting XI in five Final Matches at the CONCACAF Women's Under-20 Championship.
"You can never underestimate youth and encourage them to live their dream and to be creative," said Worthington. "It's about keeping that structure that drives creativity (so) then it is up to them to enjoy it. It was beautiful to watch that and watch the players grow. At the end of the day, they are only young and they are learning to be international football players and this was the stage to do that."
To their goal, Canada qualified for the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Papua New Guinea 2016. From eight editions, next year will mark the program's seventh participation in the global finals.
"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 want to play because it is the right way and it is the right way for Canada."
The FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Papua New Guinea 2016 runs next year from 13 November to 3 December. The 16 finalists are Canada, Mexico, USA, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, Japan, Korea DPR, Korea Republic, Ghana, Nigeria, Brazil, Venezuela, France, Germany, Spain, and Sweden.