The start of a new year means one thing for youth national teams. It normally means that it is time to get down to work on another qualifying cycle. For Canada's under 17 men's team that is the CONCACAF Championships which are next April (6th-19th) from which they will be hoping to qualify for the 2013 FIFA U17 World Cup in UAE. For the U18 squad there is nothing to prepare for but they will be getting together so that coaches can work with them and evaluate them for future roles at the U20 level and beyond.
The U17 camp will be led by head coach Sean Fleming and this is the third time that he has gotten a group of players together in 2012. It is clear that Canada is serious about making a return to the World Cup next year and building on the experience the program gained in 2011 when the team picked up a pair of draws against England and Rwanda before exiting at the end of the group phase. To get to UAE in 2013 Canada will have to finish in the top four at the CONCACAF Championships in April. That is no simple task as when Canada heads down to Panama they will face the 12 best teams in the region and defending their silver medal from 2011 will be difficult regardless of the recent struggles by the American side.
Fleming will lead his team on a ten day camp that will see them play three matches against CONCACAF opponents from the 15th to the 22nd of November. The camp is set to open in the Southern USA and Canada will play their hosts on the 18th. For the Americans the match will be their tune up for the 2012 Nike International Friendlies in which they will play Brazil, Turkey, and Portugal. After that match Canada heads down to Panama on the 21st and they will play their hosts on both the 23rd and the 25th.
With three games in 10 days Fleming will have ample chance to get a good look at all the players in his squad. Fleming will be looking to get more out of this bunch of players than he saw at the AGS Cup last month. That squad ended up picking up a win, a draw, and three defeats against strong opposition in Spain. It is not about the results at this stage but rather about the team making progress and coming together as a unit so building on that tournament will be key. In Spain they were in every match they played but they allowed eleven goals in the five games which will certainly be an area that the team will want to improve upon. At the other end of things, Canada had no real issues finding the back of the net as they scored eight goals.
Fleming's team once again has some strong Toronto FC connections and will be again led in the attack by Jordan Hamilton. The TFCA attacker scored some big goals for Canada in Spain and will want to do the same this time around. Hamilton is the most experienced player on the roster having been involved with the U17 program last qualifying cycle despite not being included in the 2011 World Cup squad. This time around it is his team to lead and he seems to be making the most of the opportunity. Hamilton is also coming off a fairly successful season with the academy's U17 side where he scored 9 goals in 12 CSL games as well as notching tallies in a number of friendlies and the Generation Adidas Cup.
Hamilton will be joined by Elias Roubos, Kevon Black, and Derick Sequeira making Toronto FC the second most heavily represented club in the squad. The Vancouver Whitecaps residency once again lead the way with six players invited while the Montreal Impact and FC Edmonton will be represented by just one academy player each.
At the under 18 level there is once again a strong Toronto presence on Robert Gale's squad. The team is set to take part in an eight day camp out in California that will run from the 17th to the 24th and include a pair of friendlies against the USA on the 21st and 23rd. The team will certainly be in for a tough test against an American team that is coming off an impressive trip to Europe in September which saw them claim wins against the Netherlands U18, Borussia Dortmund U18, and Feyenoord academy.
Gale has called up five players who are currently in the Toronto FC academy and the group is highlighted by another talented young attacker in Mark Wadid. Like Hamilton, Wadid has proven that he is a threat to score wherever he has the ball and was a key part of the academy's U17 team's success this season scoring 16 goals in 14 CSL games. Wadid is joined by Mark Rogal, Stephen Almeida, Adam Bradshaw, and Michael Wagenknecht. Toronto is again the second most heavily represented squad with their five players coming in behind the Whitecaps residency who have six. This time the Impact have three representatives on the squad while there is no one from FC Edmonton.
The group that Gale has called up for this camp are expected to make up the core of Canada's U20 squad until 2015. Along with several names from the U17 team they will be the ones looking to qualify for the 2015 U20 World Cup in New Zealand taking over from the current group at the conclusion of the 2013 World Cup cycle.
It is likely that the current U20 team will also have a camp announced in the near future as they prepare for their own round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying in the spring and hope to make the 2013 U20 World Cup in Turkey. The CSA has yet to announce any camp but taking twitter as a reliable source it seems a group of players will be gathering in Florida next week.
GK- Marco Carducci | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency
GK- Daniel Milton | CAN / Ajax Thunder
CB- Alex Comsia | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency
CB- Mathieu Laurent | CAN / Mississauga
CB- Elias Roubos | CAN / Toronto FC Academy
FB- Kevon Black | CAN / Toronto FC Academy
FB- Ian Fernandes | CAN / West Rouge SC
FB- Aron Mkungilwa | CAN / Académie Impact Montréal
FB- Samuel Vinson |
M- Hanson Boakai | CAN / FC Edmonton Reserve
M- Marco Bustos | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency
M- Mikaël Cantave | FRA / FC Nantes
M- Marco-Leonel Dominguez | CAN / Braves d'Ahuntsic U-16
M- Kianz Gonzales-Froese | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency
M- Jordan Haynes | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency
M- Derick Sequeira | CAN / Toronto FC Academy
M- Raheem Taylor-Parkes | USA / VSI Flames
M- Justin White |
F- Jordan Hamilton | CAN / Toronto FC Academy
F- El Mehdi Ibn Brahim | CAN / Braves d'Ahuntsic
F- Malik Johnson | CAN / Brampton East SC
F- Kalifala Konneh | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps Residency
GK- Mark Rogal | CAN / Toronto FC Academy
GK- Nolan Wirth | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency
CB- Stephen Almeida | CAN / Toronto FC Academy
CB- Jackson Farmer | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency
FB- Samuel Adekugbe | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency
FB- Quinton Duncan | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency
M- Adam Bradshaw | CAN / Toronto FC Academy
M- Sebastian Cabrera | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency
M- Jérémy Gagnon-Laparé | CAN / Académie Impact Montréal
M- Ali Musse | CAN / WSA Winnipeg
M- Haris Radoncic | CAN / Académie Impact Montréal
M- Kyle Richards | USA / Concorde Fire
M- Dylan Sacramento | CAN / FC Northwest U-18
M- Matthew Vuylsteke | USA / Empire Revolution
M- Michael Wagenknecht | CAN / Toronto FC Academy
F- Yacine Ait-Slimane | CAN / Académie Impact Montréal
F- Brody Huitema | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency
F- Mark Wadid | CAN / Toronto FC Academy