Chris Serban

VANCOUVER – CIS and Canada West men’s soccer Rookie of the Year Chris Serban has earned another significant honour: the privilege of representing his country on the international stage.

Serban, a 5-foot-10 defender from Calgary, is one of 18 players who have been selected to Canada’s Men’s Under-20 squad for a series of high profile games in Europe in preparation for the 2015 CONCACAF Under-20 Championship in January. The Sauder School of Business student was named the top first-year player in the CIS on November 5 after claiming the Canada West honours on October 30.

“This is the icing on the cake for Chris after an outstanding year, and you’d be hard pressed to find a more hard working and deserving individual,” said UBC head coach Mike Mosher. “Early in the calendar year he made the Vancouver Whitecaps Residency team, then he landed a spot in our program, where he played almost every minute and won Canada West and CIS Rookie of the Year awards; not a bad year! We wish him and the team the best of success with the upcoming games in England and Spain.”

Serban is the only CIS player on the roster for this European trip and is just one of two university-based competitors who have been selected.

He and the rest of the Canadian team will face England in Bournemouth before travelling to Marballa, Spain for matches against Russia and the United States.

“First and foremost, a game against England in England is, from my point of view, as big a game as it gets,” said Canada U-20 head coach Rob Gale. “It’s great for the lads. And then we get to travel into Spain to play Russia and the United States who are the benchmark in CONCACAF along with Mexico.”

The Canadian team arrives in England on Sunday, November 9 before getting into training the next two days. They’ll take on England at Dean Court in Bournemouth on Wednesday, November 12 before heading to Spain the following day. The games against Russia and USA take place on November 15 and November 18, respectively.

With the CONCACAF Under-20 Championship fast approaching, Gale says there still is a lot of competition for his squad and that he’s pleased with the depth at his disposal. This is by no means a final squad but a glimpse of the potential in the Canadian system.

“We have good competition for places,” said Gale. “By no means is anyone guaranteed to make the starting XI with the competition we have so this camp is going to be an excellent test for the players with the opposition but also a chance for them to show that they can compete and take those spots going into January.”

Canada will open the CONCACAF Under-20 Championship in Montego Bay, Jamaica, against Haiti on Saturday, January 10. Their other matches will be against Mexico, El Salvador, Cuba and Honduras as they look for one of four spots open to CONCACAF for the FIFA U-20 World Cup New Zealand 2015.

GK- Marco Carducci | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC
GK- Nolan Wirth | USA / Oregon State University
D- Samuel Adekugbe | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC
D- Marko Aleksic | CAN / FC Edmonton
D- Alexander Comsia | FRA / RC Strasbourg
D- Luca Gasparotto | SCO / Rangers FC (on loan at Airdrieonians)
D- Jordan Haynes | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency
D- Chris Serban | CAN / University of British Columbia
M- Manny Aparicio | CAN / Toronto FC
M- Louis Béland-Goyette | CAN / Impact de Montréal
M- Hanson Boakai | CAN / FC Edmonton
M- Marco Bustos | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC
M- Dylan Carreiro | SCO / Dundee FC (on loan at Arbroath)
M- Kianz Froese | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC
M- Jérémy Gagnon-Laparé | CAN / Impact de Montréal
M- Michael Petrasso | ENG / Queens Park Rangers (on loan at Notts County)
F- Sadi Jalali | CAN / FC Edmonton
F- Jordan Hamilton | CAN / Toronto FC (on loan at C.D. Trofense)

– with files from Gavin Day (Canadian Soccer Association)