The Bermuda Under-17 women’s squad are heading to a weeklong training trip to Orlando to prepare for the Concacaf Championship in Nicaragua in April.
The squad, coached by Aaron Denkins, will contain five overseas-based players, including striker LeiLanni Nesbeth who was scheduled to return last night from England where she is studying at Bedes Senior School. The team will depart on Monday and return next Saturday, playing two practice matches.
“We’re trying to increase the intensity of the preparation as well as bringing the overseas players together with the local players,” said Mark Wade, the BFA president.
Former Bermuda footballer Khano Smith, who resides in Florida where he is coaching, has helped set up the practice matches for the local girls.
“Khano has been helpful in finding a good level of competition,” Wade said. “They are training, then playing a match, then a day off to help them prepare physically.
“Getting them together as a unit is important and is also helpful to the coaches who get to run the rule over the players.”
Nesbeth, the team’s top scorer during the Caribbean qualifiers in Haiti last October, was in Scotland last weekend with the England Independent Schools Football Association Under-18 National representative team which record a historic 3-0 win over Scotland Independent Schools in Edinburgh. She will return to Bermuda with the team next Saturday before returning to England on the Sunday night.
Nesbeth was part of the first ISFA team to make history by becoming the first girls team to take part in an away international fixture. She capped off the experience by scoring her team’s second goal in the first half. Nesbeth’s powerful finish was sandwiched by two goals from Ella Needham.
Nesbeth was recently also promoted to the Brighton & Hove Albion women’s first team a couple of weeks ago, coming on as a substitute in the 85th minute in the FA Women’s Super League 2 match against league leaders Doncaster Rovers Belles on January 28. Brighton lost 4-1; only their second defeat of the season.
Bermuda squad: Jya Ratteray Smith, Gaiya Melakot, Adia Gibbons, Danni Watson, Shynah Akinstall, Lindsey Pacheco, Jazae Smith, Satia Burchall, Che Chulae Dowling, Zemira Webb, LeiLanni Nesbeth, Koa Goodchild, Druw Bascome, Asrael Basden, Zakhari Turner, Trinae Edwards, Jaden Masters, Emily Cabral, Tianna Mullan, Kari Richards, Delia Ebbin, Jadae Steede Hill, Dazarre Place.
Officials: Manny Faria (head of delegation), Charryse Bean (manager), Aaron Denkins (head coach), John Moreira (goalkeeper coach), Danielle Sheppard (physio).