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Bermuda make it a hat-trick to reach semis

In it together: the Bermuda Under-15 girls won their third straight game at the Concacaf Under-15 Championships in Bradenton, Florida, yesterday

Bermuda have advanced to the semi-finals of the Concacaf Girls’ Under-15 Championship in Bradenton, Florida.

Vance Brown’s side finished the group stage of Division Two with a perfect record after defeating Curaçao 2-1 yesterday in their third match of the competition.

They face St Lucia, who beat Cayman Islands 4-0 yesterday, in the semi-final today at noon Bermuda time.

Bermuda were already brimming with confidence, having beaten Antigua and Barbuda 3-1 and Barbados 1-0 in their first two group D matches and needed only a draw against Curaçao to top the table and reach the semi-finals.

Emily Cabral opened the scoring in the first half before Satia Burchall doubled the lead midway through the second period. Sephanyah Pedro pulled a late goal back for Curaçao.

Brown said Bermuda’s goals came at critical moments, but believes there is room for improvement.

“We were dominating the pressure and finally got the ball in the net after a few attempts,” he said. “Winning the group was our first target. We dominated our matches but we can play better.”

Mark Wade, the president of the Bermuda Football Association, is proud of the team’s achievement and looking for another good performance against St Lucia.

“It’s definitely a proud moment for us, a testament to the work being done within the national academy and all the women’s coaches — Naquita Robinson, Zayna Foggo, Aaron Denkins and Vance Brown — who have worked with all of the girls,” Wade said. “We’re certainly looking forward to them making it into the final, perhaps even winning the final for that division.

“It is certainly starting to shape up for us getting deeper and deeper into competition, which is part of our strategic plan. We’re all excited.

“Charryse Bean is chairman of our women’s football and responsible for the domestic product. She has a plan that is going to get going in September, which will build on what we had before, and this year we’re going to have an actual league.

“Women’s football — football in general in Bermuda — is on the up and the boys know they’ve got a lot to live up to.”

Jahni Simmons scored the winner against Barbados on Tuesday, with Che Dowling, Marli Butterfield and Adia Gibbons found the net against Antigua and Barbuda on Monday.

The team have a blend of youth and experience, with some players, including co-captains Danni Watson and Koa Goodchild, part of the recent under-17 squad, while twins Jahni and Jahdé Simmons are only 12.

“Those girls bring some experience, as they have played in the under-15s before, and they will remember how heavily they were beaten by the US a few years ago,” Wade said. “They are now the leaders in the team, which bodes very well.”

Twenty-eight teams, including two invited from Europe — Portugal and Northern Ireland — are competing in the tournament. There are three groups of four in Division One and four groups of four in Division Two.

The finals are scheduled for Sunday and Monday.

Bermuda’s starting line-up: Z Turner, K Goodchild, A Shakir, D Watson, A Gibbons, Jahni Simmons, E Cabral, Jahde Simmons, M Butterfield, S Burchall, L Backberg.