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ST. CROIX — While the USVI team put on a strong effort Wednesday night, it was not enough to overcome the Cubans, whose players’ relentless offense and solid defense eventually overwhelmed the home team.
The game — held at the new Virgin Islands soccer stadium on St. Croix in Aureo Diaz — was nonetheless a thrill to watch. It was also well attended, and VI supporters throughout the game could be heard cheering on the home team.
The Olympic qualifying games continue Friday with Barbados taking on Cuba, and the final game pits USVI against Barbados on Sunday. The games start at 5:30 p.m.
Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children under 12, and can be bought at the door on game days starting at 4:30 p.m.
The winner of the group will advance to the next stage of qualifying games where two spots are available for the region in the 2020 Olympics.
“What this means to us as an Association, our players, and fans is a hope and a dream,” National Team Assistant Coach and Association 1st Vice-President Joseph Limeburner said. “I remember myself as a former national player when we played countries like Antigua and Haiti on St. Croix and struggled because we did not have a facility there. Our games were not at the level they should be – but to be able now to give our athletes in the U.S. Virgin Islands the opportunity to play at an international level right here at home is beyond what I could have ever imagined.”
Limeburner added that next week’s games position the USVI team for the “next stage” of competition.
“We want to move up,” he said. “Now, it’s time to take it to the next level and really create our own identity – and, with our new facility, I think that identity is going to push through. What we’re looking forward now to getting there, walking on that field and once we enter, our hope and dream is that all of the hard work we’ve put in, shines through. To get these guys here, onto the field, and ready to take the victory – that’s the dream.”
Correction: July 18, 2019
A previous version of this story stated that the next game would be played today, when it will actually be played on Friday. The story has been updated to reflect the correct information.
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