By John McGurl
The Central Pasco United Soccer Association Under 14 (CPUSA U14) girls team needs your help to make a trip to the island of Providenciales in the Turks & Caicos islands for an annual international tournament hosted by the Turks & Caicos Island Football Association (TCIFA) in July. This annual soccer event is sanctioned by the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), and is set to include four national teams — the Turks & Caicos U15 national team, a blended Turks & Caicos U15-U17 national team and the Jamaica U15 national team — in addition to the CPUSA U14 team.
The friendly set of matches also had scheduled the Guyana U15 national team, whose women’s technical director is Mark Rodrigues, who also is the competitive director of the CPUSA U14 team. However, when it was determined that the Guyanans would be unable to compete, due to timing and compiling a team in time, Rodrigues was able to get an invitation extended to his local team.
The CPUSA team, coached by Eddie Oyakhilome, compiled an 18-3-1 record in the Florida Youth Soccer Association (FYSA) District C-6. The girls U14 squad is ranked in the top 20 in Florida.
“They have done very well in the league this year,” says coach Oyakhilome, adding, “This bunch of girls has been working together for a while and just keep getting better.”
The girls are headed to Providenciales to not only represent their club and the Pasco County area, but the U.S. as a nation.
Coach Oyakhilome says, “This is a once in a lifetime chance for these girls, whether they choose to pursue soccer through college or further.”
Oyakhilome competed for his home country of Nigeria in 1985 at the first-ever FIFA Men’s Under 17 World Cup and his squad went on to win the tournament that year.
Regarding the chance to play internationally, he says, “It’s such a big opportunity for these girls, going to another country and representing themselves and their country.”
Bob Foley, the father of CPUSA U14 players Erin and Maya Foley, says “My girls are very excited to compete with national teams and see how they do playing in another group.” The Foleys are residents of Meadow Pointe, but Foley notes that there are girls from both New Tampa and Wesley Chapel who are traveling to the Providenciales.
While FIFA requires that TCIFA provide housing, meals, and on-island transportation for the tourney, the CPUSA team still needs to raise the funds for the trip to and from the tiny island. The team needs to raise roughly $20,000 for the training, travel and incidentals affiliated with this trip.
“We’re reaching out to local businesses, physicians, dentists — anyone who can help us,” says Foley.
For more information about the CPUSA Under 14 girls and how you can help them get to Providenciales, call 355-6671, visit CPUSAsoccer.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.