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Men’s Olympic Qualifying will offer young Canadian players an opportunity

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With big names unavailable, there’s an opportunity for Canada Soccer to expand its player pool

Toronto FC forward Jayden Nelson, 17 yeas old, lines up a free-kick for Canada.
(Canada Soccer)

Due to overlapping commitments with the senior men’s national team, Canada will be without some big names—like Alphonso Davies and Jonathan David—in the upcoming Concacaf Men’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

On Wednesday, Canada Soccer released their provisional list of 50 potential players for the Qualifying competition, which of course omits the two Canadian soccer stars conquering Europe.

The under-23 tournament, which runs from Mar 21-Apr 1, will fall partly outside of the FIFA international fixture window which means some of the other regular U23 members of the Canadian squad may also not be released from their club teams for this tournament.

But much like the recent friendlies in San Diego against Iceland and Barbados, this is an excellent opportunity for Canada Soccer to give some new players valuable international experience thereby expanding its player pool for future competitions.

Canada Soccer just released their provisional list of 50 potential players for the Olympic qualifying tournament. The goal is to trim this down to 20 players by the time the pre-tournament training camp begins on Mar 13. The final roster will be announced on Mar 11.

The current provisional list includes players from Europe as well as MLS and CPL teams. In total there are nine players named from Toronto FC and Toronto FC II, seven players from the Montreal Impact, five players from Vancouver Whitecaps FC and its academy—and eight representatives from the Canadian Premier League: Pacific FC (4), York 9 (1), HFX Wanderers (1), FC Edmonton (1), Valour FC (1). Tristan Borges, who was part of the recent senior men’s national team games in San Diego, is also on the provisional list.

Canada will have to reach the final of this qualifying tournament if they hope to get to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo as this year only the top two teams will qualify. Canada has not qualified for an Olympic tournament since 1984, although they have reached the semifinals of the Concacaf Qualifying Tournament in each of the last three cycles (2008, 2012, 2015).


2020 TEAM CANADA MEN’S OLYMPIC QUALIFYING TOURNAMENT PROVISIONAL LIST

GK- Sebastian Breza | ITA / SSD Potenza Calcio
GK- Thomas Hasal | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC
GK- Matthew Nogueira | POR / CS Maritimo
GK- James Pantemis | CAN / Impact de Montréal
GK- Dayne St. Clair | USA / Minnesota United FC
CB- Robert Boskovic | CAN / Toronto FC II
CB- Derek Cornelius | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC
CB- Julian Dunn | CAN / Toronto FC
CB- Yohan Le Bourhis | CAN / Winnipeg Valour FC
CB- Thomas Meilleur-Giguère | CAN / Pacific FC
CB- Kamal Miller | USA / Orlando City SC
CB- Callum Montgomery | USA / FC Dallas
CB- Antonio Rocco Romeo | CAN / Toronto FC
CB- Frank Sturing | NED / NEC Nijmegen
CB- Karifa Yao | CAN / Impact de Montréal
FB- Diyaeddine Abzi | CAN / York9 FC
FB- Zorhan Bassong | BEL / Cercle Brugge KSV
FB- Gabriel Boakye | GER / FC Köln II
FB- Zachary Brault-Guillard | CAN / Impact de Montréal
FB- Kadin Chung | CAN / Pacific FC
FB- Marcus Godinho | GER / FSV Zwickau
FB- Daniel Kinumbe | CAN / Halifax Wanderers FC
FB- Émile Legault | Unattached
FB- Terique Mohammed | CAN / Toronto FC II
M- Clément Bayiha | CAN / Impact de Montréal
M- Tristan Borges | BEL / Oud-Heverlee Leuven
M- Mathieu Choinière | CAN / Impact de Montréal
M- Aidan Daniels | USA / Colorado Switchbacks FC
M- Liam Fraser | CAN / Toronto FC
M- Patrick Metcalfe | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC
M- David Norman | USA / Inter Miami CF
M- Noble Okello | CAN / Toronto FC
M- Harrison Paton | SCO / Ross County FC
M- Ryan Raposo | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC
M- Shamit Shome | CAN / Impact de Montréal
M- Noah Verhoeven | CAN / Pacific FC
F- Theo Bair | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC
F- Charles-Andreas Brym | FRA / Lille OSC B
F- Tajon Buchanan | USA / New England Revolution
F- Terran Campbell | CAN / Pacific FC
F- Malik Johnson | USA / Tampa Bay Rowdies
F- Aramis Kouzine | Unattached
F- Liam Millar | ENG / Liverpool FC
F- Jayden Nelson | CAN / Toronto FC
F- Easton Ongaro | CAN / FC Edmonton
F- Jordan Perruzza | CAN / Toronto FC
F- Jacob Shaffelburg | CAN / Toronto FC
F- Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla | CAN / Impact de Montréal
F- Kris Twardek | IRL / Bohemian FC
F- Dario Zanatta | SCO / Partick Thistle FC