Canada will face Honduras, El Salvador and Haiti in Group B of the Concacaf Men’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament on their path to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The eight-nation tournament for the U-23 National Team provides Canada Soccer’s Men’s National Team Program with an opportunity to continue their recent success in the Concacaf region with the target of qualifying for the Men’s Olympic Football Tournament for the first time since 1984.
“The Concacaf Men’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament provides Canada with the opportunity to continue the success of an aligned Men’s National Team Program,” said Mauro Biello, Canada Soccer’s Men’s U-23 Head Coach. “This is an opportunity for our U-23 players to help Canada qualify for the Olympic Games and gain experience on their journey to the Men’s National Team.”
Canada will face El Salvador on Saturday 21 March, Haiti on Tuesday 24 March, and Honduras on Friday 27 March. The group’s top-two nations will then advance to the Concacaf Semi-finals against either Mexico, USA, Costa Rica or Dominican Republic on Monday 30 March. Only the winners of the Concacaf Semi-finals will qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and advance to the confederation final on Wednesday 1 April.
The Concacaf Men’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament is an important next step for Canada’s young players on their journey to the Men’s National Team. Only players born 1997 or later are eligible for the 2020 tournament. The competition provides players with a chance to gain valuable international experience as part of their progress to the Men’s National Team.
Through an aligned Men’s National Team Program, several of Canada’s young professional stars have already gained valuable experience with the Men’s National Team over the past few years, including 13 young players who have kicked off the 2020 season in California for a January camp that includes three international “A” matches.
In 2019, Canada reached the Quarter-finals of back-to-back Concacaf Gold Cups for the first time since 2009 and finished second in their group of the inaugural Concacaf Nations League A (tied on points with USA, but second on goals difference). Along with a historic 2:0 victory over USA in Toronto, Canada also qualified for the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup and the next season of Concacaf Nations League A. In FIFA/Coca-Cola World Rankings, Canada picked up the most ranking points of any nation in Concacaf Nations League A (19.74 points). At the youth level, Canada had top-four finishes at the Concacaf Men’s Under-17 Championship (after eliminating Costa Rica) and Concacaf Boys’ Under-15 Championship (after eliminating Mexico).
Canada Soccer’s Men’s EXCEL Program channels our nation’s exceptional players into the best soccer environments. The Canada Soccer Pathway works in collaboration with our provincial and territory partners as well as the professional clubs and academies. For Canada’s elite players, the program emphasizes player development on the pathway to representing Canada’s Men’s National Team in international soccer.