Griffin And U20 WNT Win CONCACAF Championship
March 12, 2012
SEATTLE - This wasn't UW associate head coach Amy Griffin's first experience at CONCACAF qualifiers. In 1991, Griffin played in her first qualifiers in Haiti, which was also the inaugural qualifier for the Women's World Cup. Fast forward 21 years later, and Griffin is now coaching the goalkeepers in the championship game against Canada.
Even though the girls on her squad weren't born when Griffin played in Haiti, they all share the same will to win. Five minutes into the game, Canada scored. The US keepers hadn't let a ball in all tournament, and all of a sudden they were trailing in a crucial game.
"I am fairly sure I was the only one sitting back and smiling on the bench as our team went down a goal in the first five minutes," said Griffin. "I was smiling because we had just discussed how USA players never quit. It drives other countries crazy."
The feeling was all too memorable for many of the players. Two years ago the U17 team lost to Canada in penalty kicks after a 0-0 draw, and this year the girls wanted the victory. "Many of this group lost to Canada in PKs two years ago and have tattoos to remind them of how much work they will need to put into this to get revenge."
The work paid off. Deep into the second half, the US finally scored a goal in the 79th minute. With the championship on the line, the game was coming down to the final seconds. "We were firing shots from all angles and ranges for most of the game, so the CONCACAF final was bound to come down to the wire." In the 89th minute, forward Chioma Ubogagu scored what would clinch the game and the championship.
"All I can say is it was a sweet victory! I am so excited to be a part of this road to the World Cup in Japan. It's great the staff thinks that I am an asset to the team. While I am gaining more experience at a high level, much of training, workouts, tactical discussions resemble a similar progression at UW. I am happily aware and constantly reminded that our program at UW resembles much of what I am lucky enough to be a part of with US Soccer."
The U20 women will begin to train for the FIFA U20 World Cup to be held in Japan from August 19-September 8. USA, Mexico, and Canada will represent the CONCACAF this summer in Japan and fight for the coveted trophy.
Luckily for the Huskies, Griffin will return to Montlake after spring break and help train the Dawgs for the upcoming season.