Canada faces the Panamanians in the semifinals of the CONCACAF U-17 championship on Wednesday. And, even though Canada clinched a berth in the U-17 World Cup with the 4-2 quarter-final win over Jamaica, coach Sean Fleming was clear that the team’s goal is to win the confederation championship.
“We let the boys enjoy it for 48 hours,” said Fleming in a conference call on Monday. “And today it’s back to work.”
But it won’t be easy. The semifinals will be staged at the national stadium, on grass — where a large crowd is expected to support the home side. Canada’s group-stage matches and quarter-final match was staged on an unpredictable artificial surface.
Will Canada get the chance to train on grass ahead of the game? No. Fleming said they’ve been allocated a turf field. Funny that no grass fields were available. And that’s a big thing: Anyone who has trained on turf in the heat knows that not only is it harder on the knees, but it reflects the heat in a way that grass doesn’t. If it’s hot outside, it’s even hotter on the turf.
Read the rest of this entry »