'Caps pair head to Francophone Games

CSA & Whitecaps FC Vancouver Whitecaps FC, in conjunction with the Canadian Soccer Association, announce that midfielders Philippe Davies and Alex Semenets have been selected to Canada's U-20 national team for the 2009 Francophone Games in Lebanon. The pair were picked in head coach Tony Fonseca's 20-player squad for the sixth edition of the Francophone Games, which takes place from September 26 to October 6 in the Lebanese capital of Beirut. Canada will play Rwanda (September 26) and Cameroon (September 30) in the group stage of the men's soccer competition. Former Whitecaps men's team head coach Fonseca will first take his squad to neighbouring Cyprus for a short training camp, which begins this Sunday and runs until next Wednesday. Canada will then travel to Lebanon on Thursday to make final preparations for the tournament. "These games provide a platform from which youth from around the world rally to unite culture and sports," Fonseca told CanadaSoccer.com. "The games stand for its core values - diversity, excellence and solidarity. In line with its values, the games provide a great opportunity to develop and promote new talents on the international scene. We are all looking forward to the games." Davies, 18, returns to Canada's U-20 squad after appearing for the team at the 2009 CONCACAF U-20 Championship in Trinidad & Tobago last March. A product of the Whitecaps Residency program, the native of Longueuil, Quebec, made his Whitecaps men's team debut when he came on as a late substitute in a 4-0 home win over Minnesota Thunder in the United Soccer Leagues First Division (USL-1) on July 9. The midfielder's first-ever men's team start came on August 6 during a 1-0 defeat at Pacific Northwest rivals Portland Timbers. Davies also recorded two assists in nine USL Premier Development League (PDL) appearances for the Residency team this season. Those assists came on Kenold Versailles' winning goals during the Residency's PDL home wins over Yakima Reds (July 4) and Cascade Surge (July 5). Semenets, 19, makes the trip to the Middle East after appearing in four PDL matches for the Residency team this season. Born in Kiev, Ukraine, the native of Mississauga, Ontario, scored the Residency team's winning goal from the penalty spot in a 2-1 PDL home victory over Abbotsford Mariners on May 17. A product of the club's full-time Residency program, Semenets was part of the Whitecaps men's team's historic preseason trip to the United Republic of Tanzania in March 2009. The speedy winger was a late substitute in the 2-1 victory over Tanzanian Premier League outfit Simba Sports Club on March 12 before coming off the substitutes' bench again for the goalless draw versus the Tanzanian national team on March 14. His previous experience at the international level was with Canada's U-17 national team, where he earned 15 caps between April 2006 and May 2007. This is Canada's sixth participation in the Francophone Games men's soccer tournament, having won the inaugural competition in Morocco back in 1989. That year, Canada's squad included several former Whitecaps players in goalkeeper Rob Merkl, midfielders Kevin Holness and Norm Odinga, and strikers Carlo Corazzin, Nick Gilbert, Rick Jaskens, and Domenic Mobilio.