Eight 'Caps called up to Canadian women's U-17 camp

Maya Antoine

Eight players from the Vancouver Whitecaps FC Girls Elite BC Soccer REX program have been called up for Canada Soccer’s upcoming Women’s EXCEL camp in Markham, Ontario.

The ‘Caps players in the squad are: Teni Akindoju, Maya Antoine, Stella Downing, Maya Ladhani, Jayde Riviere, Aaliyah Scott, Caitlin Shaw, and Andersen Williams.

The nine-day camp, which serves as preparation for the 2018 Concacaf Women’s Under-17 Championship in Nicaragua, runs from March 18 to 26 and will be followed by a pre-tournament camp in early April.

“We have brought together a wider group in advance of selecting our 20 players for the Concacaf Women’s Under-17 Championship in April,” said Bev Priestman, Canada Soccer’s Women’s National EXCEL Director U-15 to U-23. “It speaks volumes to the depth of our group who are all now training in our Regional EXCEL Super Centres across Canada. We know it will be a very tough decision to get our squad down to just 20 players.”

While the Concacaf Women’s Under-17 Championship serves as a qualification route to the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Uruguay 2018, it serves as part of the bigger picture in preparing young players on their pathway to the Women’s National Team. This year’s Concacaf Women’s Under-17 Championship runs 19 to 29 April in Managua, Nicaragua.

All 27 players in the group, born 2001 or later, train at Canada Soccer’s Regional EXCEL Super Centres from across Canada. Collectively, the group of 27 players have benefited from more than 1,800 player camp days in Canada Soccer’s Women’s National Youth Program since 2014.

“The Concacaf Women’s Under-17 Championship is a great window and key development step for young, talented players to gain unique tournament experiences and be pitted against some good opposition in a major competition,” said Priestman. “We know and have seen that these competitions and environments provide young players with the chance to bloom and find new personal bests. Our selections will be based on the potential that we can see in them to go on and eventually play for the Women’s National Team in the future. 

“This competition provides a great opportunity for players to experience new styles of play, heat, quick turnarounds between matches, and ultimately perform and flourish under pressure to qualify for a FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup. It is a huge learning experience.” 

At the eight-nation Concacaf Women’s Under-17 Championship, three nations will qualify for the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Uruguay 2018. In the group phase, Canada will face Bermuda on 20 April, Costa Rica on 22 April, and USA on 24 April through the group phase. Two nations from the group will then advance to semi-final phase.

Canada Soccer's Women’s EXCEL Program brings together the best with the best at the national youth level, throughout each year. Operating across the U-14 to U-20 age groups, the program is designed to deliver an aligned talent structure and system that progresses more top players to Canada Soccer’s Women’s National Team. Major competitions which are viewed as staging posts to assess development, allows for the development of the Women’s EXCEL Team Playing Model and tournament processes and expertise, ultimately preparing players for when they do progress up the system.

Additionally, the most talented U-14 to U-18 players are offered a specialised daily training environment through the Regional EXCEL Program, which is delivers Canada Soccer’s national curriculum year-round through a two-tiered talent system, with three Super Centres streamlining Canada Soccer's EXCEL players into training environments in British Columbia, Ontario and Québec from the smaller provincial-licensed centres.

Canada Soccer’s Women’s National Youth Teams have won four CONCACAF titles: the 2004 and 2008 CONCACAF Women’s Under-20 Championship, the 2010 CONCACAF Women’s Under-17 Championship, and the 2014 CONCACAF Girls’ Under-15 Championship. Canada have qualified for seven editions of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup (including a silver medal at Canada 2002) and all five editions of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup.