This week, we focus on news from CONCACAF, with 30 teams scheduled to start group play in the new CONCACAF W Championship, which doubles as the 2023 Women's World Cup regional qualifiers. We look at news from Group A involving Mexico, Antigua and Barbuda, Surinam, Puerto Rico and Anguilla, including rosters (when available). We also look at some recent news for NWSL teams signing Mexican internationals and even scheduling a friendly match in Mexico City early next month. We also feature the Puerto Rico Sol, the club side who last year set a Guinness World Record for consecutive wins set by a women's football club, which is still active as they enter 2022. We finish by looking at Group D teams, including Barbados, El Salvador and Panama—the latter just missing a berth four years ago by falling in the intercontinental playoffs to Argentina for the last available spot in France 2019.
Note: We will continue to highlight teams participating in this first round of the CONCACAF W Championship, as some teams have been idle for years, to understand their team composition, coaching and long-term goals by their respective Football Federations.
CONCACAF Women's World Cup Qualifying Begins
For the Group Stage of the 2022 CONCACAF Women's World Cup qualifiers, taking place during the Women's International Match Windows of February and April 2022, the 30 participating women's national teams (all ranked #3 and below in the region by FIFA's women's national team rankings) have been divided into six groups of five teams each. Each team will play a total of four matches (two at home and two away) in the Group Stage. The Group Winners will qualify for the 2022 CONCACAF W Championship (a new tournament) along with the top two rated teams at the time of the draw: seeded teams the U.S. and Canada, who advance directly to the Finals in July 2022—likely to be held in Monterrey, Mexico. The top four finishers will qualify for the 2023 Women's World Cup in Australia/New Zealand, while the fifth and sixth placed teams will have another chance to qualify through the 10 team intercontinental playoffs for two final spots.
The schedule for the 2022 CWQ matches taking place in February 2022 is as follows (kick off times and venues for the matches taking place in April will be announced at a later time):
Wednesday, February 16, 2022
Guatemala vs US Virgin Islands - Estadio Pensativo, Antigua, GUA
Cuba vs Saint Vincent and the Grenadines - Estadio Antonio Maceo, Santiago, CUB
El Salvador vs Belize - Estadio Cuscatlan, San Salvador, SLV
Puerto Rico vs Antigua and Barbuda - Estadio Centroamericano, Mayagüez, PUR
Dominican Republic vs Grenada - Estadio Olimpico Felix Sanchez, Santo Domingo, DOM
Guyana vs Dominica - National Track & Field Leonora, Georgetown, GUY
Thursday, February 17, 2022
Haiti vs Honduras - Estadio Olimpico Felix Sanchez, Santo Domingo, DOM
Trinidad and Tobago vs Nicaragua - Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port of Spain, TRI
Jamaica vs Bermuda - National Stadium, Kingston, JAM
Costa Rica vs Saint Kitts and Nevis - Estadio Nacional, San Jose, CRC
Mexico vs Suriname - Estadio Universitario, Monterrey, MEX
Panama vs Barbados - Estadio Rommel Fernandez, Panama City, PAN
Saturday, February 19, 2022
British Virgin Islands vs Cuba - Estadio General Francisco Morazan, San Pedro Sula, HON
Anguilla vs Puerto Rico - Raymond E. Guishard Technical Centre, The Valley, AIA
Aruba vs El Salvador - Estadio Panamericano, San Cristobal, DOM
Cayman Islands vs Dominican Republic - Truman Bodden Stadium, George Town, CAY
Turks and Caicos Islands vs Guyana - TCIFA National Academy, Providenciales, TCA
Curaçao vs Guatemala - Stadion Rignaal "Jean" Francisca, Willemstad, CUW
Sunday, February 20, 2022
Belize vs Panama - Estadio Cuscatlan, San Salvador, SLV
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines vs Haiti - Estadio Antonio Maceo, Santiago, CUB
Antigua and Barbuda vs Mexico - Estadio Olimpico Felix Sanchez, Santo Domingo, DOM
Grenada vs Jamaica - Kirani James Athletics Stadium, Saint George's, GRN
Dominica vs Trinidad and Tobago - National Track & Field Leonora, Georgetown, GUY
US Virgin Islands vs Costa Rica - Bethlehem Soccer Stadium, St. Croix, VIR
Tuesday, February 22, 2022
Honduras vs British Virgin Islands - Estadio Francisco Morazan, San Pedro Sula, HON
Bermuda vs Cayman Islands - IMG Academy, Bradenton, FL, USA
Suriname vs Anguilla - Essed Stadium, Paramaribo, SUR
Saint Kitts and Nevis vs Curaçao - Estadio Olimpico Felix Sanchez, Santo Domingo, DOM
Barbados vs Aruba - Estadio Panamericano, San Cristobal, DOM
Nicaragua vs Turks and Caicos Islands - Estadio Nacional de Futbol, Managua, NCA
Mexico names roster for Women's World Cup Qualifiers
Mexico named 23 players for its first two 2023 CONCACAF Women's World Cup regional qualifiers later this month, at home against Suriname and away against Antigua and Barbuda.
Liga MX Femenil provides 13 players while there are two from Spain and one each from France, Netherlands, Portugal, with five based in America—three with NWSL sides and two in college: Alexia Delgado at Arizona State University (who will take advantage of the NCAA opportunity because of COVID to play a fifth season this fall) and Maricarmen Reyes Zarate of UCLA.
Mexico Roster for February 2022 CONCACAF W Championship Qualifiers
Emily Alvarado Natividad
Stade of Reims (France)
Alexandria Godinez Herrera
Itzel Gonzalez Rodriguez
Sevilla FC (Spain)
Rebeca Bernal Rodriguez
Greta Espinoza Casas
Cristina Ferral Montalván
Jimena Lopez Fuentes
OL Reign (U.S.)
Kenti Robles Salas
Real Madrid (Spain)
Washington Spirit (U.S.)
Bianca Sierra Garcia
Nancy Antonio Lopez
Alexia Delgado Alvarado
Arizona State U. (U.S.)
Diana Garcia Castillo
Carolina Jaramillo Quintero
Stephany Major Gutierrez
Jacqueline Ovalle Muñoz
Maricarmen Reyes Zarate
PSV Eindhoven (NED)
Maria Sanchez Morales
Houston Dash (U.S.)
Alicia Cervantes Herrera
Myra Delgadillo Prado
SC Braga (Portugal)
Katty Martinez Abad
Joseline Montoya Rodriguez
NWSL News involving Mexico/Mexican internationals
The Houston Dash announced this month that it will travel to Mexico City as part of its pre-season training to take on UNAM Pumas Femenil in a NWSL pre-season exhibition match on March 2. The Dash will arrive in Mexico on Feb. 28 and return to Houston on March 4. This marks the second time Houston has traveled to Mexico to play a friendly against a Liga MX Femenil opponent. In September 2019, the Dash flew to Monterrey to take on Tigres Femenil for an international friendly during the September FIFA window. Houston was the first NWSL team to play a match in Mexico and this is the third meeting with a team from Liga MX Femenil, the Dash having hosted Tigres this past season.
Dash head coach James Clarkson says that traveling to Mexico to play teams only helps strengthen the relationship between the NWSL and Liga MX, "This trip is a fantastic opportunity in our preparation for preseason and through the season. I think the ability to go down to Mexico to get quality games for preseason is vitally important, but also the experience of traveling abroad, getting the team together for comradery, team spirit, I think it is fantastic."
Houston Dash signed Mexican forward María Sánchez from UANL Tigres for a two-year deal in January of 2022. She had a successful two-year stint in Liga MX Femenil with Chivas of Guadalajara and most recently with Tigres. Sánchez helped Tigres reach the league final last December against C.F. Monterrey Femenil. She scored five goals in three games during Tigres' playoff run over the second half of the season, including braces against both Cruz Azul and C.F. America, both Mexico City-based clubs.
The American Falls, Idaho native also helped Tigres win the first half (Apertura) of the 2021 Liga MX season, starting 16 of 17 total regular season matches and scoring three goals. Sánchez made her Liga MX debut with Chivas in 2020, playing 21 total matches and scoring five goals in the regular season.
Sánchez briefly joined the Dash earlier this summer through a short-term loan arrangement from Tigres in June, after Houston acquired her rights in a trade with Chicago Red Stars on March 29, who had selected her in the 2019 NWSL College Draft (number 15 overall) and where she played in nine matches that season. In three appearances with Houston in 2021, Sánchez scored her first NWSL goal in the 18th minute of Houston's 2-1 victory over Orlando on June 26 at PNC Stadium in downtown Houston.
Sánchez made her senior Mexican Women's National Team debut in 2015 as a 19-year-old. The forward has 39 appearances for El Tri, scoring five goals. Sánchez was part of the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup squad and the second youngest player on the team.
Because she was born in the U.S., she qualifies as a domestic player and will not occupy an international roster spot for the Dash.
Upon the start of pre-season training on February1, Sanchez talked to the media and was asked her thoughts on Liga MX Femenil from when she first joined Chivas to now: "Yeah, I mean, I think it's a growing project, obviously, coming from a league like [the] NWSL, it was a tough change. But you know, it's understandable. It's a fairly new project compared to the NWSL [now in its tenth season compared to five for Liga MX Femenil]. But yeah, I'm excited to see the growth that it's had in such a short time. I played in two teams in Mexico and honestly, I love the experience in both of them—in Chivas and Tigres. I'm just happy to see all the growth, all the investing that's being made in the league, and all the attention that it's gotten from fans, all the people that would attend the finals and, and the league games; it's exciting to see it grow."
Sanchez then discussed what she would miss most about playing in the Mexican league: "I think it's every men's team has a women's team. So, I think just the connection that it had, with all the fans that have been there…. I think some of the teams have a lot of history. So, I think that stuck to some of the women's teams that are fairly new; that's a new league. So, just the emotions and everything that brought together the people in the league and the rivalries. So, I think I'll definitely miss that."
The attraction of playing in front of large, passionate fans was undoubtedly a key factor in why Mia Fishel, the UCLA star who announced before the 2021 college season that she would turn pro after her junior year, has signed with Mexican club Tigres. The move comes less than a month after Orlando Pride selected the 20-year-old Fishel with the fifth pick in the 2022 NWSL Draft. What makes the move even more surprising is that the Pride's new head coach for 2022 is Amanda Cromwell, the former U.S. international player who just left UCLA and was Fishel's head coach there. Fishel was phenomenal at UCLA, scoring 32 goals (half of them game winners) in her three seasons. Fishel explained the move by saying, "It's always been my dream to make history, to open doors in places that I didn't think would let me in, because that's what being a woman athlete is all about. I'm excited to join this team to continue to create change on and off the field and inspire the next generation together." Fishel, a finalist for 2020 and 2021 U.S. Soccer Young Female Player of the Year awards, had recently been called up for a U-23 women's camp later this month in Austin, Texas and has been a member of multiple U.S. youth international sides over the years.
Fishel reported will earn more money in Mexico than in the NWSL and recently signed a sponsorship agreement with the Marketing Jersey agency, which includes Atletico Madrid's Venezuelan international forward Denya Castellanos, Mexican internationals Kenti Robles of Real Madrid, Jimena Lopez of OL Riegn (see below) and 19-year-old Silvana Flores (Tottenham Hotspurs of England). She is going to a club that is dualled with a very competitive men's league (seven times Liga MX champions) with a strong following in football-mad Monterrey and that will open a new stadium within the next three years. UANL Tigres averaged a league-high 7,235 fans in the 2021-22 Apertura (Opening Championship) regular season and typically draws 5-6 times that figure in playoff finals; the 7,200 figure is above the average attendance figures for the NWSL (5,528 in 2021 and 6,024 in 2019) and the Pride (3,931 in 2021 and down from 5,565 in 2019, while having one of the best players in the world—Brazil's Marta—still on the side).
Fishel's signing is hugely significant to Liga MX Femenil as her heritage is not Mexican but Caribbean; she has male relatives that have played internationally for Bermuda. She is choosing the Mexican league because she ultimately feels that it is the best move for her professional and national team career, rather than the safe route of playing in the NWSL for the same head coach that she has had for three years. The Mexican league has made huge leaps and bounds in its five seasons and is positioned to now compete for some of the top global talent, particularly since the league now allows each team to sign up to two international players, who no longer have to be of Mexican descent. Note: In the next few weeks, we will examine the new imports that have joined Mexican clubs and the impact of this new rule, but the chance to sign a rising young talent like Mia Fishel is already a testimony that bringing in imports is a hugely positive move for Liga MX Femenil. Fishel scored two goals to help Tigres defeat Mazatlan 4-2 in Week 6 of the Clausura in her professional debut during the first week of February for a fantastic start in the league.
In another sign of the developing focus on Mexico and their players by NWSL teams, last summer, OL Reign signed international Jimena Lopez to a three-year contract on a transfer from SD Eibar of Spain. López was selected by OL Reign with the 28th overall pick in the 2021 NWSL College Draft, but the defender elected to start her professional career in Europe. During her time in Spain, the 22-year-old started and played in 16 matches for Eibar while scoring one goal. Prior to her professional career, López played for Texas A&M University, where she was named 2019 SEC Midfielder of the Year and 2020 Co-Defender of the Year. The Mexico City native was a two-time All-SEC First Team selection for the Aggies, amassing 70 appearances, 17 goals, and 23 assists in four years in College Station.
Internationally, López has represented Mexico at the U-15, U-17, and U-20 levels, including the 2014 Youth Summer Olympics, the 2016 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup, and the 2018 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup. She was also an integral member of Mexico's U-20 squad that took home the 2018 CONCACAF Women's U-20 Championship. López made her Mexico senior national team debut on February 27, 2019 in a friendly against Italy. Since making her debut with the senior team, López has scored two goals in 23 appearances, including 21 starts.
Surinam Brings in a Quintet of Players from the Netherlands for CONCACAF Women's World Cup Qualifiers
Mexico's first opponent in Women's World Cup qualifiers is Surinam, which has drawn on their Dutch diaspora for five players to boost their squad: Amy Banarsie [midfielder, PEC Zwolle, Eredivisie or Top League], Ravalcheny van Ommeren [forward, Excelsior Rotterdam, Eredivisie], Mayra Tjin-A-Koeng [goalkeeper, Be Quick 28, Topklasse or Second Division], Griffith Vaissaire [midfielder, SSS Klaaswaal, Topklasse] and Rowena Ondaan [defender, SSS Klaaswaal, Topklasse]. All but the 18-year-old Ravalcheny play regularly for their clubs in Europe. The federation worked with Dutch athletic agency and marketing firm Tevreden Group to sign the players for international duty. Surinam hopes to add more players from their diaspora for their April qualifiers.
Surinam Women's National Team is ready for CONCACAF regional 2023 Women's World Cup Qualifiers (Photo Courtesy: Surinaamse Voetbal Bond (SVB) or Surinamese Football Association).
Antigua and Barbuda Calls in 24 players for Group A matches
Antigua and Barbuda has called in 24 players to their squad for the February CONCACAF qualifiers, including 14-year-old Gabrielle De Suza, according to the Antigua Observer.
Veteran players Georgetta Lewis, Kai Jacobs, Devikka Tittle, Amelia Green and Anik Jarvis have all been included in the squad. Lewis will marshal the midfield alongside Jacobs, Luan Tomlinson, Shunnye Christopher, Skyla Scarvo, Ritz Baptiste, Breanna Roberts, Nicelle Drew, Virginia Simon and Gabrielle De Suza. Jarvis, who is one of three goalkeepers selected for the qualifiers, is joined by Makiesha Simon and Naomi Ogundg.
Title and Green are expected to lead the team's defense and are joined by Arrianne Whyte, Britney Edwards, Tassianne Benjamin, Zolique Samuel, Nicola Stewart and Jahira James. The other members of the team are strikers Tritch-Ann Grant, Monica Bird and Brianna Auguiste.
Antigua organized a one-week training camp in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands under US-based technical advisor Prince Borde, the head women's coach at Brewton-Parker College in Mount Vernon, Georgia in the States. The team is being coached by Vincent Samuel, a coach and teacher from the British Virgin Islands.
Antigua and Barbuda open their group play at Puerto Rico on February 11 and then the Beena Girls host Mexico on February 20 and then face Anguilla at home on April 6 followed by Surinam away on April 12.
Puerto Rico sets Guinness World Record
In Puerto Rico, the Mayaguez-based Puerto Rico Sol FC, despite two seasons being disrupted by COVID-19, has set a Guinness World Record for consecutive wins with 39 (and running) at the end of the 2021 season, surpassing the previous record held by Brazilian Sao Paolo-based team Corinthians in 2019 (34 consecutive wins). TribalFootball.com caught up with Puerto Rico Sol co-founder and head coach Shek Borkowski, who has won league championships in 2018/19 and 2021 (the 2020 Liga Puerto Rico season was postponed because of the pandemic). As Puerto Rico is an American territory whose residents carry American passports, American players can play in the league with no restrictions but Borkowski—the former national team coach of Puerto Rico and before that of Haiti—is committed to developing the game in the local market and typically only uses 5-6 Americans, utilizing a majority of Puerto Rican nationals. One prime example of that is that he has a local 12-year-old in Mia Criado training daily with the team. Liga PR rules do not allow her to play in league games yet, but she is regularly competing against former U.S. college players and has appeared in friendly matches—a tremendous experience for a player who is not yet in her teens.
Shek has such talent on his side as forward Juliana Vazquez from the University of Pittsburgh, who scored four goals in her debut match in 2020 against Leal Arecibo, with the Sol winning 15-0. Vazquez is the first Pitt player to rise to the professional ranks under Panthers head coach Randy Waldrum, who formerly coached Notre Dame University in Indiana—near FC Indiana's original home of Goshen—Trinidad and Tobago in the CFU and now coaches the Nigerian women's national team. Vazquez was a four-year starter at Pittsburgh who appeared in 70 games for the Panthers between 2015 and 2019. The midfielder was the team captain in 2019 and helped Pitt log its first ACC win in three years. With her four-goal game in her professional debut, she matched her career scoring total in college.
Puerto Rico FC has gone 39 games without a defeat or tie and has broken the Guinness World Record for consecutive wins by a women's senior football side.
Photo courtesy Shek Borkowski/Puerto Rico Sol F.C.
Meghan Cavanaugh from the University of South Florida signed with the Sol in January. In her two seasons at USF, Cavanaugh scored four goals and tallied one assist in 25 appearances and 12 starts. The Clifton Park, N.Y. native helped lead the Bulls to three conference championships, including the 2020 regular season and tournament titles along with the 2021 regular season crown. She also played at the University of Albany in New York State.
Two Sol players moved abroad in the offseason. Former Radford University midfielder Jasmine Casarez moved to Liga MX Femenil side FC Juarez after two seasons with the Sol. Forward Skye Gunn, who played at Jacksonville University and Averitt University, moved recently from the Sol to Sivasspor in Turkey. Borkowski has contacts all over the world and his former players have played in Spain, Ukraine, the U.S., New Zealand, Austria, Australia, Norway, Sweden, Germany, Japan, Turkey, Russia, South Africa and other countries as well.
Puerto Rico Sol celebrates its Liga Puerto Rico title in 2021 while setting a Guinness World Record for consecutive wins by a senior women's club football team. Photo courtesy Shek Borkowski/Puerto Rico Sol F.C.
The Sol has been approached to play a friendly tournament in Texas this summer and Borkowski hopes that CONCACAF follows-through with their plans for a regional Champions League after the 2023 WWC. He would expect—if they continue to win their league—that they would play another Caribbean nation for at least one Finals spot for CFU teams. I have known Shek Borkowski for over 15 years and followed him and his sides from FC Indiana to Russia (to coach top league side Perm) to national team positions with Haiti and Puerto Rico and now as a founder of PR Sol—he is a winner and one of the best game planners around. The CFU teams should be warned to not underestimate the Puerto Rico Sol should they draw them in Champions League qualifiers.
Puerto Rico's national team, known as the Female Blue Hurricane, ranked 107th in the world by FIFA, is bringing in five Puerto Rico Sol F.C. players for their match in the Sol's home stadium in Mayaguez against Antigua and Barbuda on February 16. The roster is comprised of 12 players based in the U.S.—most with American colleges—and four with clubs abroad: Laura Suarez with Alianza Woman in El Salvador, Adriana Tirado with Gokulam Kerala of India, Marianeé "Nené" Zaragoza (23) and Karina Socarras (28)—both with CS Maritimo in Portugal. Suarez is a former Sol player who had a short time this year with Levante's B team in Spain before moving to the Liga Mayor de Futbol Femenina in El Salvador. Tirado played collegiately at New Mexico State University and St. Leo University in Florida and moved to India for the 2021-22 season. Socarras has played in Colombia, Spain, at home with the Sol, and is a prolific scoring threat; she scored 6 goals in a 2015 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying 12-0 win over Granada and then 4 goals in the 9-0 win against Aruba in the same tournament. She scored 36 goals in 18 games for the Sol in 2018-19.
Puerto Rico February 2022 CONCACAF W Championship/Women's World Cup Qualifying Team
Cristina Isabel Roque (Florida State University—U.S.)
JLo Varada (University of Florida—U.S.)
Alonda del Mar Iriarte (Bayamón FC)
Shamira Ortiz (Metropolitan FA)
Imani Morlock (Puerto Rico Sol)
Adriana Font (Caribbean Stars)
Madison Cox (Tampa Bay United—U.S.)
Alondra Nieves (Caribbean Stars)
Marianeé "Nené" Zaragoza (CS Marítimo—Portugal)
Alycea Avilés (New Mexico State University—U.S.)
Kelley Johnson (Puerto Rico Sol)
Delyaliz Rosario (Fraigcomar)
Caitlin Cosme (Orlando Pride—U.S.)
Jazmine Méndez (University of California Riverside—U.S.)
Selimar Pagán (Bayamón FC)
Sophia Muetterties (Queens University of Charlotte—U.S.)
Malina Pardo (UNC Charlotte—U.S.)
Laura Suárez (Alianza Woman—El Salvador)
Nickolette Taylor Driesse (Unattached)
Adriana "Tuti" Tirado (Gokulam Kerala FC—India)
María Luisa Colón (Babson College—U.S.)
Gabriella Padilla (Stetson University—U.S.)
Mercedes Bauzá (Puerto Rico Sol)
Idelys Vázquez (Florida International University—U.S.)
Karina Socarrás (CS Marítimo—Portugal)
Cristina Torres (Puerto Rico Sol)
Daphne Méndez (University of California-Riverside—U.S.)
Jessica Torres (Puerto Rico Sol)
Ángela Díaz (Caribbean Stars)
Anguilla warmed up for their February internationals with a 0-0 tie against St. Kitts & Nevis, following a 3-0 loss, with an entirely local side (see roster below). Two home games late last month against Dominica were postponed before the latter traveled as they had positive COVID cases.
Anguilla, the British Overseas Territory in the Leeward Islands with a population of only 15,100 people, has recently dealt with player abuse lately on its national team. On January 13, 2022 the Anguilla Football Federation released a statement explaining their side of media reports of allegations of player abuse in the national team program. The Federation said that it investigated a complaint by a player against a coach when the teams was on an international trip. The Anguilla Football Federation's Disciplinary Committee investigated and suspended both parties and there had been no appeals of their decision. Other than this particularly incident, the Federation has insisted that they have not had any other complaints of abuse within its women's program.
GROUP D TEAMS
Barbados, in Group D along with Panama, Belize, Aruba and El Salvador, warmed up for the qualification play with a 1-0 win and a 1-1 tie over Surinam away in Paramaribo late last month. The Lady Tridents uniquely went to Surinam with the senior men's team, who had an international in the country as well versus Guyana. The women's side was also supposed to play the Guyana Golden Jaguars but the match was interrupted and then cancelled in the 33rd minute with the news of a number of positive COVID cases in Guyana's camp. Barbados Football Association's General Secretary Edwyn Wood said that, despite the hiccup, the entire team remained in good spirits and the entire delegation had been retested, "We have one person positive at this point in time. That person will remain in Suriname to be monitored, but everyone else will return to Barbados. As you will know, the entire delegation has been vaccinated and everyone remains in good health." Why the game wasn't delayed until the COVID test results were finalized is a good question and this shouldn't be allowed to take place again.
In the 1-1 tie against Surinam, Daphne James-Watson made her senior debut as did Adrienne Forde, Reyna Cummins, and Kerisha Catlyn. The Barbados women's side had been inactive for three years, Wood explained "We were trying for the women to play for a while and a lot of the nations are either inactive or the protocols in their country doesn't allow for football activity. Suriname reached out to us; they were looking for games and they decided that they will facilitate both teams." The Barbados women's team ahead of the WWC qualifiers is as follows: Adrienne Forde; Acacia Small; Alyssa Yard; Brittany Branker-White; Daphne Watson-James; Kamillah Burke; Kerisha Catlyn; Kimberly Ellis; Makela Alleyne; Marissa King; Moesha Goodman; Shante Padmore; Tamisha Marshall; Tiffany White; Shonelle Stephen; Amber Desilva; Rayna Cummins; Tia Haynes; Sheree Spencer and Lisa Harding. Defender Adrienne Forde played at the University of West Indies-Cave Hill, Barbados campus before moving to the Louisiana State University at Alexandria.
El Salvador has called in two players from United City Internacional FC of California of the United Premier Soccer League Women (UPSL): midfielder Alejandro Chirino and Ashley Webb, the latter who scored 9 goals in 4 games to start the season and led the UPSL goal scorers. The UPSL is a fully amateur league and is viewed as the sixth tier of men's soccer in the States and would probably be seen as a fourth-tier league on the women's side once Division II professional starts in 2023. The UPSL was formed in 2011 and currently includes more than 325 men's teams nationwide. The UPSL is the largest Pro Development League in North America. Each UPSL team is individually owned and operated. For the women's side, the league had 9 teams last Fall in two divisions—4 in Florida and 5 in California—as well as seven provisional squads including teams in Alaska, Idaho, Nevada and Utah, who could all join for 2022. Chiriano and Webb's involvement with the El Salvadoran national team shows that there are talented players no matter the level of league that they are with and a testament to the work that the UPSL is doing at the grass roots level.
The El Salvador roster for the February internationals is as follows:
Idalia Ester Serrano Franco
Andrea María Dada Contreras
Roxana Carolina Vega Torres
Linda Marcela Guillen Abarca
Reina Guadalupe Cruz Vásquez
Elaily Jazmine Hernández Repreza
Priscila Ortiz Arana
Juana Eliza Plata
Andrea Nicolle Amaya Villalta
Emely Alexandra Reyes
Joseline Stefania Rivas López
Irma Dolores Hernández Molina
Mara Elizabeth Rodríguez Luther
Ashley Jhoceline Cruz Sánchez
Victoria Saraí Sánchez Meza
Alejandra Morales Chirino
Karen Jissel Reyes
Lesly Paola Calderón Valle
Amber Marinero Valdez
Glenda Paola Cerén Delgado
Carolina del Carmen Ayala
Andrea Maria Maestre Samayoa
Isabella Ann Recinos Shannon
Brenda Damaris Cerén Delgado
Ashley Kristin Anaya Webb
Elizabeth Joy Johannes Criscualoa
Joselyne Abigail López Martínez
Stephanie Adriana García López
Ismelda Yaneth Cruz Alvarado
El Salvador draws substantially on their American diaspora. Karen Reyes currently plays with Aland United in Finland. Stephanie Adriana Garcia Lopez and Reina Guadalupe Cruz Vasquez are both with the Houston Aces of the WPSL, who since 2018 have been the official Houston Dash (NWSL) reserve team and the Aces won the U.S. Open Cup in 2013 and the UWS title in 2018. Idalia Ester Serrano Franco (UCLA) and Elaily Jazmine Hernández Repreza (Washington State University) both play in the Pac-12 at the collegiate level.
Forward Linda Frias, who was born in the U.S. and played collegiately at Bethesda University and Santa Ana College in California, is expected to play during Group Play—after playing professionally at Alianza in El Salvador, she spent time last season with Santos Laguna in Liga MX Femenil, as she has Mexican ancestry as well as El Salvadorian. We should also expect to see Stephanie Zuniga, who grew up in the States and played at the University of Colorado and is now with Cruzeiro of Brazil.
Panama's WWC qualification side was recently announced and includes:
Farissa Córdoba CD Plaza Amador
Sasha Fábrega Tauro FC
Katherine González Atlético Chiriquí
Yirsi Salas Atlético Nacional
María Murillo Atlético Nacional
Rebeca Espinosa CD Plaza Amador
Yerenis De León Sporting (CRC)
Yomira Pinzón Deportivo Saprissa (CRC)
Katherine Castillo Tauro FC
Adriana García USA
Carina Baltrip-Reyes USA
Natalia Mills Liga Dep Alajuelense (CRC)
Kenia Rangel Liga Dep Alajuelense (CRC)
Yvamara Rodríguez Surrey United (B.C.) Canadá
María Montengro Pérez Zeledón (CRC)
Erika Hernández CD Plaza Amador
Deysiré Salazar Tauro FC
Laurie Batista Tauro FC
Karla Riley Tauro FC
Nicole De Obaldía Sporting (CRC)
Kathriani Rivas Sporting SM
Yeisy Fuentes Pérez Zeledón (CRC)
Gabriela Villagrand Angelo State University (USA)
Lineth Cedeño Verona (ITA)
Susy Casinova CD Plaza Amador
Carmen Montenegro CD Universitario
Balstrip-Reyes played at Florida International University and the University of Florida and is now with Sparktak Subotica of Serbia. We expect to see goalkeeper Yenith Bailey (20), who was a revelation four years ago in leading her side to the Intercontinental Finals against Argentina for a final WWC berth. Panama finished fourth in the CONCACAF Finals behind the U.S., Canada and Jamaica, who all advanced directly to France 2019. Bailey now plays with Libertad/Limpeno in Paraguay. Marta Cox, who is now with Club Leon in Mexico, has played in professionally El Salvador and Colombia, and should be called in during the Group stage as well
Tim Grainey is a contributor to Tribal Football. His latest book Beyond Bend it Like Beckham on the global game of women's football. Get yours copy today.
Follow Tim on Twitter: @TimGrainey