Canada Soccer announced on Friday that all six players from the Whitecaps FC BMO Academy System who were in the pre-tournament camp have been named to Canada's final roster for the upcoming FIFA U-17 World Cup Brazil 2019, set to start next Saturday, October 26. This will mark Canada’s 15th participation at a FIFA men’s youth tournament since 1979 and their first at the FIFA U-17 World Cup since 2011. All matches will be broadcast live on TSN and RDS.
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, while Brienza earned his opportunity with strong play over the past two camps.
Canada will open against hosts 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. 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.
“It’s been a big year for our Men’s EXCEL Program with semi-final finishes at both the Concacaf Men’s Under-17 Championship and Concacaf Boys’ Under-15 Championship,” said Andrew Olivieri, Canada Soccer’s Men’s EXCEL U-14 to U-17 program director. “What an exciting time to not only be in Brazil, but also to play Brazil in the opening match.”
The FIFA U-17 World Cup Brazil 2019 will provide Canada’s young players with a chance to take part in meaningful international competition, which provides an important step in the development pathway while also allowing Canada Soccer’s Men’s EXCEL Program to identify future players for the Men’s National Team.
Canada’s final squad features 21 players who started their Canadian soccer journeys from 18 different clubs across the nation. Players in this group were all born 2002 or 2003, also making them eligible for future youth competitions en route to the next FIFA U-20 World Cup cycle in 2021 as well as the Men’s Olympic Tournament in 2024.
Canada have been diligent in synergizing its Men’s EXCEL Program with the professional clubs in Canada as part of a NEX-PRO integration strategy, formalising the monitoring and tracking systems, periodising competition programs, and aligning calendars ahead of the international competition in May. Canada Soccer have worked hand-in-hand with the professional clubs as well as provincial and territorial members in their own environments, evaluating a wider base of players while working together with the clubs to develop players both on and off the field on the pathway to the Men’s National Team.
“A big part of our success has been the alignment across the country from our provinces to our professional academies,” said Olivieri. “It has been wonderful how they have supported our program and helped us identify new talents. Then to top it all off with our integration camps, it has been an exciting year for the Men’s National Team Program.”
Ahead of the opening match, Canada trained for 12 days in Argentina, including international matches against Mexico and Argentina. 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 this tournament will now allow us to accelerate the development for the players in this age group.”
CANADA’S SQUAD FOR THE FIFA U-17 WORLD CUP
Canada’s official squad for the FIFA U-17 World Cup features goalkeepers Benjamin Collins, Eleias Himaras and Marc Kouadio in goal, Nathan Demian, Gianfranco Facchineri, Keesean Ferdinand, Kobe Franklin, Rohan Goulbourne and Deylen Vellios at either centre back or fullback, and Julian Altobelli, Emiliano Brienza, Matthew Catavolo, Tomas Giraldo, Kamron Habibullah, Mouhamadou Kane, Deandre Kerr, Jayden Nelson, Damiano Pecile, Ralph Priso-Mbongue, Sean Rea and Jacen Russell-Rowe from the midfield up through to the attack.
Seventeen of the 21 players have previously dressed for Concacaf youth tournaments, be it the 2017 Concacaf Boys’ Under-15 Championship and/or 2019 Concacaf Men’s Under-17 Championship. Four players – Brienza, Franklin, Himaras and Kane – are taking part in their first major international youth competition. Of note, winger Jérémie Omeonga is unavailable for the FIFA U-17 World Cup through injury at the club level.
ROAD TO THE FIFA U-17 WORLD CUP BRAZIL 2019
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. 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 advances 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.
“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.”
FIFA U-17 WORLD CUP BRAZIL 2019
Brazil’s experience as a host of global football competitions dates back almost 70 years to the 1950 FIFA World Cup™. More recently, the nation staged the 2014 FIFA World Cup™, which drew almost 3.5 million fans to packed stadiums in 12 Host Cities around the country. While recent major events held in Brazil have featured stars at the height of their careers, the FIFA U-17 World Cup brings together the best young footballers in the world for a unique opportunity to showcase their skills on the international stage.
This will mark Canada’s seventh participation at the FIFA U-17 World Cup and first since 2011. From past editions of the FIFA U-17 World Cup, Canadian youth players that went on to represent the Men’s National Team include Paul Peschisolido (Canada 1987), Mauro Biello (Scotland 1989), Jim Brennan (Japan 1993), Paul Stalteri (Japan 1993), Patrice Bernier (Ecuador 1995), Maxime Crépeau (Mexico 2011), Samuel Piette (Mexico 2011), and Marco Bustos (UAE 2013).
1- GK- Marc Kouadio | USA / Montverde Academy
2- FB- Kobe Franklin | CAN / Toronto FC Academy U-17
3- FB- Rohan Goulbourne | CAN / Toronto FC Academy
4- M- Damiano Pecile | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC Development Squad
5- CB- Gianfranco Facchineri | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC Development Squad
6- CB- Nathan Demian | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC Academy
7- F- Kamron Habibullah | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC Development Squad
8- M- Ralph Priso-Mbongue | CAN / Toronto FC Academy
9- F- Jacen Russell-Rowe | CAN / Toronto FC Academy
10- F- Matt Catavolo | CAN / Académie de l’Impact de Montréal U-17
11- F- Jayden Nelson | CAN / Toronto FC Academy
12- FB- Deylen Vellios | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC Academy
13- FB- Keesean Ferdinand | CAN / Académie de l’Impact de Montréal U-17
14- M- Tomas Giraldo | CAN / Académie de l’Impact de Montréal U-17
15- FB- Emiliano Brienza | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC Development Squad
16- M- Deandre Kerr | CAN / Toronto FC Academy
17- M- Sean Rea | CAN / Académie Impact Montréal
18- GK- Eleias Himaras | CAN / Toronto FC Academy U-17
19- F- Mouhamadou Kane | CAN / Académie de l’Impact de Montréal U-17
20- M- Julian Altobelli | CAN / Toronto FC Academy
21- GK- Benjamin Collins | CAN / Académie Impact Montréal