The 46th edition of the Festival International Espoirs Provence kicks off this weekend and Canada have their sights set on their opening Monday match against Portugal. Canada are one of 12 nations competing in the 2018 tournament with matches to be played from 26 May to 9 June in France.
Throughout the competition, fans can follow the Canadian team across Canada Soccer’s digital channels including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
“Canada are happy to be participating in this prestigious youth tournament, in France,” said John Herdman, Canada Soccer’s Men’s National Team Head Coach and Men’s National EXCEL Director. “This is an important development opportunity for our young players as they continue along the pathway representing Canada’s Men’s National Team in international soccer.”
Canada will face Portugal, Turkey and Japan in Group C of the 2018 tournament. The 46th edition of the tournament also features England, China PR, Mexico, and Qatar in Group A as well as France, Korea Republic, Scotland, and Togo in Group B. Canada’s three group matches are 28 June (Portugal), 31 May (Turkey), and 3 June (Japan).
Canada have a promising group of young players who will benefit from the international experience at the tournament in France. It’s an important opportunity for these players as they continue their development towards contributing to a successful Men’s National Team Program.
“This is a prestigious youth tournament in France that will provide our tracking Men’s EXCEL players with an opportunity to be fully tested against tier-one opponents,” said Herdman. “We will use these matches to assess the current EXCEL group as we prepare for upcoming Concacaf youth competitions. The matches will also help identify a group of young players to be targeted for closer monitoring and tracking as we look to the future of our Men’s National Team program.”
Canada are looking ahead to the next Men’s National Team matches in 2018-19 Concacaf Nations League, and also to the next Concacaf Men’s Under-20 Championship which will serve as the qualification route for the FIFA U-20 World Cup Poland 2019. More than half the squad for this tournament in France are born 1999 or later and are thus eligible for those upcoming U-20 competitions. All players are also eligible for the next Olympic Qualifiers ahead of Tokyo 2020.