Canada Para Soccer ready to take on the world at biennial championship
Posted on 8 September 2017 in Para Soccer
Canada Para Soccer will face Brazil, Republic of Ireland, and Spain at this year’s IFCPF World Championships in San Luis, Argentina. The 16-nation competition kicks off this 10 September, with Canada looking to again crack the top-10 in the world.
“We have a tough draw, but we will set out with the mindset that we can pull off an upset against one of the top teams in the group phase,” said Drew Ferguson, Canada Soccer’s National Para Soccer Team Head Coach. “We have five new players, but we also have good young talent, so this event will also be a great learning experience for our group.”
Fans can follow the IFCPF World Championships across Canada Soccer’s digital channels from 10-23 September. Canada’s three group matches are 10 September against Brazil, 12 September against Republic of Ireland, and 14 September against Spain. Canada will then play three more matches from 18 to 23 September to determine their world ranking.
Coach Ferguson has arguably some of the best young players in the world, including 19-year old Samuel Charron and 20-year Liam Stanley. Canada’s 14-man squad also features the program’s most experienced player Dustin Hodgson and 50-year young midfielder Jamie Ackinclose. Both Hodgson and Ackinclose rank with Charron among the program’s all-time top-five goalscorers.
From the last IFCPF World Championships in 2015, Canada has returned five players in Charron, Hodgson, Nicholas Heffernan, Stanley, and goalkeeper Damien Wojtiw. That team finished in 10th place, the program’s second-best ranking. Ackinclose is the one other player with previous IFCPF World Championships experience, although he missed the last competition through injury.
“We will rely on the experience of Jamie Ackinclose to help stabilize a very young squad, but we know that players like Samuel Charron and Liam Stanley can both be our spark in speed and quality to help us reach our goals at this event,” said Ferguson.
This marks Canada’s sixth participation in the biennial IFCPF World Championship since 2005, with their best ranking a 9th place finish in 2009. Canada qualified for the 2017 IFCPF World Championships last year through the Qualification Tournament in Denmark.
Canada's Para Soccer Team is made up of athletes who have cerebral palsy or have had a stroke or brain injury.