This Monday the road to the 2022 CONCACAF Women’s Under-20 Championship begins with the start of the CWU20 Qualifying in Curacao.
Thirteen teams will be split into four groups with the winner of each group advancing directly to the Knockout Stage of the Championship next year.
Group A is the lone group involving four teams and will see Bermuda, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dominica and U.S. Virgin Islands in action.
Bermuda have tasted success before in CWU20 Qualifying when they finished third in their group in 2020 to advance directly to the Round of 16. Meanwhile, Vincy Heat, Dominica and U.S. Virgin Islands will try to take a step forward in their programs and reach the Round of 16.
Group B shapes up to be very interesting with Cayman Islands, Anguilla and Martinique involved. The Cayman Islands have one previous appearance in a CWU20 Championship, when they hosted the 2014 edition.
While Anguilla have never qualified for a CWU20 Championship, they did battle to a 0-0 draw with St. Vincent and the Grenadines to earn a point in Qualifying for the 2020 CWU20. As for Martinique, some positive defensive results and goal-scoring performances would mark a step forward for their growing program.
Host nation Curacao will be in action in Group C, along with Saint Lucia, and Antigua and Barbuda. While Curacao will be able to rely on home support, Saint Lucia will try to tap into the same effort that earned them a second-place finish in their group in 2020 CWU20 Qualifying and a Round of 16 finish.
Coincidentally, Saint Lucia defeated Antigua and Barbuda 3-1 in that 2020 CWU20 Qualifying group, but a drive to improve women’s football in Antigua and Barbuda in recent years should make for a compelling rematch between the two.
Grenada, Suriname and Belize round out the action in Group D, with Grenada as another team that finished in the top half of their 2020 CWU20 Qualifying group and reached the 2020 CWU20 Round of 16.
Suriname competed in two of the first three CWU20 tournaments (2002, 2006), and of late picked up a win in the 2020 CWU20 Qualifying in a 5-1 final over Antigua and Barbuda. Meanwhile, Belize are back in CWU20 Qualifying for the first time since the 2018 edition.
The Group Stage and Knockout Stage of the Championship are scheduled to take place in the first quarter of 2022. The 16 teams participating will be divided into four groups. After round-robin play, the top three teams in each group will advance to the Round of 16, joining the four Qualifiers winners.