Canada Soccer announced on Thursday that five Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency and Pre-Residency players have been called-up for Canada’s U-15 men’s national team. In total, 18 young Canadians will take part in a five nations tournament during the first two weeks of August in Mexico.
Among the Whitecaps FC players called up are defenders Michael Baldisimo, Tudor Mihaila and Ali Zohar, as well as midfielders Alphonso Boyle Davies and Benson Fazili.
It’s a great first experience for the youngsters, as they’ll play four matches, three of them against CONCACAF opponents in the high altitude of Mexico City.
“We are very excited to start a new international cycle with this young group of players and guide them across all areas of their development,” said Tony Fonseca, Technical Director of Canada Soccer. “The Mexico tournament is their first step into international competition and a great opportunity for them to continue to learn while showcasing the motivation and skills they acquired so far in what is an enduring and complex development process."
Canada Soccer identified these players through a series of identification camps, as well as a four team tournament held in Toronto in May that featured youth teams from Canada’s three Major League Soccer clubs and a Canada Soccer team that had players not currently in a professional academy system.
The team opens training on Monday, August 3, under the guidance of head coach Sean Fleming. They’ll have two days of preparation in advance of their first game against Mexico. After that, the matches come fast and furious, as they’ll take on Qatar (6 August), Bermuda (8 August), and Panama (9 August).
“I’d like to see them be confident and believe in themselves, especially against the top teams we’ll be playing,” Fleming said of his young players. “I’d like to see them handle the environment, meaning the culture and the heat. I’d like to see players who are resilient and who can deal with those challenges.”
This group of players would be eligible to represent Canada in qualifying for the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup India. Canada has qualified for two of the past three FIFA U-17 World Cups with Fleming at the helm.
GK- Gianluca Catalano | CAN / Toronto FC Academy
GK- Oliver Saundry | CAN / Calgary Foothills
D- Michael Baldisimo | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency
D- Julian Dunn-Johnson | CAN / Brampton Youth
D- Yohan Le Bourhis | CAN / Académie Impact de Montréal
D- Tudor Mihaila | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC Pre-Residency
D- Josh Moreira | CAN / Toronto FC Academy
D- Ali Zohar | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC Pre-Residency
M- Christopher Castillo | CAN / Toronto FC Academy
M- Alphonso Boyle Davies | CAN / Edmonton Strikers & Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency
M- Benson Fazili | CAN / Gloucester Hornets & Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency
M- Terique Mohammed | CAN / Unionville SC
M- Ben Paton | CAN / Brampton Youth
M- Luca Petrasso | CAN / Toronto FC Academy
F- Olakunle Dada-Luke | CAN / Toronto FC Academy
F- Jonathan David | CAN / Ottawa Gloucester SC
F- Jordan Faria | CAN / Toronto FC Academy
F- Max Weinberg | USA / Seattle Sounders FC Academy