Canada M23 picks players for CONCACAF Olympic Qualifiers

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With a spot to Rio 2016 on the line, Canada has selected 20 young players that will represent the country at the 2015 CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifiers in October.

The players, all born 1993 or later, will fight for one of three potential spots to next year’s Olympic Football Tournament in Brazil.Only eight nations remain in the hunt from the CONCACAF region, with the qualification tournament scheduled from 1 to 13 October. The top two nations at this tournament will qualify for Rio 2016 while the third-best team will advance to an intercontinental playoff against Colombia to be played at a later date.”The Olympics come along once every four years, so it is very important for the players and countries,” said Canada’s Olympic coach Benito Floro. “We have a good group of players and we are going to work hard to achieve a spot in Brazil.”The eight CONCACAF finalists have been divided into two groups, with the top-two teams in each group advancing to the semi-final stage. In Group A action, Canada faces USA (1 October), Panama (3 October), and Cuba (6 October). By advancing to the semi-finals on 10 October, Canada could face Group B opponent either Costa Rica, Haiti, Honduras, or Mexico.As for Canada’s opponents, CONCACAF is scheduled to announce all tournament rosters early next week. Per competition regulations, every roster must feature three goalkeepers and 17 outfield players.While the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifiers must feature players 22 or younger (they will be 23 years or younger in 2016), next year’s roster at the Rio 2016 Olympic Football Tournament can feature three players of any age.From Canada’s group, all but one player has previously appeared in a Canadian youth camp, with professional Mark-Anthony Kaye the lone debutant. The 19 other players have totaled more than 2,000 cumulative days in the Canadian youth program.Additionally, 14 of those players have dressed for Canada’s national “A” squad, from which six have featured in international matches. Midfielder Samuel Piette is the most experienced with 19 appearances for Canada’s Men’s National Team, including matches at the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup and during the current cycle of FIFA World Cup Qualifiers.Of note, all five Canadian professional teams have players featured in the squad – Vancouver Whitecaps FC, FC Edmonton, Toronto FC, Ottawa Fury FC, and Montréal Impact. Ten of the 14 players have also dressed in the annual Amway Canadian Championship.

The Rio 2016 Olympic Games will feature both a men’s and women’s football competition in August 2016. The 16-nation Men’s Olympic Football Tournament runs 3-20 August with seven nations already qualified (Brazil, Argentina, Fiji, Denmark, Germany, Portugal and Sweden).CANADA
1- GK- Maxime Crépeau | CAN / Impact Montréal
2- FB- Johnny Grant | CAN / FC Montréal
3- FB- Mark-Anthony Kaye | CAN / Toronto FC II
4- CB- Jackson Farmer | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2
5- CB- Luca Gasparotto | SCO / Greenock Morton FC
6- M- Chris Mannella | CAN / Toronto FC
7- M- Mauro Eustáquio | CAN / Ottawa Fury FC
8- M- Jay Chapman | CAN / Toronto FC
9- F- Anthony Jackson-Hamel | CAN / Impact Montréal
10- F- Caleb Clarke | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC
11- M- Jérémy Gagnon-Laparé | CAN / Impact Montréal
12- GK- Quillan Roberts | CAN / Toronto FC
13- M- Michael Petrasso | ENG / Queens Park Rangers
14- M- Samuel Piette | ESP / Deportivo La Coruña
15- M- Ben Fisk | ESP / Deportivo La Coruña B
16- M- Molham Babouli | CAN / Toronto FC II
17- M- Hanson Boakai | CAN / FC Edmonton
18- GK- Ricky Gomes | POR / Sport Clube de Mirandela
19- CB- Skylar Thomas | CAN / Toronto FC II
20- M- Dylan Carreiro | SCO / Arbroath