Canada’s Men’s U-20 Team will be rolling into Jamaica for January’s 2015 CONCACAF U-20 Championships riding a wave of confidence after a successful European tour that saw them register two wins and a draw against quality opposition.
Head Coach Rob Gale will be hoping to get Canada back to the FIFA U-20 World Cup for the first time since 2007 and there will be no shortage of belief after the team’s recent performances: they fought back twice to salvage a 2:2 draw with England before registering a 2:1 win over Russia’s U-21 team and a 1:0 win over USA.
“I am tremendously proud of all the staff and players after going undefeated in our tour in Europe, winning the tournament in two games and putting in back to back to back high level performances against top level opposition,” said Gale. “They all responded for each game and showed that with the bravery to want to play the game in the right way and a spirit and togetherness, we are a match for anybody.”
Playing in Bournemouth, ENG, on 12 November, Canada went down twice and each time they pulled a goal back. Michael Petrasso leveled the game the first time and after going down late in the game, Jordan Hamilton scored in second half stoppage time to shock the home crowd.
The team then moved onto Marbella, ESP where they played Russia on 15 November. Canada earned penalties in consecutive minutes. Hamilton and Marco Bustos converted them and after conceding a penalty of their own, Canada held on for a 2:1 win.
On 18 November, team captain Dylan Carreiro scored five minutes in and Canada hung on for another big win, this time over CONCACAF foes USA.
Qualifying in January will be another battle altogether, but Canada’s in great shape heading in.
“We know that the challenges of a CONCACAF Championship/FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign are totally different,” said Gale. “But we have a belief about us and confidence in the group we have harnessed over the last three years which will stand us in good stead for the upcoming challenges we will face and we will relish the opportunity.”
Canada M20 will play out of Group B in the 12-team 2015 CONCACAF Under-20 Championship tournament 9-24 January in Jamaica, alongside Cuba, El Salvador, Mexico, Honduras, and Haiti in a group based in Montego Bay.