Canada’s Men’s U-18 Team has returned home after three quality performances against three top European and South American programs.
The team was in a four-team tournament in Limoges, FRA and come back after picking up draws against France and Uruguay, while losing a close game to Ukraine.
“We went in with 20 players having not played an international match in 6 months – 5 completely new players to the international scene and 10 changes from April,” said Head Coach Rob Gale.
“Not one of our players is on a senior professional contract so although some are in good environments we have no full time pros- some 5 or 6 of ours are in part time environments.”
After four days of training, Canada opened the competition on Wednesday 8 October against a strong French side and went into the half down a goal. But the team came out in the second half and was just about equal in possession and saw David Choinière finish off a nice passing play with Luca Uccello and Canada came away with a 1:1 draw.
Two days later, Canada was again strong against Ukraine. A Noah Cunningham goal tied the game as the teams were level at 1:1 at halftime. Unfortunately some late mistakes cost Canada and they went down to a 3:1 loss.
The team rebounded well and finished on a good note on Sunday 12 October with a 1:1 draw with Uruguay. The Uruguayans were coming off a 3:1 win over France but Canada got a goal by Thomas Giguère as he got on the end of a Choinière free kick.
So despite failing to register a victory, this team showed they’re right in the mix with some elite teams as they prepare for their age group’s time to attempt to qualify for a FIFA U-20 World Cup in 2017.
“We have shown mental character, terrific attacking intent and a great brand of possession soccer now we must not be content with just matching top level opponents but finding ways to beat them,” said Gale.