T&T U-17s to face US in warm-ups
Trinidad and Tobago's national under 17 team will face their United States counterparts in two warm-up matches in Bradenton, Florida later this month.
Both countries will use the matches in preparation for the CONCACAF Under 17 qualifiers for the 2013 FIFA Under 17 World Cup. The CONCACAF final round qualifiers take place in Panama from April 6-19, 2013.
The warm-up matches will be played on March 24 and 27 at Bradenton's IMG Academies. The invitation was offered by USA Soccer and accepted by the T&T Football Federation (TTFF). T&T's trip is being made possible through support from the Ministry of Sport.
The T&T under 17 team has been in training at Ato Boldon Stadium's training pitch in Couva. They open the Concacaf final round against Canada on April 6, 2013 before taking on Costa Rica two days later. The top two teams from the group will advance to the quarter-finals. Coach Shawn Cooper welcomed the opportunity to play the USA later this month.
"It's definitely two games that have come at a great time for us because we are in the process of completing our programme, and I think these two games fit in perfectly ahead of our opening qualifier against Canada," Cooper told TTFF media.
"Preparations are going quite well and we are about to embark on a journey (that) is a chance of a lifetime in trying to qualify for a World Cup. The boys have been working very hard and trying to ensure they are ready. I think we should learn a few things well in these two games against the US."
Looking ahead to the Canada opener, Cooper said he feels a bit more prepared this time than in 2011, when T&T suffered a 2-0 loss to the same opponents.
"After looking back at the game I thought we gave away the ball a lot and our technique was not up to scratch. I think this current team is technically better than the squad in 2011. We've tried to correct some of our mistakes and hopefully we can get it right in Panama," Cooper added.