Canada wraps up Men's U-20 tour in Mexico
Posted on 5 February 2017 in ↳ Men's EXCEL U-14 to U-23
Canada has completed a nine-day Men's U-20 camp in Mexico City, providing a group of players an additional competitive test in advance of the 2017 CONCACAF Men's Under-20 Championship. The camp featured a group of 15 players that are in contention for the final roster that will be selected on Thursday 9 February.
With two matches in three days, Canada drew 0:0 against Cruz Azul U-20s and then lost 1:2 to CF América U-20s. All 15 Canadian players featured over the course of the two matches.
"We deliberately brought a tight squad who were competing for the final spots," said Rob Gale, Canada Soccer's Men's National U-20 Team Coach. "Overall, we were very pleased with their attitude and application. It was important that these players had an opportunity to come down here and get used to playing at altitude."
Over the course of the past six months, Canada has featured 40 different players in five "1997" camps in Canada, Costa Rica, USA, Honduras, Panama, and Mexico. From that group, 20 players will be selected for the final CONCACAF Men's Under-20 Championship roster, all of whom must be born 1997 or later.
"Our long-term objectives have always been the most important consideration in our preparations," said Gale. "For the CONCACAF tournament, we will take the players who are in the best moment at the time of selections. So while some players may not be quite ready at this stage in February, it is vital that we continue to prepare them for future selection on our Men's National Team and the demands of international football."
The Mexico camp primarily features players based with clubs in Canada and universities in USA. Beyond the camp in Mexico and final assessments, Canada Soccer's Men's National U-20 Team will select a squad of 20 players to participate in the CONCACAF Men's Under-20 Championship from 17 February to 5 March.
Canada will kick off against Honduras on 17 February in San José, Costa Rica. Canada will also face Mexico (20 February) as well as Antigua & Barbuda (23 February) in a difficult group that will advance only two nations to the second round.
From 12 nations split into three groups, four nations will qualify for the FIFA U-20 World Cup Korea Republic 2017. After the opening group phase, six nations play two or three more matches through to the CONCACAF final on 5 March.
Canada Soccer's Men's EXCEL Program channels our nation's exceptional players into the best soccer environments. The Canada Soccer Pathway works in collaboration with our provincial and territorial partners as well as the professional clubs and academies. For Canada's elite players, the program emphasizes player development on the pathway to representing Canada's Men's National Team in international soccer.