Vancouver Whitecaps FC midfielder Ben McKendry scored for Canada's U-23 national team on Wednesday in a 3-0 win over Grenada's national "A" squad. Grenada used the match as preparation for the upcoming 2016 Caribbean Cup.
Five Whitecaps FC Residency graduates saw the field for the Red and White, with first team goalkeeper Marco Carducci posting the clean sheet and Whitecaps FC 2 right back Chris Serban among the starters. Residency grad Caleb Clarke scored the third goal for Canada.
"This trip has been an extremely valuable exercise for our national program," said Michael Findlay, the U-23 coach on this tour and current assistant coach on the Men's National Team. "The application and commitment from the whole group has been excellent; from the players to the staff, it has been very professional. This was an opportunity for our young players to learn in the right environment."
Canada's 10-day camp started in Toronto before passing through Georgetown and St. George's. All 17 players saw action in the two matches, with goalkeeper Maxime Crépeau playing the first match and Carducci posting the clean sheet in the second. Raheem Edwards was Canada's man of the match on Sunday while Skylar Thomas was Canada's star on Wednesday.
"It was a very competitive match against Grenada," said Findlay. "They were well organised, aware, and they worked together as a strong collective unit which gave us problems in the first half."
Before the end of the first half, however, Edwards broke down the right side before turning his defender inside out and then slipping the ball through the goalkeeper's legs.
Just after the hour mark, McKendry made it 2-0 after a shot fell into his path: he kept his cool and put it past goalkeeper Jason Belfon.
Late in the match, Clarke made it 3-0 after Manuel Aparicio broke down the right side and delivered a beautiful, low cross that Clarke finished.
Canada's players will now return to their professional clubs in Canada, USA, and Europe, all with an eye on continuing their development on the pathway to Canada Soccer's Men's National Team. The average age of this group is only 21 years old.
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 territory 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.