U15 Girls National Football team experiences first international competition


BVIFA U15 Girls national squad. Photo: Provided

BVIFA U15 Girls national squad. Photo: Provided

The BVIFA U15 National Girls Team may not have reached the quarter finals of the inaugural CONCACAF Under-15 Girls’ Championship, hosted by the Cayman Islands, from August 6th – 10th, but they won the hearts of many casual observers with some fantastic performances.

Looking at the final group table does not give the whole picture, nor do the Girls justice, as apart from the first half of the first game which saw the BVI Girls, all of whom were experiencing their first taste of International Competition, overwhelmed by the occasion and a hostile home crowd, concede three early goals, on the way to a 5-0 defeat.
From then on, though, they more than matched their opponents for the rest of the Tournament and were unlucky not to progress.

In front of 1,100 fans at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex, Chelsea Green (15’, 25’, 30’) scored three goals to propel the host Cayman Islands to a 5-0 win over the Virgin Islands.

“The players got caught cold and overwhelmed by the hostile crowd, but despite conceding the early goals soon settled down and played exactly the way I had wanted them to” commented Coach Kate Rowsdon, who is a NSCAA Premier Licensed Coach and a holder of both USSF and EUFA “B” Coaching Badges.

Green, a veteran of the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Under-20 Championship, opened the scoring with a free kick that found the target from 25-yards out, while Sabrina Suberan (23’) made it 2-0 eight minutes later. Green added two more first half strikes and Deondra Kelly (89’) completed the score line in the last minute.

“Regrouping at half time, I had chance to remind them of the basics and further strengthen their resolve and confidence which was borne out by a second half performance where we more than matched the Caymanians,” Noted Coach Kate.

Rowsdon also made use of all available subs to keep her team fresh and full of ideas during the second period until almost the last kick of the match, when, with a player off the field receiving treatment for an injury and not allowed back on by the referee for an extended period, the Cayman’s forced home a scrappy fifth goal, despite the valiant attempted save from the keeper.

In their second Game played on Friday August 8th at the same venue, the Girls were unlucky to lose 2-1 to Curacao after reaching half time deadlocked at 0-0 and the going ahead early in the second period.

Katie Lowery put the Girls ahead in the 41st minute; following a smart and incisive one two move with Lilly Pierce.

As Coach Kate explained “Composed play through the midfield saw Katie and Lilly cut through the Curacao midfield and defense, before Katie unleashed a venomous drive from 20 yards which gave their keeper no chance. It was a euphoric moment. It was an amazing moment and one that Katie described as the best of her life! The whole team joined in the celebration, dashing over to our bench in sheer joy.”

The lead though was short lived, as Lindsay Hart equalized almost immediately after the re start and then scored again in the 50th minute to give her team the win.

“Their equalizer, which came almost immediately after we went ahead, was down to being caught flat footed and still celebrating,” said the Coach. “But it was a well taken goal from inside our penalty area. However their winner is still a mystery as the Referee awarded a penalty for handball despite being no obvious infringement.”

The Girls tried their best to get back to at least level terms, but were thwarted by a resolute Curacao defense and were denied any real clear cut shots on goal.

The Girls rounded out Group A action with the most famous result in recent National Team history (either male or female) with a 0-0 draw against one of the group favourites, the Bahamas.

“Playing for pride and with so much passion, the girls put in a 100 per cent effort as individuals, as units and as a team to put the Bahamians on the back foot and if it hadn’t been for a disallowed goal we would have come away victorious.”

The Goal that wasn’t came half way through the second half when Lareisha Martin slotted home into an almost empty net. Martin, bearing in on the Bahamas goal, under pressure from a Bahamian defender, had support from Lilly Pierce, but inexplicably the keeper rushed out and straight into Pierce sending the BVI girl flying. The keeper’s decision gave Martin a clear sight on goal and taking a touch past the defender, she scored. However the Referee, taking her time and to the complete surprise of everyone, including other officials, blew for a free kick against Pierce and disallowed the goal.

“The girls were gutted because they recognized that they had the Bahamas’ beaten in one on one challenges and they had stuck to their game plan for the whole 70 minutes. I am extremely proud of the squad and thoroughly believe we should have beaten the Bahamas at least 1-0. This competition is the start of a bright future for this group of Girls,” concluded Coach Kate.

The BVI U15 Girls were positively recognized for having an all female staff by the CONCACAF Technical Study Group and the same group also commented that the BVI team had the best preparation in between games, on the practice field and were the most cohesive, hard working team on the field of play.