BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (July 15, 2019) — Young female footballers from Member Associations in the Caribbean Football Union will be in action in the CFU Girls Under-14 Challenge Series in August. As they go on the hunt to be tops across the five groups, high-ranking football administrator Sonia Fulford is urging them to maximize the benefits that the developmental tournament has to offer.
“My best advice for the teams would be to not focus on the final score of the games but instead focus on the developmental aspects of the game — players’ technique, tactical ability and awareness, discipline, attitude, etc. It is those fundamental tools that players will need in preparing them for the 2020 Concacaf Girls’ U15 and ultimately the FIFA U17 World Cup Qualifiers,” said
Fulford, president of the Turks and Caicos Football Association. Fulford, an ex-officio member on the CFU Executive Committee, also sits on the Concacaf and FIFA councils as the female member representing the Caribbean.
The CFU Girls’ Under 14 Challenge Series will feature 22 teams divided into five groups. The host countries are, in order of group, Jamaica, Cayman Islands, Puerto Rico, St. Kitts and Nevis and the Dominican Republic.
The competition forms part of the CFU’s developmental agenda to grow the women’s game. It will be, for many players, their first international competition. Fulford said she hopes the coaches will harness the opportunity the building block provides.
In the wake of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup won by the USA and for which Jamaica’s Reggae Girlz historically qualified, Fulford noted the dividends to be reaped from investment in and support for women in football. It’s about a long-term vision, she said, crediting the Jamaican experience for being a catalyst for other countries.
Fulford, however, would love to blur the gender divide in the sport, insisting that the spotlight on “women’s football” helps to keep things factionalized. “We are women that play football, and the conversation should come naturally. I say to my young female footballers, ‘do not let the emphasis placed on this topic make you feel pressured, as if you need to do something different from your male counterparts. You are not just a female footballer; you are a footballer’.”
The groups for the CFU Girls’ Under-14 Challenge Series are:
Group 1 (Jamaica): Bermuda, Cuba, Jamaica, Martinique;
Group 2 (Cayman Islands) Barbados, Cayman Islands, Curacao, St. Lucia;
Group 3 (Puerto Rico) Anguilla, Bonaire, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Turks and Caicos Islands;
Group 4 (St. Kitts and Nevis) Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines; and
Group 5 (Dominican Republic) Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago.