MARION, Indiana – If there is one team has plenty to gain in 2019/20 Concacaf Nations League Qualifying, it is the United States Virgin Islands (USVI).
Currently with a FIFA ranking of 201, the USVI is finally getting a chance to compete more regularly with the advent of the CNL, beginning with its CNL opener last month versus Canada in which the USVI was defeated 8-0.
But don’t let the scoreline fool you. For the USVI, having the opportunity to play against a team like Canada in an official match served as a valuable learning experience.
“It was our first match since World Cup Qualifying for Russia back in 2015, so it was awesome to have that experience,” said USVI DF Jacob Borden in an exclusive interview with Concacaf.com.
Borden, currently a sophomore on the men’s soccer team at Indiana Wesleyan University, says that new USVI Head Coach Marcelo Serrano has brought a healthy dose of professionalism to the national team.
“Our new coaching staff is very professional, they made sure things were done correctly and it was a good chance to evaluate new players. Maybe before when we got down things would get negative, but in the Canada game what impressed me is that we played as a unit, we were cohesive. I’m looking forward to see what we can improve,” said Borden.
Up next for USVI is a tough test with Curacao, who was a 10-0 winner against Grenada on Matchday 1. Borden acknowledges the challenge, but feels like the USVI will be up for the fight.
“I’m excited about the Curacao game. We’ve played them in the past. We’ll try to play the ball, be aggressive, build from the back and just continue to develop our chemistry,” said Borden.
While the USVI is a team that has never qualified for a Concacaf Gold Cup or a Caribbean Cup, Borden wants people to know that it is a group of players that always tries to represent their nation to the best of their ability.
“I like to think of us as a family. We have a five-year plan to grow this national team because we want to make an impact. We want to be known as a team that is willing to work hard for another,” said Borden.
There is no doubt that the CNL is helping Borden and the USVI on this journey. More games and more competition are sure to help USVI take a step forward as a national team.
“I think the CNL is awesome. I can development more as a player and play at a higher level. Now we have games to build and train for. It’s neat to have something to strike for and it’s big for our development,” concluded Borden.