Donaldson hails Girlz camp as battle for roster spots intensifies
After what he called one of the most successful national senior women’s camps he had with the quality of talent on display, head coach Lorne Donaldson says that they are in a better position now in their preparation compared to four years ago with...
After what he called one of the most successful national senior women’s camps he had with the quality of talent on display, head coach Lorne Donaldson says that they are in a better position now in their preparation compared to four years ago with this summer’s FIFA Women’s World Cup on the horizon.
A 28-player squad that consisted of players based in the United States completed their six-day training camp in Florida yesterday as they continued their preparations for the tournament which will be jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand.
Donaldson was pleased with the competitiveness shown by the group, in particular the younger players who he believes will play a big role in how he constructs the final 23-player roster. The immediate concern for him will be the Cup of Nations tournament in Australia next month and Donaldson said that they are looking to ensure that how they prepare for this tournament is different and produces better results.
“We have a little bit more resources and number two, we have better players. We have a deeper pool of players than the last World Cup. We have learnt from some of our mistakes and we are trying to do it a little bit differently,” Donaldson told The Gleaner. “We have to get our players to understand that competition even amongst themselves is going to be of utmost importance. So every camp we do, we are competing with ourselves to be a part of the final squad. We are looking at this group to get some more players from this to add to the group of players that are not here to go to Australia. Because the squad we take to Australia is not the squad we will take to the World Cup, but it gives you a better chance of getting into that squad.”
Among the players absent from the camp were national defender Allyson Swaby who is reportedly closing in on a move to French giants Paris Saint Germain and national goalkeeper Sydney Schneider who completed her move to AC Sparta Praha on the weekend.
Donaldson’s plan of including more younger players on the roster has changed with FIFA’s decision not to expand the final roster to 26 players, maintaining the 23-player limit, something he says they will have to navigate as they intensify the evaluation process.
“I thought FIFA should have made a compromise and maybe go with 24. That now changes our thinking drastically, because if it was 26 then we could include some younger players, teenagers on this squad. If we take younger players (now), they are going to replace a veteran player. So they have to be clearly better than the veteran players for us to take them,” Donaldson said.
Pleased that the camp surpassed his expectations, Donaldson said it will help to expand the player pool with a loaded schedule that includes the Olympic qualifiers.
“Now it’s a challenge to keep these players playing in games. The World Cup is not the only thing. You’ve got the Olympic qualifiers, Pan American Games and so on. This increases our pool of players. We want to have something that is sustainable,” Donaldson said.