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Alderson, Aleman keen for U-17 World Cup chance

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Keven Aleman and Bryce Alderson come from the junior wings of two rival Canadian franchises — Toronto FC and the Vancouver Whitecaps — but they have the same goal. To get to the U-17 World Cup.

And that’s a dream they can realize on Wednesday. Even though Canada’s match Wednesday against Trinidad and Tobago is only one of four quarter-finals in the CONCACAF U-17 championship, it has major ramifications.

All four semifinalists in the CONCACAF tournament in Jamaica book their passages to the U-17 World Cup. For Canada, which won Group D with an eight-goal rout of Barbados and a cautious 0-0 with Honduras — where five starters were rested to avoid cards and injuries — getting by Trinidad and Tobago would represent the realization of a goal that was presented to the teens when they convened for their first camp a year ago.

“The big thing is to believe in ourselves,” said reigning U-17 player of the year and Vancouver Whitecaps Residency prospect Alderson over the phone from Jamaica. “We have to make sure we give a good performance. We know that we have more than enough talent on this team to qualify, so it’s more about our own performance on Wednesday. Our coaches have watched Trinidad and Tobago a little bit. The goal for this team has always been to qualify for the World Cup. And we have the chance on Wednesday.”


“This game is huge for us,” said TFC Academy’s Aleman, who scored twice in the win over Barbados. “With one more win we can qualify for the World Cup. We have done everything we can to prepare for this match. We are doing everything we can do in training. We are eating right, sleeping well.”

Unity hasn’t been an issue for this team. Aleman and five other TFC Academy mates — keeper Xander Huggins, defender Parker Seymour, midfielder Michael Petrasso (who scored three against Honduras), forwards Dylan Carreiro and Jay Chapman — are all part of the U-17 side.

“It’s huge. I love playing with the TFC players,” said Aleman “I don’t play with them all regularly, because some of them are with the juniors. But we have a nice spirit between us.”

But, even for the non-TFC players, a year’s worth of training for this tournament has brought this group together.

“Over the last year, we’ve had camps ever month of every other month,” said Alderson. “We’ve spent a lot of time together, and there’s a lot of camaraderie in the squad.”

Canada is the only team not to have conceded a goal in the round robin. Everything is looking positive, save for the crowds in Jamaica, which have been sparse — to say the least — for the tournament.

“It’s big, because a lot of scouts are watching,” said Aleman. “For our first game, there weren’t many people in the stands but, for the second game, we played after Jamaica, so there was a few of their fans.” “

There’s not too many fans,” admitted Alderson. “Jamaica, being the home team, is more popular and they have had a few people. For us, we haven’t seen too many people at our games. But, it’s a good atmosphere. It’s not overwhelming. It’s fair for us.”

Wednesday’s game between Canada and T&T will be streamed live, for free, at CONCACAF.com. Kickoff is set for noon ET. If you’ve never streamed a match on CONCACAF’s site before, you should check in a few minutes early, as you need to create a free account to log into the video and live streaming area.

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