Defending champions, USA Opens 2018 CONCACAF Women’s Under-20 Championship on Jan. 19 against Nicaragua in Quest for One of Three Berths to 2018 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in France
The Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) has conducted the final draw for the upcoming 2018 CONCACAF Women’s Under-20 Championship, which will run from Jan. 18-28 in Trinidad & Tobago.
Drawn into Group B, the United States will open the tournament on Jan. 19 against Nicaragua, then play on Jan. 21 against the first-place finisher from the soon-to-be held Caribbean pre-qualifying tournament before finishing group play against Mexico on Jan. 23.
“We are very excited to know our opponents for the tournament,” U.S. U-20 WNT head coach Jitka Klimkova said. “The CONCACAF region is always getting better and knowing our path gives us even more focus for our preparations, which have been going well. We’ve had four camps and played nine international games in the first half of 2017 and we’re inviting 30 players to the training camp in November. We want to revisit a of couple players who haven’t been involved with us for a while and we want to see some new players who had great college seasons. We’ll play another three international games during the 2017 Nike International Friendlies in Florida in the beginning of December, and the last piece of our preparations before we go to Trinidad and Tobago will be a camp at the end of December.”
The 2018 CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship features eight nations divided into two groups of four teams. The top two finishers in each group will qualify for the semifinals, with the winners of those games along with the winner of the third-place match earning berths to the 2018 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in France.
All three of the USA’s group games kick off at 5:30 p.m. ET. The semifinal matches will take place on Friday, Jan. 26, and the Championship and Third-Place match are scheduled for Jan. 28.
USA’s 2018 CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship Group B Schedule
|Jan. 19||USA vs. Nicaragua||5:30 p.m.||Ato Bolden Stadium; Couva, Trinidad|
|Jan. 21||USA vs. Caribbean||5:30 p.m.||Ato Bolden Stadium; Couva, Trinidad|
|Jan. 23||USA vs. Mexico||5:30 p.m.||Ato Bolden Stadium; Couva, Trinidad|
As defending tournament champions, the USA was pre-seeded atop Group B, and the hosts T&T were pre-seeded atop Group A. The draw, which was conducted in Port of Spain, Trinidad, also drew Canada, Costa Rica and the second-place finisher from the Caribbean pre-qualifying tournament into Group A. All 16 tournament matches will take place across eight match days at Ato Bolden Stadium in Couva, Trinidad.
The USA, Mexico and Canada earned automatic berths to the tournament, while Nicaragua and Costa Rica qualified as the two top finishers from the 2017 CONCACAF Central America Women’s Under-20 qualifiers played earlier this year. The tournament will also feature the top two teams from the 2017 CONCACAF Caribbean Women’s Under-20 qualifiers that will be held in St. Kitts and Nevis from Nov. 22-26. St. Kitts and Nevis, Jamaica, Haiti and the Dominican Republic are competing to join the other six qualified nations in Trinidad & Tobago.
The USA won the previous CONCACAF Under-20 Women’s Championship played in Honduras in 2015, defeating Canada 1-0 in the final on a goal from Ashley Sanchez. It was the USA’s fourth straight championship in this tournament.
Since the 2010 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, FIFA has mandated that the host of the Women’s World Cup must stage the U-20 Women’s World Cup the previous year and France will do so in four cities in the Brittany region in the summer of 2018.
More than half the field for the 16-team 2018 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup is set. Joining host France will be England, Germany, the Netherlands, and Spain from Europe; Japan, Korea DPR and China PR from Asia; and Oceania qualifier New Zealand. Along with the three CONCACAF berths, there are still two berths from Africa and two from South America up for grabs.