As the clock wound down and the realization that we had just won the Caribbean Championship with a 1-0 scoreline vs. Jamaica, my mind quickly turned to the Concacaf qualifiers in October.
There was so much more work to be done, and I already started thinking about all the preparations we needed in order to take this next huge step, qualifying for a World Cup. I don’t think I really was able to enjoy the celebrations afterwards as my mind continued to look ahead.
I was so proud of the performance that our players put in throughout the CFU’s. We played some very attractive football, and at times looked like we had been together for months instead of two weeks. The effort and the willingness that the players showed in their attempts to play tactically how I wanted was very impressive. The attitude has been fantastic, and it was reflected in the way we played in front of our home fans.
Having said that, we are now back in Trinidad training again to prepare over the next 6 weeks before our first game on October 15th vs. the USA. Again the reality of how far behind we are as a nation in women’s football is setting in. We showed up for the first night of training after giving the team a week off, only to find that we had to share the field with a track club. There were runners everywhere, and no real space to even put in a productive practice. All the while I am trying to find someone who is in charge that can sort this problem out. To add to the problem, my equipment manager comes to me to tell me we don’t have any water and she’s been trying to get some for a week. A couple of players come to me to let me know they are having difficulty coming to practice because they have no money for transportation to get to training. Lastly, players are arriving for practice at all different times due to work and traffic. As a coach who is very prepared and organized, this of course is driving me absolutely crazy.
In addition the field is not mowed, the surface is hard and uneven to a point I am afraid my players may pick up injuries just being on it, and there are no portable goals. The two goals on the field are so heavy, you can’t move them. There are no lines on the field and the whole set-up is just not acceptable. This however is the reality of women’s football in Trinidad and Tobago.
I met with the General Secretary who has been working on some additional funding for us, and we made the decision to move back to the US as soon as possible to train in a more controlled environment. The TTFA have been great in understanding what we need and attempting to help us get those things. As always it comes down to funding.
Hopefully we will have the government and some local businesses step forward to help us, as time right now is our enemy. While the US and Mexico have had the luxury of training regularly over the past year in preparation for WC qualifying, we have not had that luxury. Two weeks in Houston, and now training for the next five to six weeks is all we have. The set-up we have here in Trinidad right now is clearly not good enough, so hopefully the funding will come in and we can make our way to the US shortly. Either way, I am in this for the long haul as these players deserve this opportunity. Many have given 10 years of their life just to have this one opportunity. This team is so committed to the cause, and have individually given up so much without getting anything over all these years, that I can’t imagine not fighting for them and giving everything I can to help them fulfil this dream.
So it is staying positive, being thankful for the opportunity that lies before us, and getting to work..that’s what we’ll continue to do.
Currently the Head Women’s Football Coach for the senior team of Trinidad and Tobago who have already achieved qualification for the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championships!
The first head coach in the history of the NWSL team Houston Dash.
Served as a member of the U.S. Soccer staff since 1992, and was head coach of the U.S. Under-23 Women’s National Team from 2012-13.