Canada Soccer announced on Wednesday that four players from the Whitecaps FC Girls Elite REX program, in partnership with BC Soccer, have been called up to the upcoming Concacaf Women’s Under-20 Championship, one of three Concacaf women’s youth tournaments in which Canada will compete this year.
The 20-player squad features Whitecaps FC BMO Academy System players Molly Quarry, Joanna Verzosa-Dolezal, Jazmine Wilkinson, and Andersen Williams. Also included on the roster are 'Caps graduates Tanya Boychuk, Mya Jones, Emma Regan, and Caitlin Shaw, as well as Maya Ladhani who spent one year with the club.
Canada will compete for one of only two remaining spots from Concacaf at the next FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup. The Concacaf Championship will run from February 22 through March 8 in San Cristobal and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
Canada are one of 20 nations competing at this year’s Concacaf Women’s Under-20 Championship, which will exclude this year’s FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup hosts Costa Rica and Panama. Canada will play group matches against El Salvador, Guatemala and Jamaica after which it will need to advance past elimination matches in the Round of 16, Quarter-finals and Semi-finals. Unlike recent cycles, only two nations (not three) will qualify through the Concacaf Women’s Under-20 Championship.
“We have set a goal to qualify through Concacaf to both FIFA youth tournaments, although we know it will be challenging under the new format,” said Rhian Wilkinson, Canada Soccer’s Women’s U-20 and U-17 Coach. “Playing up to seven matches across 16 days under the new format will test us both physically and mentally, but that is the point of the tournament. That pressure will help develop our players as they continue to progress towards the Women’s National Team.”
From 16 nations in four groups, the top-12 nations (three from each group) will join four pre-qualified nations in the Concacaf Round of 16. From there, there are no second chances at the U-20 level as each round will eliminate the losing side until only the two winners of the Concacaf Semi-finals qualify for the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup.
As determined through the draw, Canada could face USA in a Concacaf elimination match for a spot at a FIFA women’s youth tournament for just the second time ever if USA finishes either first or third in Group C (facing Cuba, Dominican Republic and Honduras). Only in 2010 have the two nations met under such pressure with Canada ultimately qualifying for that year’s FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup through kicks from the penalty mark.
This year’s Canada U-20 squad features players born 2000 or later, all of whom have benefited from playing experience in Canada Soccer’s Women’s EXCEL Program at the youth level. From the squad, 17 have participated in previous Concacaf or FIFA youth tournaments in recent years.
“We can see that our system, the Canada Soccer Regional Excel Program, is working better than ever in delivering a connected and unified system and ensuring that there are more opportunities for our young players to be seen across the country,” said Wilkinson. “The whole program is connected and that is an important contribution to the Women’s National Team Program.”
Beyond the U-20 tournament, the Concacaf Women’s Under-17 Championship runs April 19 to May 3 and the Concacaf Girls’ Under-15 Championship takes place in early August. The 2020 Concacaf Women’s Under-17 Championship will feature up to seven matches across 15 days after which three Concacaf nations will qualify for the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup India 2020. To date, Canada have qualified for seven FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cups since 2002 and all six FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cups since 2008. Just last year, Canada finished fourth at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Uruguay 2018.
1- GK- Anna Karpenko | CAN / Super REX Ontario
2- F- Caleigh Boeckx | USA / Rice University
3- W- Léonie Portelance | CAN / AS Varennes
4- M- Marika Guay | USA / Santa Clara University
5- CB- Jade Rose | CAN / Super REX Ontario
6- CB- Joanna Verzosa-Dolezal | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC Girls Elite Super REX
7- M- Mya Jones | USA / University of Memphis
8- FB- Emma Regan | USA / University of Texas at Austin
9- F- Tanya Boychuk | CAN / University of Memphis
10- M- Maya Ladhani | CAN / Super REX Ontario
10- M- Jazmine Wilkinson | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC Girls Elite Super REX
11- F- Kaila Novak | USA / UCLA
12- M- Caitlin Shaw | USA / University of Oregon
13- CB- Samantha Chang | USA / University of South Carolina
14- M- Lara Kazandjian | USA / University of Memphis
15- CB- Molly Quarry | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC Girls Elite Super REX
16- CB- Sonia Walk | CAN / Super REX Ontario
17- F- Andersen Williams | USA / Vancouver Whitecaps FC Girls Elite Super REX
18- M- Wayny Balata | CAN / CS Lakeshore
20- GK- Kayza Massey | USA / West Virginia University