Canada Soccer announced on Tuesday that four Whitecaps FC players have been named to the roster for the upcoming 2017 CONCACAF Men’s U-17 Championship. Coach Paul Stalteri has selected 20 players for the international competition that runs Apri 21 to May 7 in Panama.
Included on the roster are Whitecaps FC U-16 Residency defender Jake Ruby, midfielder Alessandro Hojabrpour, and striker José Hernández. Also included is Whitecaps FC 2 midfielder/defender Michael Baldisimo. All four players were recently called into a two-week camp in Toronto in preparation for the tournament.
The 12-nation CONCACAF Men's Under-17 Championship equally serves as the qualification route for the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup in India. Only four CONCACAF nations will qualify for the biennial event, which runs this October 6 to 28.
"We ended the 2016 calendar year with a few very good performances, so we will look to build on that success," said Paul Stalteri, Canada Soccer's men's national U-17 team coach. "With the demanding nature of this competition, we need to count on our boys being in top physical condition and ready to tackle the qualifiers from the first match on April 22."
Canada will face Costa Rica on April 22, Cuba on April 25, and Suriname on April 28. From that group, two nations will advance to the second round.
From the six nations that advance into the second round, four qualify for the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017, while the top two play for the CONCACAF Men's Under-17 Championship trophy on May 7.
Alongside their time with clubs, all 20 players have experience in Canada Soccer's Men's EXCEL Program. By the time Canada faces Costa Rica on the opening day, this group will have accumulated more than 1,000 days in national youth camps.
The CONCACAF Men's Under-17 Championship provides an important opportunity for player development along the Canada Soccer Pathway. The Canadian program aims to develop players that are adaptable to play against any opponent while also expanding the players' knowledge of CONCACAF environments and opponents.
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 territorial 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.
1- GK- Gianluca Catalano | CAN / Toronto FC Academy
2- FB- Jake Ruby | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-16 Residency
3- FB- Terique Mohammed | CAN / Toronto FC Academy
4- CB- Julian Dunn-Johnson | CAN / Toronto FC Academy
5- CB- Antonio Rocco Romeo | CAN / Toronto FC Academy
6- M- Noble Okello | CAN / Toronto FC Academy
7- W- Jordan Faria | CAN / Toronto FC Academy
8- M- Michael Baldisimo | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2
9- F- Jonathan David | CAN / Ottawa Internationals SC
10- M- Steffen Yeates | CAN / Toronto FC Academy
11- W- Luca Petrasso | CAN / Toronto FC Academy
12- FB- Émile Legault | FRA / AJ Auxerre
13- M- Alessandro Hojabrpour | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-16 Residency
14- CB- Yohan Le Bourhis | CAN / Académie Impact de Montréal
15- W- Ryan Amorim | POR / Vitória FC Juvenis
16- M- Benson Fazili | CAN / Ottawa Internationals SC
17- W- Olakunle Dada-Luke | CAN / Toronto FC Academy
18- GK- Sebastian Sgarbossa | CAN / Toronto FC Academy
19- F- José Hernández | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-16 Residency
20- F- Zakaria Abdi | CAN / Toronto FC Academy
CONCACAF Men's Under-17 Championship
Canada's all-time results at the CONCACAF Men's Under-17 Championship since 1985 (all-time record 30 wins, 15 draws, and 24 losses).
Canada's Rank & Host Nation
3rd place at Mexico 1985
*Did not play in 1987 (already qualified as hosts of Canada 1987)
3rd place at Trinidad and Tobago 1988 (qualified for Scotland 1989)
6th place at Trinidad and Tobago 1991
3rd place at Cuba 1992 (qualified for Japan 1993)
3rd place at El Salvador 1994 (qualified for Ecuador 1995)
4th place at Trinidad and Tobago 1996
Group B 3rd place at El Salvador 1999
Group A 2nd place at USA 2001
Group B 3rd place at Canada 2003
Group B 3rd place at Mexico 2005
Group B 4th place at Jamaica 2007
Group B 4th place at Mexico 2009
2nd place at Jamaica 2011 (qualified for Mexico 2011)
3rd place at Panama 2013 (qualified for UAE 2013)
6th place at Honduras 2015