Canada Soccer have announced their official 23-man squad for the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup, the biennial confederation championship that runs 7-26 July across 14 cities in the United States. Head coach Octavio Zambrano has selected the squad that will meet in Alliston, ON this 28 June for a pre-tournament camp ahead of the opening match in Harrison, NJ on 7 July.
“We have a dynamic team that has speed and offensive weapons,” said Octavio Zambrano, Canada Soccer’s Men’s National Team Head Coach. “We have a balance between offence and defence. We want to go forward and have a high tempo, but we also have to make sure we have the defenders that are up to the task in our end.”
The CONCACAF Gold Cup is the official national team championship of the confederation. Drawing large crowds and millions of television viewers from across the region, the CONCACAF Gold Cup is a celebration of soccer, sportsmanship, and culture. Canada will play their group matches on 7 July against French Guiana in Harrison, on 11 July against Costa Rica in Houston, and on 14 July against Honduras in Frisco just outside Dallas.
Canada’s squad has a mix of youth and experience as well as a mix of players attached to clubs in North America, Europe, and South America. With 10 players selected from four Canadian clubs, this year’s Canada squad has the most domestic-based players since the inaugural edition of the CONCACAF Gold Cup in 1991.
Of the nine players with previous CONCACAF Gold Cup experience, Marcel de Jong (Vancouver Whitecaps FC) is making his fifth appearance while Patrice Bernier (Impact Montréal FC) and Tosaint Ricketts (Toronto FC) are both making their fourth appearances. The six players making their third CONCACAF Gold Cup appearances are Milan Borjan, Dejan Jaković, Jonathan Osorio, Samuel Piette, Adam Straith, and Russell Teibert.
“It is important that we put forth a good performance at the CONCACAF Gold Cup to show that we have good players and that we have a strong future ahead of the next cycle of FIFA World Cup Qualifiers,” said Canada midfielder Samuel Piette.
Of those nine returning players, Piette is the youngest at age 22. He made his international debut at age 17 in 2012 and then became Canada’s second youngest CONCACAF Gold Cup player at age 18 in 2013.
Of the 14 debutants, Alphonso Davies could become Canada’s youngest player to feature in a CONCACAF Gold Cup match. On 13 June of this year, he became Canada’s youngest-ever international at age 16 in a 2:1 win over Curaçao. Davies is the youngest player in the squad, followed by Raheem Edwards and Michael Petrasso who both turn 22 during this summer’s competition.
Notable debutants are Scott Arfield of Burnley FC in England, Junior Hoilett of Cardiff City FC in Wales, Jayson Leutwiler of Shrewsbury Town FC in England, and Steven Vitória of Lechia Gdańsk in Poland. All four are 27-30 years old and have plenty of professional experience.
Alongside Davies, Edwards, and Petrasso, other CONCACAF Gold Cup debutants in the squad are Samuel Adekugbe, Fraser Aird, Lucas Cavallini, Maxime Crépeau, Anthony Jackson-Hamel, Manjrekar James, and Mark-Anthony Kaye.
CONCACAF GOLD CUP
Taking place every two years, the CONCACAF Gold Cup is the official national team championship of North America, Central America and the Caribbean. Drawing large crowds and millions of television viewers from across the region, the Gold Cup is a celebration of soccer, sportsmanship, and culture.
Canada are two-time CONCACAF champions, having won the CONCACAF Championship in 1985 and the CONCACAF Gold Cup 2000. Since the first edition of the CONCACAF Gold Cup in 1991, Canada’s best finishes are first place in 2000 and semi-final finishes in 2002 and 2007.