Jamaica raises intensity as U-20 Women’s Championship nears
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Players from the Jamaica under-20 women’s national team (pictured) get ready to start a training session earlier in 2017. (Photo courtesy of the Jamaica Football Federation/Jamani Dunn)

SUNRISE, Florida -- Jamaica’s preparations for the 2018 CONCACAF Under-20 Women’s Championship have kicked into high gear, as a 22-player squad trains in Florida ahead of a pair of away friendlies against Costa Rica on January 3 and 5.

“It will be a solid platform as we get set to go to Central America,” head coach Lorne Donaldson said of the current camp and its objectives.  “Finishing is an area that we are continuously trying to improve.  Despite scoring 23 goals in five games in the qualifiers, we will be up against a tighter defense against Costa Rica.

“The plan is to help the girls use their instincts better to help them with their decision making.  Sometimes they may wonder do I shoot or pass in this position.”

Trinidad & Tobago will be the site for the CONCACAF event, which will be played January 18-28.  The Reggae Girlz are in Group B with the Mexico, Nicaragua and the United States.

Donaldson views the trip to Costa Rica as key to his side’s bid for a berth in the 2018 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup.

“I welcome these games gladly,” the former Colorado Rapids assistant coach said.  “I must thank the Jamaica Football Federation for giving the girls the best possible preparation in order to stand a chance to qualify for the FIFA Women’s U-20 World Cup.  Costa Rica are a team with pedigree in the region.  They have been to two U-20 World Cups and they have a thriving youth system, so I am content with this high level of preparation before the CONCACAF U-20 Championship in Trinidad.”

Jamaica, Mexico and the U.S. are the only teams to participate in all eight previous editions of the CONCACAF Under-20 Women’s Championship.

ROSTER (alphabetical order)

Nevillegail Able, Olufolasade Adamolekun, Jody Brown, Emily Caza, Ebony Clarke, Sherice Clarke, Milan Dewkindan, Marlee Fray, Gabrielle Gayle, Jazmin Grant, Mireya Grey, Madiya Harriott, Yazmeen Jamieson, Alyssa Julien, Jaydn Matthews, Erin Mikalsen, Lacey-Ann Murray, Jayda Pelaia-Hylton, Kevena Reid, Sydney Schneider, Shayla Smart, Lyana Steele

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