The 2023 CONCACAF Women’s Under-20 Championship begins this Wednesday in the Dominican Republic with eight teams looking to capture the title in the 12th edition of the tournament.
CONCACAF said the tournament will begin with a group stage phase, with the eight teams divided into two groups of four.
The top two teams from each group will then advance to the semifinal round, with the winners of each semifinal qualifying for the 2024 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup, CONCACAF said.
It said a Third-Place Match will determine the third and final team from CONCACAF that will participate in the World Cup.
CONCACAF said defending champions and automatic qualifiers United States headline Group A, which also includes Canada, Jamaica and Panama. The US are seven-time winners of the CWU20 in 12 appearances and champions of the previous two editions (2020, 2022).
Two-time CWU20 champions Canada qualified for their 10th CWU20 by virtue of their first-place finish in Group A of CWU20 Qualifying, CONCACAF said.
It said leading the way was Olivia Smith, who scored eight goals, tying Guyana’s Se-Hanna Mars for the most in CWU20Q. Canada are seeking their first CWU20 crown since 2008.
CONCACAF said Jamaica are competing in their 12th CWU20 but will be attempting to reach a first ever U20 Women’s World Cup after emerging as winners of Group E in CWU20Q.
“The Reggae Girls did not concede a single goal in their three qualifying matches,” CONCACAF said.
It said Panama are appearing in their seventh CWU20 and will also be seeking a first ever World Cup berth at this age level. The Canaleras captured Group B of CWU20 with an impressive 29 goals scored in just three games, with Sherline King accounting for five goals.
CONCACAF said Group B will see Mexico, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico and host nation Dominican Republic swing into action. 2018 CWU20 champions and automatic qualifiers Mexico are in their 12th appearance in the tournament and hoping to secure a 10th berth to a U20 Women’s World Cup.
As winners of CWU20Q Group F, Costa Rica are back in the tournament for a seventh time and will be targeting a fourth U20 Women’s World Cup appearance, CONCACAF said.
It said “the dynamic duo of Alexa Herrera and Sheika Scott, who had seven and six goals each, respectively, in qualifying will try to lead the Ticas to a first ever CWU20 Final.”
CONCACAF said Puerto Rico enjoyed their best ever performance in a CWU20 in 2022 when they finished fourth, “and now the Boricuas will be looking to go a step further and qualify for a first ever U20 Women’s World Cup in their third CWU20 appearance.
“The Boricuas qualified for the CWU20 after winning CWU20Q Group D thanks in part to Kennedy Garcia’s five goals,” CONCACAF said.
It said the Dominican Republic are playing in their fourth CWU20 and will try to make another deep run on home soil.
“Three years ago, in the 2020 edition in the Dominican Republic, the Caribbean nation had their best ever finish when they reached the semifinals,” CONCACAF said. “The Dominican Republic were superb defensively in winning Group C of CWU20Q, conceding no goals in three matches.”