The Trinidad and Tobago Women’s National Senior Team are pushing themselves towards full fitness, as they prepare for next week’s 2016 Olympic qualifying competition in Houston, Texas.
The “Women Soca Warriors” will play their opening qualifier on February 11 against Guatemala at the BBVA Compass Stadium before they face Canada and Guyana on February 14 and 16 respectively.
The top two teams in the group will advance to the semifinal round with the two finalists moving onto the Rio Olympics.
Women Warriors head coach Richard Hood said his players are in good spirits and working hard in double sessions at their Houston base.
“The camp has gone well so far,” Hood told the TTFA Media today. “The girls have been in good spirits for the most part and have been working hard throughout.
“We’ve done double sessions Monday to Wednesday and we have been pushing the players during the sessions and they have been responding quite well.”
The team’s technical staff includes physiotherapist Matthew Vasquez and conditioning coach Derrick Jonkins. Hood credited them with helping to get the squad physically ready.
“They have both been working hard to get the girls in proper shape before the tournament starts,” said Hood. “The conditions are a bit cold at the moment and is expected to get colder later in the week but everyone has coped well so far.
“We have a couple players who are being treated for niggling injuries but they are expected to be fit and ready for the tournament.”
At present, there are 15 Warriors in the team camp while another five players—Shallette Alexander, Karyn Forbes, Khadidra Debesette, Victoria Swift and Kayla Taylor—are scheduled to arrive in Houston tomorrow.
The Trinidad and Tobago squad will play a practice match against an ECNL (Elite Clubs National League) youth team on Sunday, which is the only confirmed warm-up fixture for the Women Warriors before the CONCACAF leg of the Olympic qualifiers gets underway.
“This game will give us a chance to test the fitness level of the individuals and the team as it relates to our game plan,” said Hood, “and to measure the collective understanding of the unit in terms of how we function in the three periods of the game—when we are in possession, when in defence and when we are in transition.”
France-based striker, Mariah Shade, will miss the warm-up match, as she arrives to complete the 21-member squad on Monday.
The CONCACAF series kicks off on Wednesday February 10 with a double header at the Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas as Mexico tackles Puerto Rico in the opening match before 2015 World Cup champions, the United States, face Costa Rica in the closing fixture.
(Trinidad and Tobago Women’s National Team)
Players in Houston: Maylee Attin-Johnson (captain), Arin King (vice-captain), Kimika Forbes, Saundra Barron, Jenelle Cunningham, Anastasia Prescott, Chevonne John, Janine Francois, Naomi Guerra, Tasha St Louis, Ahkeela Mollon, Kennya Cordner and Jo-Marie Lewis.
Players who arrive tomorrow: Shallette Alexander, Karyn Forbes, Liana Hinds, Danielle Blair, Kayla Taylor, Victoria Swift and Khadidra Debesette.
Player who arrives on Monday: Mariah Shade.