Canada’s squad for the CONCACAF Men’s Under-20 Championship was announced by Canada Soccer on Friday afternoon. The competition will determine not only the four CONCACAF representatives at the 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup hosted by Indonesia, but also the two CONCACAF representatives at the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, France. The team will be coached by senior men’s team assistant Mauro Biello.
Canada is among the 20 teams in the competition and will be in Group E along with Cuba, the United States, and Saint Kitts & Nevis. Three teams advance from the four-team group. The roster is comprised of a 20-player squad along with five training players. Eligibility for the tournament is restricted to players born 2003 or later.
Players are listed by position, name, birth year and province, and nation and club name.
1- GK- Ben Alexander | 2003 | BC | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC Academy
2- FB- Noah Abatneh | 2004 | ON | ITA / SS Lazio Rome
3- FB- Kwasi Poku | 2003 | ON | CAN / Forge FC Hamilton
4- CB- Justin Smith | 2003 | FRA | FRA / OGC Nice
5- CB- Jamie Knight-Lebel | 2004 | ENG | ENG / Bristol City FC
6- CB- Matteo Campagna | 2004 | BC |CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2
7- W- Jean-Aniel Assi | 2004 | QC | CAN / Cavalry FC
8- M- Rida Zouhir | 2003 | QC | CAN / CF Montréal
9- F- Lowell Wright | 2003 | ON | CAN / York United FC
10- M- Matt Catavolo | 2003 | QC | CAN / Valour FC
11- F- Kamron Habibullah | 2003 | BC | CAN / Pacific FC
12- CB- Loïc Cloutier | 2004 | QC | CAN / Académie de CF Montréal
13- FB- Kobe Franklin | 2003 | ON | CAN / Toronto FC II
14- M- Gabriel Pellegrino | 2004 | ON | GER / SC Freiburg
15- FB- Keesean Ferdinand | 2003 | QC | CAN / CF Montréal
16- M- Maël Henry | 2004 | QC | CAN / Académie de l’Impact de Montréal
17- M- Jesse Costa | 2005 | ON | GER / VfL Wolfsburg
18- GK- Dino Bontis | 2004 | ON | CAN / Forge FC Hamilton
19- F- Tiago Coimbra | 2004 | BC | BRA / SE Palmeiras
20- F- Hugo Mbongue Mbongue | 2004 | ON | CAN / Toronto FC II
GK- Adisa De Rosario | 2004 | ON | CAN / Toronto FC Academy
CB- Jefferson Alphonse | 2003 | QC | CAN / CF Montréal
CB- Adam Pearlman | 2005 | ON | CAN / Toronto FC II
FB- Eric White | 2003 | BC | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2
M- Hugo Tavares | 2003 | POR | POR / FC Paços de Ferreira
There are three players from the Toronto FC system among eight from the Canadian MLS teams. From TFC are Hugo Mbongue Mbongue, Kobe Franklin, and also Adam Pearlman as a training player. Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty was eligible for the team, but held out on account of injury. Kosi Thompson was also eligible, but was likely held back by TFC due to his importance to the first team.
Players missing out include forwards Mateo Bunbury, son of Alex Bunbury, Ronan Kratt (yes, his father is one of the Kratt brothers), Jules-Anthony Vilsaint and Luka Koleosho. The latter was never a realistic expectation for the U-20s having just experienced an abbreviated camp with the senior team.
The most critical absences for Canada may be felt in goal, where the tandem was expected to be 17-year-old Max Anchor and 18-year-old Owen Goodman. Max Anchor, who plays in MLS Next Pro in the Vancouver Whitecaps organization, is injured. The case for Owen Goodman, who has become the Crystal Palace U23 first team keeper, is not clear at the moment. There is a rumour that he ultimately declined Canada upon being guaranteed a spot with one of England’s youth teams. However, a second rumour, and one that is more plausible, is that he returned to England because of delays in obtaining his Canadian passport.
However, the player news was not bad. Notable gains for the U-20 team include five, well-regarded dual nationals including; full-back Noah Abatneh of Italy’s Serie A’s SS Lazio Rome, centre-back Justin Smith of Ligue 1’s OGC Nice, midfielder Rida Zouhir of CF Montreal, forward Kamron Habibullah of Vancouver Whitecaps FC, and Tiago Coimbra of Brasileiro Série A outfit Palmeiras.
There are high hopes for Justin Smith, as he is a prospect in a position where Canada is not deep. Tiago Coimbra is a popular player with Palmeiras supporters, who have given him a mononymous nickname, as is common in Brazilian football, by referring to the youngster as simply “Canadá”.
The Canadian U20s play their first game against Cuba on Saturday, June 18th at 4 pm EST.
You can watch the games on streaming services OneSoccer and fuboTV. For more extended coverage, you can access the spectrum of Canada Soccer’s digital channels on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube featuring the hashtag #CanM20.