A 17-member squad and five officials will leave Saint Lucia today for Miami, Bradenton, Florida for the 5th edition of the CONCACAF Boys Under-15 Football Championship.
The tournament, which will take place from August 13-19, is expected to include a record number of youth players from CONCACAF’s Member Associations in a competition format designed to provide valuable experience. All 40 eligible CONCACAF Member Associations are expected to participate.
The tournament will see Team Saint Lucia compete in Group F against Guyana, Suriname and St. Kitts and Nevis.
The young “Piton Strikers” will open their campaign on Monday against Suriname, and on Tuesday play St. Kitts and Nevis before closing the group stage on Thursday against Guyana and then await their opponent for a showdown next Saturday.
The other countries taking part include Group A: Mexico, Honduras, Jamaica and Panama; Group C: El Salvador, Bermuda, Martinique and Cuba; Group D: Haiti, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic and Curacao; Group E: Puerto Rico, Belize, Barbados and Guadeloupe; Group F: Saint Lucia, Suriname, Guyana and St. Kitts and Nevis; Group G: Aruba, Cayman Islands, Bonaire and Saint Martin; Group H: Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Dominica and Saint Maarten; Group I: Bahamas, U.S. Virgin Islands, French Guiana and St. Vincent and the Grenadines; and Group J: British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, Montserrat and Turks and Caicos Islands.
Vincent Boland, Team Manager of the local Under-15 boys’ national team, said on Tuesday that the squad has been in training for the past six months and that, following a series of trial matches, the technical staff selected the final 17 players two weeks ago. He added that the SLFA is confident that the team will get the job done.
The full squad reads: Meshack Emmaunel, Simieon Francis (VSADC), Liam Bonaire, Uriah Constantine, Peter Alfred (GMC United), Marley Simeon (Laborie), Nakim Jones (Victory Eagles), Jeffron Jones, Whelan Joseph (Victory Eagles), Joshua Boland, Yanic Noel (Pioneers FC), Jeremiah Justin (Northern United), Oneil Hippolyte, Rio Longville (Valley Soccer), Saviola Elva, Kymani St. Louis and Benerrero Wellington (Big Players FC).
The team, which comprises two goalkeepers, seven midfielders, five defenders, and three strikers played a number of friendlies locally and in Barbados in the build-up to their participation in this year’s tournament.
While in the U.S.A., the team will be under the guidance of Cess Podd, SLFA Technical Director; Albert St. Croix, Head Coach; Jamil Joseph, Assistant Coach; Vincent Boland, Manager; and Keiber Codrington, Physio.
Honduras captured the inaugural CONCACAF Boys Under-15 Championship in 2013 in the Cayman Islands, topping a field of 22 teams.