Janeka Edey skillfully controlled the ball and scored a goal for The Bahamas in the eighth minute against Anguilla, and The Bahamas’ Under-20 (U20) Women’s National Soccer Team held on to win 1-0, picking up three points in the CONCACAF (Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football) Women’s U20 Championship Qualifiers. The match was played at the Ergilio Hato Stadium in Willemstad, Curaçao, on Wednesday night.
It is her first goal in the tournament, and she was excited to score.
“I got tons of sleep last night (Wednesday),” Edey said Thursday morning. “I was very excited about the goal, but my body needed to recover because I played about 80 minutes of the game.”
The goal came as a result of a build-up from defense as they got the ball to defensive midfielder Angel Williams, captain. Williams passed the ball to left winger Mia Williams who one-touched it to center-midfielder Gabrielle Murphy and gave a lead pass to Edey who controlled the ball before kicking the ball past the Anguillan goalkeeper.
Head coach for the team Cherlindria Thompson was very proud of the girls’ performance.
“After last night’s victory, there was pure joy, thrill and pride. They played well. The first game was a learning experience and we’re grateful that we had the opportunity to watch footage, assess what needed to be improved on and make the necessary adjustments,” Thompson said.
Thompson’s game plan was for the team to come out with the win, but with style, grace and possessing the ball as much as possible, thereby scoring opportunities.
Thompson was pleased with the way the team defended and pointed out that goalkeeper Kendi Outten did a good job at ensuring that The Bahamas kept a clean sheet.
The Bahamas has wrapped up group play in the tournament, finishing with a 1-1 win/loss record. They were in Group B along with the Cayman Islands and Anguilla. They lost 2-0 against Cayman to open group play on Monday. Anguilla and Cayman play each other today. Although The Bahamas and Cayman have three points each, Cayman holds the tie-breaker and has one game left.
This is the first time in several years that The Bahamas’ under-20 women’s team has competed. Thompson feels that women’s football is on the right path in the country.
“This is definitely the right direction for women’s football. Training hasn’t stopped, the development players are at home training now and when we return after a week of recovery, these young women will continue as well.”
The competition consists of 13 teams playing in four different groups. Three groups have three teams and one group has four teams.
The other 10 teams in the tournament are host nation Curaçao, Bermuda, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dominica, the US Virgin Islands, St. Lucia, Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Suriname and Belize. The winners from the four groups will advance to the knockout stage, which is set for the first quarter of 2022. They will be going through some more qualifications to get a spot for the 2022 FIFA (International Federation of Association Football) U20 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica, set for August 10-28, 2022.