Under-17 girls' soccer team needs funding for CONCACAF tourney

By RENALDO DORSETT Sports Reporter rdorsett@tribunemedia.net AN historic appearance for our junior girls' soccer team in the region's biggest tournament will continue to need public support in preparation for the event. It will be the first time the Bahamas will participate in the CONCACAF U-17 finals - the tournament is scheduled to be held May 2-12 at Guatemala City's Estadio Cementos Progreso. In an effort to raise funds, the team hosted a Steakout 'n' Futbol Jamboree earlier this month, which included an exhibition match against St Stephens of Texas. CONCACAF conducted the draw for the under-17 women's championship and the Bahamas will compete in Group A with host Guatemala, Canada, Panama and Jamaica. Mexico, Trinidad & Tobago and the US are in Group B. The finalists and winner of the third-place match qualify for the 2012 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup to be held in Azerbaijan September 22 to October 13. A complete schedule has yet to be announced. However, the Group A games are slated to be played on May 2, 4 and 6 while Group B action is set for May 3, 5 and 7. The semifinals are scheduled for May 10 with the final and third-place match on May 12. Host Guatemala will face defending champion Canada, Panama and Jamaica in Group A of the first round of the CONCACAF Under-17 Championship. The team rose to national prominence last August when they advanced to the second round of the Caribbean Football Union Under-17 Championships with a 2-0 victory over Bermuda at the Roscoe Davies Soccer Complex. Following their victory, BFA president Anton Sealy noted his excitement with the development of the girls' programme and looked ahead to further qualification. "The girls have done very well. I'm very proud, very pleased with them," said Sealy. "They've worked hard and it was well-deserved." The Bahamas ended up on top of the three-team field in the first round qualifying tournament for advancement to the CONCACAF Championships with a 2-0 record, a total of six points accumulated and a goal difference of plus 12. Bermuda ended up second at 1-1 with three points and a goal difference of plus three. Antigua and Barbuda, who lost 10-0 to the Bahamas and 5-0 to Bermuda, were winless at 0-2 with a goal difference of minus 15. By virtue of their victory over Bermuda, the Bahamas has earned a berth in the second round of the qualifying tournament in Trinidad & Tobago. The winners of the three other groups will join the Bahamas in the second round in Trinidad & Tobago where the top three teams advanced to the finals that will feature eight teams. Also included in the finals are the North American sides comprising of the US, Canada and Mexico as well as two teams from Central America. From the finals, three teams will play in the Under-17 Women's World Cup. "The competition will be stepped up a bit but I know our girls will be ready for the challenge," Sealy said. "I think they will match up to the competition in Trinidad. This is our first time advancing but I think this victory and this advancement is going to be a challenging one. But I think the Bahamas is ready to step up to the challenge."


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