Coach Sean Fleming made a couple of significant additions to the core of his U-17 national squad, but warned that anyone who wasn’t with the team when it played at the CONCACAF Championships in Panama will need to do a heck of a job.
On Thursday, the Canadian Soccer Association released a list of 24 players who will represent Canada at this October’s U-17 World Cup. Of the 24, 21 are on the proper roster, while three are alternates. While FIFA has been notified which three players are alternates, who can only play in order to replace an injured member of the main roster, Fleming wouldn’t reveal which three were on the outside of the bubble.
Fleming will take the Canadian squad for a pre-World Cup camp in the United Arab Emirates, which begins October 5. Canada will begin the tournament in Dubai on Oct. 19, with a match against Austria. Canada will also face Iran and Argentina.
And it will be interesting to see if FC Dallas fullback Eric Davies and Vancouver Whitecaps Residency midfielder Kianz Gonzales-Froese (who also spent time with FC Edmonton) can make it into the roster. Gonzales-Froese missed the CONCACAF Championships in Panama due to injury. The midfielder competed for his native Cuba — he was born in Havana, raised in Winnipeg — in the previous U-17 championship cycle, but is legal to play for Canada in the UAE.
But Fleming warned that the Whitecaps’ Cuban-Canadian won’t have it easy. He’ll have to win a job. After all, the squad that went to Panama achieved its goal of making it to the World Cup.
“The squad found its form and character in Panama,” Fleming said.
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