Nikolina Istocki scored twice as Canada opened play at the CONCACAF Women’s Under-15 Championship with a 5–0 win over Jamaica on Monday.
Keira Martin, Annabelle Chukwu and Taegan Stewart also scored for Canada, which led 3-0 at the half. Goalkeeper Noelle Henning recorded the shutout.
Stewart’s goal came with an assist from her twin sister, Keelyn Stewart.
The Stewart sisters from Calgary are not the only twins on the team. Ottawa’s Isabelle and Annabelle Chukwu are also on the roster.
The 20-team tournament runs through Aug. 7 at the Hillsborough County Sportsplex.
Canada, competing in the eight-team League A, will play Puerto Rico on Tuesday and the defending champion U.S. on Thursday, with the top two teams in Group B advancing to Friday’s semifinals to face the top two from Group A (Costa Rica, Haiti, Mexico and Wales, an invitational side).
The Canadians are coached by Jasmine Mander.
League B features the next 12 ranked CONCACAF teams: Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Bermuda, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Grenada, Guyana, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and Trinidad and Tobago.
The three group winners and the best second-place finisher advance to the semifinal stage in League B.
Teams that do not advance to the knockout round will play an additional match to determine final placement, ensuring every team plays a minimum of four matches.
Monday’s win improved Canada’s record at the CONCACAF U–15 event to 14-2-2. The Canadians won the 2014 edition of the tournament, were runner-up to the U.S. in 2016 and missed out in the semifinals in 2018.
The 2020 competition was cancelled due to the pandemic.
Of the 51 players that represented Canada at the three previous tournaments, 12 have gone on to make the senior team including Julia Grosso (2014), Jordyn Huitema (2014 and 2016) and Jayde Riviere (2016).
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 1, 2022.