Thirteen members of the Women Soca Warriors left this country yesterday morning for Houston where they will be joined by eight other members for a ten-day live in training camp leading up to the CONCACAF Final Round of Olympic Qualifying action.
TT head coach Richard Hood selected 21 players for the squad which will be captained by Maylee Attin-Johnson with defender Arin King as vice-captain.
Hood described the squad as a balanced one with a combination of experienced individuals and others who will breaking onto the CONCACAF stage for the first time such as Kayla Taylor and Jo-Marie Lewis.
“The squad comprises a mixture of experienced and new players to international football,” Hood told TTFA Media.
“We do have a few players carrying minor injuries buy we are confident that everyone will be ready to compete.
“I believe that it is a tremendous boost to the team that we have the opportunity to camp and acclimatise to the conditions in Houston,” he added.
Hood mentioned that despite the absence of Rhea Belgrave and Brianna Ryce who were both ruled out due to College commitments, the TT team possesses the ammunition to advance in the competition.
“We are missing a few players that we would have liked to have with us including Rhea Belgrave and Brianna Ryce but were unable to secure the necessary time off from college. We believe that we have a realistic chance of attaining success in this tournament.
We are very aware that it is going to be an enormous task but God’s willing we shall prevail,” Hood added.
During the training camp, TT have one warm-up game confirmed at this point, to be played against ECNL Club.
TT will play their opening game of the tournament against Guatemala on February 11 at the BBVA Compass Stadium. TT then face Canada on February 14 and Guyana on February 16. The top two teams in the group will advance to the semi-finals with the two finalists moving onto the Rio 2016 Olympics.
Meanwhile, Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president David John-Williams said he does not intend to sit down and cry over the financial woes he has inherited.
Instead he has found an innovative way to cut costs starting with the National Women’s Team trip to Houston. Instead of incurring high prices for hotel meals, the Women Soca Warriors will take along a chef which would considerably reduce the costs of meals during camp .
Speaking to TTFA Media, John Williams said. “We have got to make the best of this bad financial situation we inherited.
“The Sports Company and the Ministry of Sports have done their part with the tickets and the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee has chipped in as well.
Therefore we must be innovative and think outside the box to cut costs,” Williams added.
While the measure is primarily aimed at cutting costs, the TTFA president pointed to other advantages of travelling with a chef.
“We are taking someone with an appreciation for what an athlete must eat and of course there is nothing better tasting than good home-cooked TT food,” he added Williams hinted that this innovation may become standard especially with the TT youth teams.
“With the falling oil prices we have got to become creative while operating on tight budgets.
We will evaluate how this works and then see the feasibility for the other teams especially in youth football,” Williams stated.
TT squad: Maylee Attin Johnson, Kimika Forbes, Saundra Barron, Arin King, Jenelle Cunningham, Anastasia Prescott, Chevonne John, Janine Francois, Naomi Guerra, Tasha St. Louis, Ahkeela Mollon,Kennya Cordner, Jo- Marie Lewis, Shallette Alexander, Karyn Forbes, Liana Hinds Danielle Blair, Mariah Shade, Kayla Taylor, Victoria Swift and Khadidra Debesette