Canada Soccer announced on Thursday that six Vancouver Whitecaps FC Academy players have been called up to the Canada U-17 men's national team squad for their last preparation camp ahead of the FIFA U-17 World Cup Brazil 2019. The Canada squad will train in Argentina from October 11 to 22 with the final squad to be announced in advance of the team’s opening match against the hosts Brazil.
Included on the roster are centre backs Nathan Demian and Gianfranco Facchineri, fullback Deylen Vellios, midfielders Emiliano Brienza and Damiano Pecile, and forward Kamron Habibullah. Demian, Habibullah, Facchineri, Pecile, and Vellios were all part of Canada's squad during Concacaf qualifying.
Canada will open the FIFA U-17 World Cup against Brazil on Saturday, October 26 and then face Angola on Tuesday October 29 and New Zealand on Friday, November 1. All three of Canada’s group matches will be played at Estádio Walmir Campelo Bezerra in Brasilia and be broadcast live back home on TSN and RDS. The Knockout Phase runs from November 5 through to the Final on November 17. Extended match day coverage will be featured across Canada Soccer’s digital channels including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Fans are encouraged to follow Canada Soccer’s Men’s U-17 National Team every step of the way by using their social media handle, #canm17.
“We have a lot of work ahead of us, but to be in this position is exciting for what the future holds for Canada Soccer’s Men’s National Team Program,” said Andrew Olivieri, Canada Soccer’s Men’s EXCEL U-14 to U-17 Program Director. “We have an opportunity now to work on the gaps we identified through qualifying and where we can build from the foundations we have already established.”
Canada qualified for the FIFA U-17 World Cup Brazil 2019 after winning 4-3 on kicks from the penalty mark over Concacaf rivals Costa Rica on May 12. Facchineri – who was recently won the Whitecaps FC BMO Academy RESP award – scored the winning kick from the spot. After 120 minutes in the Florida heat with no winner from a 1-1 draw, Canada won their ticket to the FIFA U-17 World Cup for the first time in six years.
This marks the seventh time that Canada has advanced to the FIFA U-17 World Cup, the biennial competition that was initially launched as the FIFA U-16 World Tournament in 1985. Canada were the second hosts of the competition in 1987.
“This group has a chance to put forth the best performance by a Canadian team at the FIFA U-17 World Cup and put the shirt in a better place,” said Olivieri. “The FIFA U-17 World Cup will provide valuable experience for these young players as they compete in meaningful matches in a big competition, starting with the tournament opener against the hosts in Brazil.
As part of the pre-tournament preparations, Canada will face Argentina and Mexico in closed international friendly matches. Earlier this year, Canada reached the semi-finals of the Concacaf Men’s Under-17 Championship after posting three wins, one draw and two losses in six international matches in May.
“The Concacaf Men’s Under-17 Championship was an exciting next step to the NEX-PRO integration strategies that we launched with our MLS academies, but it also represented the type of pinnacle event where success in meaningful matches will put us among Concacaf’s top nations,” said Olivieri. “The big objective was to qualify for the FIFA U-17 World Cup and we have done which will now allow us to accelerate the development for the players in this age group.”
GK- Eleias Himaras | CAN / Toronto FC Academy
GK- Marc Kouadio | USA / Montverde Academy
CB- Maxime Bourgeois | CAN / Académie Impact Montréal
CB- Nathan Demian | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC Academy
CB- Gianfranco Facchineri | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC Academy
CB- Keesean Ferdinand | CAN / Académie Impact Montréal
FB- Kobe Franklin | CAN / Toronto FC Academy
FB- Rohan Goulbourne | CAN / Toronto FC Academy
FB- Deylen Vellios | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC Academy
M- Julian Altobelli | CAN / Toronto FC Academy
M- Emiliano Brienza | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC Academy
M- Matt Catavolo | CAN / Académie Impact Montréal
M- Tomas Giraldo | CAN / Académie Impact Montréal
M- Deandre Kerr | CAN / Toronto FC Academy
M- Damiano Pecile | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC Academy
M- Ralph Priso-Mbongue | CAN / Toronto FC Academy
F- Jacen Russell-Rowe | CAN / Toronto FC Academy
W- Kamron Habibullah | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC Academy
W- Mouhamadou Kane | CAN / Académie Impact Montréal
W- Jayden Nelson | CAN / Toronto FC Academy
W- Aribim Pepple | CAN / Cavalry FC (Calgary)
W- Sean Rea | CAN / Académie Impact Montréal