The Trinidad and Tobago women's national team arrived in the United States this week with dreams of qualifying to a World Cup. But first they have to worry about getting a meal today.
T&T are one of eight nations competing in CONCACAF qualifying for three-and-a-half berths to the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup (the fourth-place team will play off against Ecuador for a spot in the final tournament). The competition appears intense, but not insurmountable.
Finances, however, are another story.
The team's coach, American Randy Waldrum, also the head coach of the NWSL's Houston Dash who is leading T&T's qualifying campaign without pay, posted on Twitter Wednesday that his team was sent to the US with only $500 and will have trouble simply affording food as they prepare for the tournament, which begins Oct. 15.
According to the Trinidad & Tobago Football Federation, the country's Ministry of Sport "has provided financial support, which will cover costs for the training camp in Dallas, which runs until October 13, as well as other allowances and team-related expenses." Sponsor Petrotrin had footed the bill for much of the team's training camp and visa fees.
FC Dallas are hosting the Trinidad & Tobago training sessions at their Toyota Soccer Complex, with T&T set to face an all-star selection of top players from FC Dallas' girls program (Randy Waldrum's son, Ben, coaches for FC Dallas in the Elite Clubs National League, the female equivalent of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy) on Thursday night.
Having won the inaugural Caribbean Women's Cup in August, Trinidad & Tobago are set to open the CONCACAF tournament against the US, ranked No. 1 in the world, on Oct. 15 at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kansas (8:30 pm ET, Fox Sports 2). Roughly half the team's players compete in the US, either in college or with amateur teams.
T&T will also play Haiti at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Illinois, on Oct. 17 and Guatemala at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 20. The top two teams from each group advance to the semifinals, to be held on Oct. 24 at PPL Park in Chester, Pennsylvania.
Trinidad & Tobago have never qualified for a FIFA women's event at any age level, except as host of the 2010 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup. They were competitive in qualifying for the 2011 Women's World Cup, losing just 1-0 to Canada and 2-0 to Mexico, two teams that went on to qualify to the final tournament.