Three Vancouver Whitecaps FC players have been called up to Canada's U-20 national team for a training camp ahead of the 2011 CONCACAF U-20 Championship that begins later this month in Guatemala City, Guatemala.
Vancouver's new Major League Soccer signing Russell Teibert joins the Whitecaps FC Residency pair of defender Derrick Bassi and striker Coulton Jackson in a 24-player squad that was selected by head coach Valerio Gazzola. Canada will prepare in Sunrise, Florida, before Gazzola picks 20 players that will make up his roster for the tournament in Central America. The trio join Omar Salgado in earning call-ups to their country's U-20 national team, with the striker called into the United States U-20 side for Guatemala 2011.
The Canadians have been drawn in Group C at this year's CONCACAF U-20 Championship. They face Guadeloupe on Monday, March 28, before facing reigning CONCACAF U-20 champions Costa Rica on Friday, April 1. The top two teams from each of the four groups will advance to the all-important quarterfinals, with the four winners not only advancing to the championship semifinals, but earning qualification to the 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Colombia.
Teibert's call-up caps a fine week for the native of Niagara Falls, Ontario. On Thursday, the 18-year-old was signed to a 'Generation adidas' contract by MLS, with the talented winger becoming Whitecaps FC's fourth homegrown player signing for their inaugural MLS season after an impressive preseason campaign.
Bassi,19, joins Canada U-20's after becoming part of the Residency program this past December. The native of North Delta, BC, was a former academy player at English League Championship outfit Middlesbrough FC before spending a season of NCAA Division II soccer with Simon Fraser University (SFU) last fall. Bassi helped SFU become the first Canadian university to win an NCAA conference championship when the Clan won the Great Northwest Athletic Conference title.
Jackson, 19, returns to the U-20 squad after training Gazzola's side last month. The Surrey, BC, native was a member of Canada's U-17 national team that participated in the 2009 CONCACAF U-17 Championship in Tijuana, Mexico. A former Whitecaps FC Prospects player, Jackson has been a member of the Residency program since February 2009.
Canada's U-20 squad also includes two former members of Whitecaps FC Residency. Goalkeeper Julien Latendresse-Lévesque is in his second season on loan at German outfit FC Energie Cottbus, while midfielder Ethan Gage recently completed a move to English League Championship side Reading FC.