The Canadian Soccer Association have announced that the Men's National Team will kick off their 2014 schedule with a closed doors friendly against Bulgaria. The match will take place in Ritzing, Austria on May 23rd and will be the first meeting between the two countries at this level.
The team got together for a camp earlier this year but that did not include any matches against international opposition. That camp saw Head Coach Benito Floro bring a very young roster together for camp in Florida as he clearly had both eyes on the future.
It will be interesting to see what sort of roster Floro names this time around with the camp taking place in Europe and including a friendly this time around. The team will train in Austria from May 18th until the 28th so he will get an extended period of time to work with the players both before and after the friendly.
Floro will likely call in a squad that is made up primarily of players based in Europe. It could include some of the most promising young Canadians who have been on the fringe of the senior team recently with Michael Petrasso, Dylan Carreiro, Keven Aleman, and Luca Gasparotto all on Floro's radar.
For Toronto FC's contingent of Canadian players the timing of this game is less than ideal. With TFC playing games on May 17th, 23rd, and 31st it would be surprising to see the likes of Doneil Henry and Jonathan Osorio released to join up with the National Team. We may see some of the younger players like Manny Aparicio and Jordan Hamilton heading over though should Floro once again go with a very young squad.
There is also bad news for fans as this game being closed door ensures that the only way to follow along will likely be via twitter with some form of highlights hopefully making it to YouTube following the game. Having the players in camp will at least mean some content though which will be nice in a year where the Canadian Men's National Team is an after thought for many Canadians.
Canada now has a total of three friendlies on their calendar for 2014 with a return to BMO Field set for September 9th when they take on Jamaica and a trip to Panama coming up on November 18th. They will likely still add more dates to the schedule for the summer months as Floro will certainly want to continue to work with his player pool to prepare for the competitive games ahead in 2015.