Canada’s roster announced for Universiade

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OTTAWA (CIS) – Canadian Interuniversity Sport announced Thursday the 20 student-athletes who will represent Canada in men’s soccer at the 2015 Summer Universiade in Gwangju, South Korea (July 3-14).

Gwangju 2015 website: www.gwangju2015.com

Team Canada website: http://english.cis-sic.ca/universiade/summer/2015/index

The Canadian roster is comprised of 18 CIS student-athletes and two from the NCAA. The team was selected following an extensive process which started last November at the CIS championship in Charlottetown. Selection camps attended by no less than 85 players followed in Halifax, Toronto, Vancouver and Edmonton.

As announced last September, Keith Mason from the University of Guelph will be Team Canada’s head coach at the 28th FISU summer games. Rounding out the support staff are assistant coaches Steve Hart from the University of Windsor and Arben Mezezi of Guelph, team leader Cam Leverman from MacEwan University, as well as athletic therapist Natalie Paladino of Guelph.

“We’re excited about the group that will represent Canada at the Universiade tournament,” said Mason, who has been at the helm of the Guelph Gryphons for 15 years. “We have players from all four CIS conferences and a nice mix of experience and players who will get their first taste of international competition.

“We’re thrilled to open the tournament against host South Korea. It will be a great experience for our student-athletes. We know we’re in a tough pool but we’re confident we can advance past the group stage and build on our solid result from two years ago in Russia.”

It will be the third tour of duty at the world university games for Mason, who was general manager of the Canadian contingent in 2003, when the Summer Universiade were first staged in South Korea (Daegu), and assistant coach under Hart in 2011 in China.

No less than four veterans are back from the squad that took seventh place at the 2013 Universiade in Kazan, Russia, including defenders Nafi Dicko-Raynauld of Laval andAlexandre Haddad of Montreal, as well as midfielders Marco Visintin of UBC and Robbie Murphy of Guelph. Murphy will be making his third FISU Games appearance as he also competed at the 2011 tourney in Shenzhen.

Waleed Cassis of Buffalo and Jay Vetsch of Alberta will be tasked with protecting the Canadian net in South Korea. They will be supported on defence by Amer Didic of Baker,Casey D’Mello of York, Bryan Fong of UBC, Lukas MacNaughton of Toronto and Justin Springer of Guelph.

Midfielders include Saskatchewan teammates Mitchell Bauche and Garrett Peters, Mount Royal’s Cody Cook, Toronto’s Kilian Elkinson, Alberta’s Tim Hickson and York’sJonathan Lao.

Ian Greedy and Justin Maheu, both of Cape Breton, and Jared Agyemang of Guelph make up the strikers’ group up front.

Maheu is the reigning CIS player of the year, while Greedy received the honour in 2011. Haddad (2011) and Lao (2013) are both former CIS rookies of the year.

Named to the first and second all-Canadian teams last fall, respectively, D’Mello and Lao completed their dream 2014 season by helping York capture the national title.

In Gwangju, Canada will battle in pool A in the preliminary round against host South Korea, Italy and Taiwan. The detailed schedule of the 16-team tournament, which will culminate on July 13 with the gold-medal final, will be released shortly.

Canada’s seventh-place finish two years ago in Kazan was the second best in program history, trailing only a historical fourth position obtained in 2007 in Bangkok. That result still stands as the best in history by a Canadian men’s team at a FIFA-sanctioned event. 

In Russia in 2013, Canada finished second in its pool with a 1-0-2 record and advanced to the quarter-finals, where the Canucks dropped a 4-1 decision to the hosts. The Red and White then lost 1-0 to Ukraine before defeating Malaysia 3-1 in the seventh-place match.

TEAM CANADA ROSTER

Position                       Name                               University                     Hometown

Goalkeeper                  Waleed Cassis                  Buffalo                          Ottawa, Ont.

Goalkeeper                  Jay Vetsch                       Alberta                           Edmonton, Alta.

Defender                     Nafi Dicko-Raynauld      Laval                             Gatineau, Que.

Defender                     Amer Didic                      Baker                             Edmonton, Alta.

Defender                     Casey D’Mello                 York                              Mississauga, Ont.

Defender                     Bryan Fong                      UBC                              Vancouver, B.C.

Defender                     Alexandre Haddad           Montreal                        Montreal, Que.

Defender                     Lukas MacNaughton        Toronto                          Brussels, Belgium

Defender                     Justin Springer                 Guelph                           Burlington, Ont.

Midfielder                   Mitchell Bauche               Saskatchewan                Saskatoon, Sask.

Midfielder                   Cody Cook                      Mount Royal                  Cranbrook, B.C.

Midfielder                   Kilian Elkinson                Toronto                          Toronto, Ont.

Midfielder                   Tim Hickson                    Alberta                           Edmonton, Alta.

Midfielder                   Jonathan Lao                   York                              Unionville, Ont.

Midfielder                   Robbie Murphy               Guelph                           Ottawa, Ont.

Midfielder                   Garrett Peters                   Saskatchewan                Regina, Sask.

Midfielder                   Marco Visintin                 UBC                              Vancouver, B.C.

Striker                         Jared Agyemang              Guelph                           Brampton, Ont.

Striker                         Ian Greedy                       Cape Breton                   Lower Sackville, N.S.

Striker                         Justin Maheu                   Cape Breton                   Gatineau, Que.

STAFF

Position                       Name                               University                     Hometown

Head Coach                Keith Mason                    Guelph                           West Bromwich, England

Assistant Coach           Steve Hart                        Windsor                         Liverpool, England

Assistant Coach           Arben Mezezi                  Guelph                           Guelph, Ont.

Team Leader               Cam Leverman                MacEwan                       Prince George, B.C.

Athletic Therapist        Natalie Paladino               Guelph                           Stoney Creek, Ont.

2015 UNIVERSIADE MEN’S SOCCER DRAW:

Pool A: South Korea, CANADA, Italy, Taiwan

Pool B: France, Ukraine, Mexico, South Africa

Pool C: Japan, Malaysia, Brazil, Iran

Pool D: Russia, Ireland, Uruguay, China

CANADA’S ALL-TIME UNIVERSIADE RESULTS IN MEN’S SOCCER:

2013 (Kazan, Russia): 7th / 15 teams

2011 (Shenzhen, China): 9th / 16

2009 (Belgrade, Serbia): 12th / 16

2007 (Bangkok, Thailand): 4th / 16

2003 (Daegu, South Korea): 15th / 16

1995 (Fukuoka, Japan): 16th / 16

1993 (Buffalo, USA): 16th / 16

1979 (Mexico City, Mexico): 12th / 24

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