Canada Para Soccer have finished seventh at the 2016 IFCPF Qualification Tournament after closing out their tournament with a 5:0 win over Japan. From six matches in nine days – including two that went into extra time – Canada posted four wins, one draw and one loss and qualified for next year’s 2017 IFCPF World Championship in Argentina.
After three wins in the group phase in Vejen, Denmark, Canada drew 1:1 with Venezuela in the Quarterfinals, but were eliminated from medal contention after falling 2-3 on kicks from the penalty mark. Canada then lost 2:3 a.e.t to Northern Ireland before winning 5:0 over Japan.
Iran won the tournament after a 2:0 win over Scotland on the final day. Venezuela won the bronze medal after a 2:1 win over Portugal and North Ireland finished fifth after a 2:0 win over Australia.
“Overall, if you look at four wins in the tournament, it was positive, but it was disappointing to be (knocked out) by Venezuela,” said Drew Ferguson, Canada Soccer’s National Para Soccer Team Head Coach. “It was good to get a win (on Saturday) so that we can leave on a better note.”
Canada’s young captain Samuel Charron led the way with 15 goals, including hat tricks in each of the first three matches, a first in Association history. Charron, Liam Stanley and Matt Brown all scored hat tricks in the third win, another first for the Association.
“We had a very, very young team,” said Ferguson. “Sam (Charron) and Liam (Stanley) were playing far beyond their age. Hopefully all the young players gained valuable experience.”
Along with Charron (15), Stanley (eight), and Brown (five), Canada’s other goalscorers Lucas Bruno (two), Jamie Ackinclose (two before he was injured in the opening match), Nicholas Heffernan (one), Raji Kamoun (one), and Vito Proietti (one). Goalkeepers Damien Wojtiw (three) and Sam Denton (one) both posted clean sheets during the tournament.
While Dustin Hodgson, returning from injury, increased his program-leading career total to 62 international matches, Brown became the second player to reach 50 appearances (he now has 53). Dan Benoit, Sam Denton, Raj Kamoun, and Duncan McDonald all made their international debuts in Vejen.
Next year’s 2017 IFCPF World Championships in San Luis, Argentina will feature 16 nations, eight that qualified last year and eight that qualified this month in Denmark. In past editions of the IFCPF World Championships, Canada finished 10th in 2015, 12th in 2011, 9th in 2009, 12th in 2007, and 11th in 2005. The next edition takes place in 2017, with the qualification tournament in July-August 2016 in Vejen, Denmark.
Canada’s Para Soccer Team competes in several global competitions over a four-year cycle, including the International Federation of CP Football’s biennial World Championships. Canada also strives to compete in the America’s Cup, the Parapanamerican Games, and the Paralympic Games.