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.
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