Canada Soccer have announced their roster for the 2017 CONCACAF Men's Under-20 Championship. Coach Rob Gale has selected 20 players for the international competition that runs 17 February to 5 March in San José, Costa Rica.
Nine of the 20 players - nearly half the squad - are League1 Ontario alumni.
The 12-nation CONCACAF Men's Under-20 Championship equally serves as the qualification route for the FIFA U-20 World Cup Korea Republic 2017. Only four CONCACAF nations will qualify for the biennial event, which runs this 20 May to 11 June.
Canada will kick off against Honduras on 17 February in San José, Costa Rica. Canada will also face Mexico (20 February) as well as Antigua & Barbuda (23 February) in a difficult group that will advance only two nations to the second round.
"These are the tests you want for your players (because) you want to expose them to tough matches so they can learn as they develop towards the Men's National Team," said Rob Gale, Canada Soccer's Men's National U-20 Team Coach. "At this level, there are no easy games, so it is vital that we get our moments right and they get the performances we need on the day."
From the six nations that advance into the second round, four qualify for the FIFA U-20 World Cup Korea Republic 2017, while the top two play for the CONCACAF Men's Under-20 Championship trophy on 5 March.
Canada's 20-man squad features players currently attached to clubs in nine different countries, including Canadian clubs Vancouver Whitecaps FC, Toronto FC, and Impact Montréal FC. Players from those three Canadian clubs are: Vancouver's Kadin Chung and Thomas Hasal; Toronto's Dante Campbell, Aidan Daniels, Liam Fraser, Shaan Hundal, and Luca Uccello; and Montréal's Thomas Meilleur-Giguère.
Eight players are attached to clubs from six countries in Europe: Liam Millar (Liverpool), Kosovar Sadiki (Stoke City), and Kris Twardek (Millwall) in England; Zachary Brault-Guillard (Olympique Lyonnais) in France; Gabriel Boakye (Energie Cottbus) in Germany; Emmanuel Zambazis (Iraklis 1908) in Greece; Tristan Borges (sc Heerenveen) in Netherlands; and Dario Zanatta (Heart of Midlothian) in Scotland.
Also featured in the squad, Diego Gutierrez (CD Palestino) arrives from Chile while Kamal Miller (Syracuse), Aymar Sigue (Penn State), and Dayne St. Clair (Maryland) all arrive from universities in USA.
Alongside their time with clubs, all 20 players have experience in Canada Soccer's Men's EXCEL Program. By the time Canada faces Honduras on the opening day, this group will have accumulated more than 1,400 days in national youth camps. Six of those players will have accumulated more than 100 camp days in the program: Boakye, Borges, Campbell, Chung, Meilleur-Giguère, and Uccello.
Fourteen of the 20 players will be making their debut in a CONCACAF youth tournament, while six players participated at the 2015 CONCACAF Men's Under-17 Championship in Honduras. Those six players are Boakye, Borges, Campbell, Chung, Daniels, and Sadiki.
All 20 players also have international experience playing in CONCACAF away from home at the U-20 level, with everyone have playing an international match away in Central America.
Outside the group of 20 players, Canada's three standby players (in case of injury) are Matthew Constant, Marcus Godinho, and Dayonn Harris. Unavailable for selection through injury were David Choinière, Philip Di Bennardo, James Pantemis, and Shamit Shome.
Canada Soccer's Men's EXCEL Program channels our nation's exceptional players into the best soccer environments. The Canada Soccer Pathway works in collaboration with our provincial and territorial partners as well as the professional clubs and academies. For Canada's elite players, the program emphasizes player development on the pathway to representing Canada's Men's National Team in international soccer.
CONCACAF Men's Under-20 Championship
Canada's all-time results at the CONCACAF Men's Under-20 Championship since 1973 (all-time record 47 win, 19 draws, 29 losses). Canada won CONCACAF titles in 1986 and 1996 and have qualified for eight FIFA U-20 World Cups.
Canada's Rank & Host Nation
4th place at Mexico 1973
4th place at Canada 1974
5th place at Puerto Rico 1976
2nd place at Honduras 1978 (qualified for Japan 1979)
3rd place at USA 1980
5th place at Guatemala 1982
2nd place at Trinidad and Tobago 1984 (qualified for USSR 1985)
1st place at Trinidad and Tobago 1986 (qualified for Chile 1987)
6th place at Guatemala 1988
5th place at Guatemala 1990
3rd place at Canada 1992
3rd place at Honduras 1994
1st place at Mexico 1996 (qualified for Malaysia 1997)
Group A 3rd place at Trinidad Tobago 1998
Group A 1st place at Canada 2001 (qualified for Argentina 2001)
Group B 1st place at USA 2002 (qualified for UAE 2003)
Group B 1st place at Honduras 2005 (qualified for Netherland 2005)
*Did not play in 2007 (already qualified as hosts of Canada 2007)
5th place at Trinidad and Tobago 2009
7th place at Guatemala 2011
6th place at Mexico 2013
9th place at Jamaica 2015
*League1 alumni in bold
1- GK- Dayne St. Clair | USA / University of Maryland
2- FB- Zachary Brault-Guillard | FRA / Olympique Lyonnais
3- FB- Gabriel Boakye | GER / Energie Cottbus U-19
4- CB- Kosovar Sadiki | ENG / Stoke City U-23
5- CB- Thomas Meilleur-Giguère | CAN / Impact Montréal FC
6- M- Liam Fraser | CAN / Toronto FC II
7- M- Diego Gutiérrez | CHI / CD Palestino
8- F- Luca Uccello | CAN / Toronto FC II
9- F- Dario Zanatta | SCO / Heart of Midlothian FC
10- M- Tristan Borges | NED / sc Heerenveen
11- W- Kris Twardek | ENG / Millwall FC
12- F- Shaan Hundal | CAN / Toronto FC II
13- M- Dante Campbell | CAN / Toronto FC II
14- M- Aidan Daniels | CAN / Toronto FC II
15- CB / FB- Kamal Miller | USA / Syracuse University
16- CM- Emmanuel Zambazis | GRE / Iraklis 1908 FC
17- F- Aymar Sigue | USA / Penn State University
18- GK- Thomas Hasal | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-18 Residency
19- F- Liam Millar | ENG / Liverpool FC U-18
20- FB / RW- Kadin Chung | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2