In less than three weeks, the Trinidad and Tobago women's national team will face off against the best teams in the region at the 2018 Concacaf Women’s Championship, which doubles as 2019 World Cup qualifying.
It’s a chance for the Soca Warriors to qualify for their first ever World Cup and they’ve got a real chance — four years ago they finished fourth and lost 1-0 to Ecuador in a two-legged playoff for the final berth to the 2015 World Cup.
It won’t be easy though. Trinidad and Tobago was drawn into a group with the U.S., Mexico and Panama. That's three of the top five ranked teams in Concacaf and two of the top three. (Panama, the fourth team in the group, doesn’t currently have a FIFA ranking because it hadn’t played enough matches in the 18 months before the most recent rankings in June.)
Despite the stakes, the Trinidad and Tobago women's national team doesn’t appear to have the logistics in place to even play at the Concacaf Women’s Championship, which will see the Soca Warriors play in Cary, North Carolina, from Oct. 4-10 and then Frisco, Texas, if the Soca Warriors advance to the final four from Oct. 14-17.
Two Trinidadian players, Lauryn Hutchinson and Arin King, took to social media this week to make passionate pleas for resources, claiming the team has no training camp scheduled and no official coach.
WATCH: Trinidad and Tobago defender Lauryn Hutchinson pleads for support as the #WomenSocaWarriors aim to take matters into their own hands in order to prepare for the 2018 CONCACAF Womens Championship. pic.twitter.com/oqN3Kl8VD7— Soca Warriors (@socawarriors) September 13, 2018
Hutchinson, 27, is a defender who played at Virginia Commonwealth University and a Richmond, Virginia, native. She asked for water, snacks, bananas, transportation, support, field time, training and more to try to get her teammates to Richmond to train before the tournament.
“Right now, today, we do not have an official training camp before Concacaf (qualifying),” Hutchinson said. “If you have any resources that you can donate to us, please, please, please reach out to me.
“Anything you’re willing to donate, please help us. Let’s get the team to Richmond ASAP.”
King, also 27, said in a tweet that the state of the Trinidad and Tobago women's national team is “madness.”
21 days away from our final stage of World Cup Qualifiers with NO CAMP & NO OFFICIAL COACH!!!! This is madness & we’ve had enough. Help us make a change for Women’s Football and to inspire Trinidad and Tobago! #ISTANDWITHTTWSW . We are simply asking for support. #EQUALITY pic.twitter.com/ZtnsEgvCRS— Arin King (@Kkiinnggeerr) September 13, 2018
When asked about the comments and the state of the team, Trinidad and Tobago FA general secretary Justin Latapy-George declined to make a comment.
“While I’ve heard and been updated on what has been said, I am not sure in (what) overall context the ladies are speaking,” Latapy-George told Trinidad and Tobago Newsday. “Until I have an opportunity to have a full grasp on that, I wouldn’t want to offer any immediate comment.
“The ladies have their focus on the games that are coming up.”
We wish we could say this is an aberration for the team, but four years ago the Soca Warriors went through the same thing.
In 2014, coach Randy Waldrum (who later coached the Houston Dash and now coaches the University of Pittsburgh women) tweeted about the lack of support for the team. Haiti, one of the poorest nations in the entire western hemisphere, had to give financial support to Trinidad and Tobago to attend the Concacaf Women’s Championship.
No one wants a competition marred by a lack of resources — especially when this sort of thing is almost unheard of in the men’s game. Let’s hope it gets sorted out. But the Trinidad and Tobago women's national team is running out of time.