Colin Miller may only be the interim coach of the Canadian Men's National Team, but it is clear that his task is in large part to bring some fresh blood into the program. The group that crashed out of World Cup Qualifying last fall is aging and the majority of them will have no part in trying to qualify for 2018 so the time is now to start making the needed changes to try and set the squad up for a brighter future.
Miller has called in the youngest bunch of players that the team has seen since 2006 which is due in part to the need for fresh blood, but also the timing of this camp played a part, meaning it's more about Geography than anything else. With the camp being in late-January all the MLS players are just ramping up their preseasons with their clubs while most of the European based players are in the midst of their league season. It makes for a bit of a challenge in getting the top players to a place like Arizona for a short camp like this.
With many of the veterans not at the camp it really is a chance for many of the young players to show what they have to offer and impress the coaching staff. Miller won't be the head coach for long but whoever comes in to take over the job will certainly be looking for insight on the player pool and these two games will be a valuable resource for looking at some of the countries younger players.
There are only four holdovers from those that actually played in the last World Cup qualifying cycle in 2012. De Rosario, Hirschfeld, Nik Ledgerwood, and Tosaint Ricketts will be counted on to be the veteran leaders of this group which will be crucial with such a young squad around them.
The roster included 10 players who will be with the team for the first time ever and will all be fighting to earn their first cap even if it is just in friendlies. The average age of the squad, just under 25 years old with Dwayne De Rosario and Lars Hirschfeld being the old men of the bunch. The squad includes 12 players who were born after the start of the 90's with Doneil Henry being the youngest of the bunch.
There is once again a strong Toronto FC contingent in the team as Henry will be joined by Terry Dunfield, Ashtone Morgan, Matt Stinson, and brand new draft pick Kyle Bekker. It means that once again TFC has more players in the squad than any other club while the Vancouver Whitecaps are only sending Russell Teibert (Bryce Alderson was called but is injured), FC Edmonton are sending just Kyle Porter, and the Montreal Impact are without representation on the roster.
Several of the players called are currently without club teams, which probably helped to make them available, so could be hoping to use the time with the national team to prepare for finding a new home.
Canada's pair of friendlies will be against Denmark on 26 January in Tucson, AZ (13.00 local) and against USA on 29 January in Houston, TX (20.00 local) with the later being shown on Sportsnet in Canada.
1- GK- Lars Hirschfeld | NOR / Vålerenga Fotball
2- M- Nik Ledgerwood | SWE / Hammarby Fotboll
3- FB- Ashtone Morgan | CAN / Toronto FC
4- CB- Nana Attakora | FIN / FC Haka
5- CB- Dejan Jaković | USA / D.C. United
6- M- Philippe Davies | USA / Richmond Kickers
7- M - Terry Dunfield | CAN / Toronto FC
8- CM- Kyle Bekker | CAN / Toronto FC
9- F- Tosaint Ricketts | NOR / Sandnes Ulf
10- F- Frank Jonke | FIN / FF Jaro
11- M - Russell Teibert | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC
12- M- Jonathan Beaulieu-Bourgault |
13- CB- Doneil Henry | CAN / Toronto FC
14- M/F- Dwayne De Rosario | USA / D.C. United
15- M- Emmanuel Gomez | ARG / Club Atletico Griffa
16- M - Matt Stinson | CAN / Toronto FC
17- F- Kyle Porter | CAN / FC Edmonton
18- GK- Roberto Stillo | ITA / Genoa CFC
19- M- Evan James |
20- D- Mason Trafford | FIN / IFK Mariehamn
21- FB- Andrés Fresenga | URU / Racing Club de Montevideo
22- GK- Simon Thomas |