Thanks to a runner-up finish in Caribbean qualifying, Antigua & Barbuda will make its third-ever CONCACAF Under-20 Championship appearance, but first since 1986.
The Benna Boys posted a 4W-3D-1L record in eight regional encounters, falling only to Haiti in the final, 4-0.
Forward Javorn Stevens is a player to watch. The 18-year-old struck for a team-best six goals in qualifying. That number was made even more impressive when you consider he spread that haul out over five matches.
There’s more to Antigua & Barbuda, though, than just Stevens.
Towering defender Vashami Allen shows signs that he can take his game to the next level, while a bevy of England-based players may have the potential to do the same for the entire program. Midfielders Elliot Webber and Darren Buffonge, both 18, are on the books at Leicester City and Manchester United, respectively.
Webber scored for Leicester’s U18 team in a 2-1 win over Carlisle United in a FA Youth Cup match on January 18.
Buffonge, formerly a prospect at both Arsenal and Fulham, signed with United in 2015. He can perform equally well as an offensive or defensive center midfielder and has developed an eye for the incisive pass.
Antigua & Barbuda’s only CONCACAF Under-20 Championship win came against Barbados, 1-0, on August 5, 1980.
Antigua & Barbuda U20
Caribbean Qualifying Results
15.06.16 Antigua & Barbuda 2, Cuba 1
17.06.16 St. Maarten 0, Antigua & Barbuda 6
19.06.16 Puerto Rico 1, Antigua & Barbuda 1
21.10.16 Curacao 0, Antigua & Barbuda 1
23.10.16 St. Kitts & Nevis 2, Antigua & Barbuda 2
25.10.16 Antigua & Barbuda 3, Bermuda 2
28.10.16 Antigua & Barbuda 0, Trinidad & Tobago 0 (5:4 pens)
30.10.16 Antigua & Barbuda 0, Haiti 4