Posted: Monday, June 14, 2021. 6:14 pm CST.
Photo Credit: Football Federation of Belize
By Rubén Morales Iglesias: The Football Federation of Belize (FFB) today announced Iris Centeno as the first woman to become head coach of a Belize National Football Team.
Centeno will be coaching the U-17 Belize Women’s National Team (BWNT).
“Centeno has been chosen to lead the team as they prepare for the upcoming Concacaf U-17 Championship Qualifiers being played in August,” said an FFB statement.
“Her qualifications include Concacaf “C” and “D” Licenses and she has vast experience in working with National teams.”
What’s more, three more members of the U-17 BWNT’s Technical Team are also women.
Centeno will be surrounded by Assistant Coach Miriam Villamil, Goalkeeper Coach Jasmine Armstrong, and National Team Manager Jacqueline Pelayo.
The Technical Team also includes Fitness Trainer Paul Casimiro, Equipment Manager Herbert Trapp, and Head of Women’s National Teams Wayne Casimiro.
The players of the U-17 BWNT started working under Centeno on Friday, June 11, at the FFB Headquarters in Belmopan, the same day Concacaf held the U-17 tournament draw in Miami.
Belize was drawn in Group B and will play against Barbados, Curacao, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in the 2022 Concacaf Women’s Under-17 Championship Qualifiers.
Concacaf said the Qualifiers will be played in round-robins in August of 2021 but has not yet announced the dates nor the venue.
The other countries were drawn into the following groups:
Group A: Saint Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, U.S. Virgin Islands, Suriname
Group C: Honduras, Cayman Islands, Anguilla, Turks and Caicos Islands
Group D: Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Lucia, Guyana, Guadeloupe
The four group winners will advance to the knockout stage of the Concacaf Championship which qualifies three teams to the 2022 India U-17 Women’s World Cup.
The FFB is hoping that Centeno, who was assistant coach of the U-17 National Team which advanced undefeated to the second round of the 2019 U-17 World Cup qualifiers, carries the team farther.
After a playing career which led her to the “A” BWNT but which was stunted by injury, in 2016, FFB National Technical Director, Mexican Renan Couoh, introduced Centeno to coaching.
She first coached the Mid-South U-15 girls selection winning the National Districts Championship. In 2017, she was named National Assistant Coach for the U-18 Women’s National Team representing Belize in a Central American tournament in Nicaragua.
In 2018, she was assistant coach of the National U-15 Girls Team that took part in a Concacaf Championship in Florida and in 2019, she was assistant coach of the U-17 National Team which advanced undefeated to the second round of the U-17 World Cup qualifiers.
Thereafter, the FFB named her National Director of Women’s Football during which time she has earned her Concacaf “D” and “C” football coaching licenses.
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