There are three international soccer competitions being played this summer on Canadian soil, and of the three the Pan Am games are undoubtedly the least important for both the men's and women's teams. The men will have their eye on the Gold Cup, while the women will be recovering from the World Cup.
As such, the rosters announced for both the men's and women's Pan Am teams today were not first choice. The best men's players will be up with the Gold Cup team, the best women's players don't want to do double duty.
However, there are a lot of nice surprises on both team sheets, and both give off the impression that Canada could be a difficult team to beat at Toronto 2015.
The Women's Roster
Canada's women's roster for the 2015 Pan Am games is very similar to that which they used at the U-20 World Cup in Toronto last summer. This is good news as Canada impressed in that competition before losing a narrow 2-0 game to the eventual champions from Germany.
There are a couple of crossovers from the Canada 2015 team, and they will likely represent the core of this squad. This includes Kadeisha Buchanan, who has likely been the country's busiest player over the last couple of years but never turns down a call to represent les rouges.
Joining her on the Pan Ams squad are recent World Cup standout Ashley Lawrence who scored Canada's lone goal against Netherlands on Monday, Jessie Fleming and Canadian third keeper Stephanie Labbe.
The team, coached by Daniel Worthington, will also include a number of the standouts from the U-20 tournament, Janine Beckie chief among them. Nichelle Prince, Emma Fletcher and Kinley McNicholl have also been included.
All this should give the Canadian team a strong chance to defend their Pan Am Games title. They kick off the tournament on July 11 and play in a group with Brazil, Costa Rica and Ecuador.
F- Janine Beckie | Littlejohn, COL, USA | USA / Texas Tech University
D- Kadeisha Buchanan | Brampton, ON | USA / West Virginia University
F- Gabrielle Carle | Lévis, QC | CAN / AS Armada Chaudière-Est
F- Nkem Ezurike | Halifax, NS | USA / Boston Breakers
M- Emma Fletcher | Victoria, BC | USA / University of California
M- Jessie Fleming | London, ON | CAN / London Nor'West SC
M- Sarah Kinzner | Calgary, AB | CAN / Calgary Foothills SC
GK- Stephanie Labbé | Stony Plain, AB | Unattached
M- Ashley Lawrence | Toronto, ON | USA / West Virginia University
F- Marie Levasseur | Stoneham, QC | CAN / CS Haute St- Charles
D- Kinley McNicholl | Oakville, ON | USA / University of Wisconsin
D- Victoria Pickett | Barrie, ON | CAN / Glen Shields Soccer Club
F- Nichelle Prince | Ajax, ON | USA / The Ohio State University
D- Rebecca Quinn | Toronto, ON | USA / Duke University
GK - Kailen Sheridan | Whitby, ON | USA / Clemson University
D- Chelsea Stewart | Highland Ranch, CO, USA | USA / Western New York Flash
M- Danica Wu | Edmonton, AB | GER / Herdorfer
D- Shelina Zadorsky | London, ON | SWE / Vittsjö
The Men's Roster
It has been no secret in Canadian soccer circles that Canada's U-22 Pan Am Games squad is being used as preparation for 2016 Olympic Qualification. That is ultimately the goal, and Toronto 2015 is just a stepping stone on the path to achieving it.
However, with the roster Canada named today there is a chance they could make some noise at the tournament. It is also no secret that this is the deepest the talent pool has been among Canadian players in their early 20s in some time. This "second choice" Pan Am Games roster serves as proof.
Kevin Aleman is the most exciting player on the team as the 21-year-old has seen plenty of success since going on loan to A.D. Belen in Costa Rica from CS Herediano. Aleman will add some attacking flair to a team that is without two of its preferred strikers: Jordan Hamilton and Cyle Larin.
Up front Canada will instead rely on Mo Babouli, the leading scorer for Toronto FC II. He will be joined by Caleb Clarke who has five goals to lead Vancouver Whitecaps II in scoring. Speedy winger Raheem Edwards, also of Toronto FC II, could be another option.
In the midfield FC Edmonton's Hanson Boakai is the headliner, as the 18-year-old has 1 assist in 23 appearances in the NASL this year. He will be joined by Toronto FC II captain Chris Mannella, Jeremy Gagnon-Lapare of the Montreal Impact and Manny Aparicio of Toronto FC II.
The men's team will be coached by Benito Floro's son Antonio, and will start their tournament on July 12. Their group includes Peru, Panama and Brazil.
M- Kevin Aleman | Brampton, ON | CRC / CS Herediano
M- Manuel Aparicio | Toronto, ON | CAN / Toronto FC (Toronto FC II)
F- Molham Babouli | Mississauga, ON | CAN / Toronto FC II
M- Louis Béland-Goyette | Montréal, QC | CAN / FC Montréal
D- Kevon Black | Brampton, ON | CAN / Toronto FC II
F- Hanson Boakai | Edmonton, AB | CAN / FC Edmonton
D- Adam Bouchard | Oakville, ON | CAN / FC Toronto II
F- Caleb Clarke | Richmond, BC | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC (VWFC2)
D- Alex Comsia | North Vancouver, BC | USA / Carolina Railhawks U-23
GK- Maxime Crépeau | Candiac, QC | CAN / Impact de Montréal (FC Montréal)
F- Raheem Edwards | Toronto, ON | CAN / Toronto FC II
D- Jackson Farmer | Edmonton, AB | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2
F- Ben Fisk | Vancouver, BC | ESP / Coruxo FC
M- Jérémy Gagnon-Laparé | Sherbrooke, QC | CAN / Impact de Montréal
GK- Ricky Gomes | Kitchener, ON | NED / MVV Maastricht
D- Jonathan Grant | Pickering, ON | CAN / FC Montréal
D- Manjrekar James | North York, ON | HUN / Pécsi MFC
M- Chris Manella | Toronto, ON | CAN / Toronto FC (Toronto FC II)