With the CONCACAF Under-20 Championships set to kick off on Friday the full list of rosters have finally been announced. Canada will be sending a roster stocked with players who are on professional contracts with their current club which is a big change for the way the team has been made up in the past.
Rob Gale will lead a roster that certainly has plenty of talent but his biggest test may be figuring out how to get the most out of the depth that he has. If the team are going to qualify for the upcoming Under 20 World Cup it will mean having to navigate 6 games in just 14 days which will certainly put the entire roster to the test.
Canada face a tough schedule in the group stages as they open against Haiti on the 10th before their toughest test against Mexico on the 12th. That game is followed by El Salvador on the 15th, Cuba on the 19th, and Honduras on the 22nd. Should Canada finish top of the group they would automatically qualify for the Under 20 World Cup and play a meaningless final on the 24th. If they finish second or third on the group then they would head to the playoff stage which also takes place on the 24th.
The playoff stage will determine the final two teams that will represent CONCACAF at the World Cup later in the year. The four teams that reach this stage (2nd and 3rd in both groups) will be seeded based on their total points from the group stage with the team with the best record getting to play the team with the worst record. The winners of these games join the two group winners to make up the four teams heading to New Zealand.
Gale has named a pair of Toronto FC players to his roster with Jordan Hamilton and Manuel Aparicio making the final cut. Hamilton will certainly play a key role for this team as he will most likely wind up partnering Cyle Larin up front when Canada needs to field their best attacking options. Aparicio could also prove to be a regular starter but will face some stiff competition for minutes in the attacking midfield from the likes of Chris Nanco, Michael Petrasso, and Marco Bustos.
The duo will get plenty of chances to impress over the five or six matches and it should be something worth keeping an eye on for TFC fans wondering how much of a role they might be ready to take on in 2015. Chances are both players will spend a fair bit of time with the USL Pro team but a good showing in this tournament would send them in to training camp on a good note as they fight for a place of the senior team roster.
There is one other Toronto FC connection in the tournament as future academy player Martin Davis has made the final roster for Jamaica. He is set to join TFC following this tournament with the main question being which team he will wind up playing for. For TFC fans itching to catch a glimpse of him in action this tournament could be their first chance to do just that.
The final TFC player who was in the mix to make a tournament roster was Marky Delgado. He was in camp with the United States team but has been left off of their final roster for the tournament.
GK: Marco Carducci (Vancouver Whitecaps FC/CAN), Nolan Wirth (Oregon State University/USA)
DF: Sam Adekugbe (Vancouver Whitecaps FC/CAN), Alexander Comsia (RC Strasbourg/FRA), Luca Gasparotto (Rangers FC/SCO), Jordan Haynes (Vancouver Whitecaps FC Academy/CAN), Brandon John (FC Erzgebirge Aue/GER), Rares Serban (University of British Columbia/CAN)
MF: Manny Aparicio (Toronto FC/CAN), Louis Beland-Goyette (Impact de Montréal FC/CAN), Marco Bustos (Vancouver Whitecaps FC/CAN), Dylan Carreiro (Arbroath FC/SCO), Kianz Froese (Vancouver Whitecaps FC/CAN), Jérémy Gagnon-Laparé (Impact de Montréal FC/CAN), Chris Nanco (Syracuse University/USA), Michael Petrasso (Queens Park Rangers/ENG)
FW: Hanson Boakai (FC EDMONTON/CAN), Calum Ferguson (Inverness Caledonian Thistle/SCO), Jordan Hamilton (Toronto FC/CAN), Cyle Larin (Unattached)