AFTER making her debut as Bahamas Football Association’s head coach of the women’s national soccer team, Cherlindria Thompson is preparing to take her second team off to the CONCACAF Under-20 Qualifiers.
The team, made up of at least 12 players from the team that competed last month, is expected to depart September 10 for the tournament scheduled to run September 13 -17 in Curacao where the Bahamas will be placed in Group B to compete against the Cayman Islands and Anguilla.
Hopefully when they return on September 18, Thompson said they would have been successful in winning their two games and advancing to the top 16 to move on to play in the next round of the CONCACAF tournament.
As a former player from her high school days at Temple Christian (serving as the captain of five undefeated championship seasons) before she went on to play for South Carolina State University, the 32-year-old Thompson has spent the past 20 years in the sport and is excited about her transition to the coaching ranks.
“It’s a great opportunity and an honour as a former national team player to now be coaching the team,” Thompson said. “I get to see both aspects of the national team programme. I once played so I know the dedication and commitment that is needed from a player. And now as a coach, I know the dedication and preparation that comes with coaching also.”
The BFA revealed that the young ladies were selected from their women’s development programme that trains regularly at the Roscow AL Davies Soccer Center under the watchful eyes of national team coaches.
The concept of the programme is to maintain year-round training so that when competitions arise, the selection process would be easier for the coaches.
“I expect us to win our group and qualify for the next round,” said Thompson, who noted that they will have to win two games in order to advance.
Named to the team are Alexis Williamson, Brianna Capron, Rokesia Sands, Nia Hall, Shasta Saunders, twin sisters Jade and Jada Thelmour, Gabriell Murphy, Julia Raine, Giselle Laing, Angel Williams, Janeka Edey, Kendi Outten, Malia Kinger, Hadassah Knowles, Raschel Rolle, Samina Moss, Deilene Johnson, Mia Williams and India Davis.
“This is a group of girls who practice at least five times a week,” Thompson said. “They put in the effort, they put in the time and they are open to learning and are passionate about the sport. More than half of them traveled with us to the Turks and Caicos Islands in the last tournament from July 28 to August 2.
“They showed that they are not afraid of a challenge and so moving forward to this tournament, I’m sure that they will only get better because of the experience that they gained from competing in the Turks and Caicos Islands.”
The head of delegation is Daria Adderley and Charmaine Smith is the team manager. Assisting coach Thompson will be Jodei Clarke. Gina Stubbs is the goalkeeper coach; Karen Wert is the Physical trainer/Wellness and Philencia Harris is in charge of kits and logistics.
Thompson said the last tournament was quite a rewarding one for the entire team.
“The performances of the girls were really good. The efforts that they gave were spectacular,” she pointed out. “We only had a short time to prepare for the tournament, so I was quite pleased with their performances.
“Their abilities to take criticism and make changes in the game as necessary was also very good. They hustled and fought and were really passionate about the game and passionate about representing their country as well.”
Now they will get the opportunity to do it all over again next week.