The U.S. U17 Women’s National Team begin the quest for the CONCACAF Championship on Friday against Jamaica. It’s been a long two years since the U.S. lost in the semifinals of this event against Mexico in a penalty kick shootout and failed to qualify for the 2014 U17 World Cup.
While the U.S. hopes to start a fresh streak to qualifying for the World Cup, there are some familiar foes in the way including Mexico, which sent the U.S. home with a bronze medal in 2014.
U.S. head coach B.J. Snow and his staff are back again with this age group. Snow had an abbreviated preparation for the last regional event, but that will not be a problem this time, as he has had a two-year time frame to shape this team.
There is only one player back for the U.S. from the 2014 squad. Forward Civana Kuhlmann, who played in five of the games during that tournament, returns as the likely starting center forward for this group. PDA attacker Frankie Tagliaferri is also back after appearing with the U17s in 2014. Otherwise, this is a whole new squad that is remarkably different from Snow’s last World Cup Qualifying group. The coach has gone with a young group and put the emphasis on players that fit his style as well as players who should be in the mix for the national team pool for the years to come.
The positivity for Snow and his players will bring some confidence to the event, but this might not be the pushover competition that many will likely suspect from a regional tournament. Jamaica brought on Real Colorado legend Lorne Donaldson to headline the staff at the 2016 CONCACAF Championship. Donaldson has coached a few members of the U.S. squad. He is dealing with the deck stacked against him in Grenada, but he could provide the guiding hand to make life difficult on the U.S. in the opening game. Mexico is the nemesis of the group after the slip-up in 2014, but Snow and his players can’t afford to overlook any opponent while playing three games in five days.