Vashun Blanchette hails his side’s efforts at Under-15 Championship
Bermuda coach Vashun Blanchette says his players will have learnt vital lessons both on and off the pitch from their experience competing at the Concacaf Boys’ Under-15 Championship in Curaçao.
Blanchette’s team came up just short of earning the bronze medal after losing 7-6 on penalties against Martinique in the third-place play-off at the Stadion Rignaal Jean Francisca on Sunday.
Bermuda led 1-0 but conceded a late goal that sent the contest straight to penalties where they ultimately faltered.
Blanchette admits the result was a bitter pill to swallow but is adamant his players have gained from the experience and exposure of competing at this level.
“Overall it was a great experience and exposure to international football,” he told The Royal Gazette.
“Naturally, there is some disappointment having been less than a minute away from returning home with a medal.
“However, once that emotion eases and there is a period of reflection all the boys will be better players and individuals as a result of the experience gained during the course of the tournament.
“The boys gained a lot of admirers with their style of play and sportsmanship, and should now push on to further develop as they transition into the under-17 national programme.”
Bermuda found themselves in a must-win situation to keep alive their hopes of reaching the next round of the competition after going down 2-0 against eventual group G winners St Lucia in their tournament opener and were equal to the task as they edged Aruba 1-0 in their next outing.
They then thrashed the Cayman Islands 4-0 to progress to the quarter-final where they edged group F winners Belize 4-3 on penalties to secure their spot in the League B semi-final and a rematch with group G rivals St Lucia.
Bermuda’s title hopes were dashed and their impressive three-game winning streak halted after going down 2-0 against St Lucia in the last four contest.
“Naturally, we are all disappointed with the outcome of the match given that a place in a regional final was at stake,” Blanchette said.
“We actually started the match really well before being caught in transition twice in quick succession.
“This is all a part of our collective learning.
“I cannot fault the effort and commitment of the players, and am extremely proud of their progress.
“These boys have captured the attention of many back home and we are grateful for all the support.”
The United States were crowned champions of League A, Nicaragua League B and Saint Martin League C.