Home Global Game CONCACAF Fleming: U-17 squad going to World Cup “found its form and character in Panama”

Fleming: U-17 squad going to World Cup “found its form and character in Panama”

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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.

Davies was one of two American-born teens with Canadian passports who Fleming invited to an August camp in Canada (CLICK HERE). Davies’ father is Canadian. Also invited to camp was Matt Greer, a forward with the Philadelphia Union’s youth setup. In the end, Davies got the call to come to the World Cup.

Fleming said Davies was told that, in order to make the team “you have to come in and be better.”

But Fleming said he couldn’t ignore that Davies works under the watchful eye of FCD’s technical director, Fernando Clavijo — and that Dallas offers one of the best youth programs in North America. Clavijo was a right back in his time with the U.S. national team and as a professional playing in Uruguay and the NASL. So, Clavijo can offer Davies some specific insights into the position. “It’s a good program, good environment,” Fleming said.

Fleming admitted that each of the 23 other teams at the World Cup wants to have Canada in their groups. “That’s they way it is” until Canada can start showing some results internationally. But he has said key progress has been made in the youth ranks. All four of Canada’s professional-team academies — Toronto FC, Whitecaps, Montreal Impact and FC Edmonton — have players on the roster. More kids in the U-17 program are attached to pro academies than ever before.

“Not all of them are playing in professional environments, but most of them are. And that’s a good sign.”

As well, unlike the Canadian senior program, the U-17s proved in Panama that they could score goals. Andrew Gordon and Jordan Hamilton were opportunistic in the area, winning headers and being able to capitalize on second-chances. And FC Edmonton midfielder Hanson Boakai, who at 16 years of age became the youngest player to ever play in NASL (modern or previous incarnation), will likely have a free role to create in the final third. His crack from distance against Costa Rica was Canada’s goal of the CONCACAF tournament.

Fleming said he and Canadian technical director Tony Fonseca want to ensure that Canadian kids are playing with the ball on the ground.

“We want to play football. We don’t want to whack it and get on the end of other things.”

And, Fleming believes in giving someone like Boakai free reign when the ball is in the opponent’s end.

“In the final third, I’ll give them the liberty,” he said.

CANADA ROSTER
GK- Marco Carducci | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency
GK- Christian Kaiswatum | CAN / Edmonton FC Academy
GK- Daniel Milton | ENG / Blackpool FC
CB- Alex Comsia | FRA / Stade Lavallois Mayenne FC
CB- Mathieu Laurent | CAN / Mississauga
CB- Elias Roubos | CAN / Toronto FC Academy
FB- Kevon Black | CAN / Toronto FC Academy
FB- Eric Davies | USA / FC Dallas Academy
FB- Aron Mkungilwa | CAN / Académie Impact Montréal
M- Hanson Boakai | CAN / FC Edmonton
M- Adam Bouchard | URU / Defensor Sporting Club
M- Marco Bustos | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency
M- Mikaël Cantave | FRA / Union Sportive de la Jeanne d’Arc
M- Matthew Chow | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency
M- Marco-Leonel Dominguez | CAN / Braves d’Ahuntsic U-16
M- Kianz Gonzales-Froese | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency
M- Jordan Haynes | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency
M- Jose Lopez | CAN / FC Edmonton Reserves
M- Ali Musse | CAN / WSA North Stars
M- Derick Sequeira | CAN / Toronto FC Academy
M- Nevello Yoseke | CAN / Académie Impact Montréal
F- Andrew Gordon | CAN / Woodbridge Strikers
F- Jordan Hamilton | CAN / Toronto FC Academy
F- El Mehdi Ibn Brahim | CAN / Braves d’Ahuntsic

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