Canada Soccer have announced their squad for the upcoming January 2021 Men’s National Team camp presented by Allstate. The preparatory camp, scheduled to take place in a closed setting in Bradenton, FL, USA at the IMG Center, has been set outside the FIFA calendar and will provide Canada one last opportunity to connect on the pitch before FIFA World Cup™ Qualifiers are scheduled to begin in March 2021.
The January camp marks an exciting return for Canada Soccer’s Men’s National Team ahead of an important 2021 season. As always, Canada Soccer will continue to closely monitor all Covid-19 developments in consultation with the Public Health Agency of Canada and relevant governing bodies through the Canada Soccer Sport Medicine Committee to ensure the safety of all players and staff. Additional details on the camp will be announced in early January.
“As a step towards FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, the January camp provides our Men’s National Team with an opportunity to re-immerse the group both tactically and culturally towards competitive matches in March,” said John Herdman, Canada Soccer’s Men’s National Team Head Coach. “As this is the first time we will be on the pitch with some players in over a year, it will be important to focus on performances as we build towards the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
As the camp falls outside the FIFA international calendar, player selection primarily features out-of-season players from teams in Canada and USA, including a number of young players that will take part in their first Men’s National Team camp. The camp will feature two training scrimmages as well as a Canada intra-squad scrimmage, all of which will provide Canada with an important opportunity to test several players who won’t be cap-tied at the international “A” level while also preparing the wider group for FIFA World Cup™ Qualifiers as well as Concacaf Olympic Qualifiers in March.
With a busy 2021 international schedule that features FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, Concacaf Men’s Olympic Qualifying and the Concacaf Gold Cup, Canada Soccer’s Men’s National Team will need to balance a large group of players across the different competitions. Looking ahead to Concacaf Round One in FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, Canada will host Bermuda at home on Thursday 25 March and then travel away to face Cayman Islands on Sunday 28 March. In the next window, Canada will travel to Aruba to play on Saturday 5 June and then return home to host Suriname on Tuesday 8 June. Details including match times and locations will be announced at a later date.
The Canada camp features a mix of established stars and young players, including 11 players who have earned their first-ever call ups to the Men’s National Team. Veterans include Mark-Anthony Kaye of Los Angeles FC, Lucas Cavallini and Maxime Crépeau of Vancouver Whitecaps FC, Richie Laryea and Jonathan Osorio of Toronto FC, Samuel Piette of the Impact de Montréal, Tesho Akindele of Orlando City SC, and Samuel Adekugbe of Vålerenga Fotball in Norway.
Marco Bustos of Pacific FC in the Canadian Premier League earned his first call up since 2017 while Joel Waterman, who moved from Cavalry FC to Montréal in 2020, earned his first call up at any level. Bustos has made six appearances at the international “A” level while Waterman is a former member of Canada Soccer’s National Training Centre Program in British Columbia.
There are 18 players born 1997 or later, thus also making them eligible for the upcoming 2021 Concacaf Olympic Qualifying Championship. Amongst the more experienced players in this group are Derek Cornelius of Vancouver Whitecaps FC, Liam Fraser of Toronto FC, and Zachary Brault-Guillard, Kamal Miller and James Pantemis of the Impact de Montréal. Other young players who have had previous call ups to the Men’s National Team are Toronto’s Jayden Nelson and Noble Okello as well as Montréal’s Zorhan Bassong, all of whom made their international “A” debuts in 2020.
Alongside Waterman, the 10 other debutants are Cristián Gutiérrez of Vancouver Whitecaps FC, Dayne St. Clair of Minnesota United FC, Alistair Johnston of Nashville SC, Tajon Buchanan of New England Revolution, Ayo Akinola and Ralph Priso of Toronto FC, Theo Corbeanu of Wolverhampton Wanderers, Marcelo Flores of Arsenal FC, Belal Halbouni of SV Werder Bremen, and Frank Sturing of FC Den Bosch.
GK- Maxime Crépeau | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC
GK- James Pantemis | CAN / Impact de Montréal
GK- Dayne St. Clair | USA / Minnesota United FC
CB- Derek Cornelius | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC
CB- Belal Halbouni | GER / SV Werder Bremen II
CB- Kamal Miller | CAN / Impact de Montréal
CB- Frank Sturing | NED / FC Den Bosch
CB- Joel Waterman | CAN / Impact de Montréal
FB- Samuel Adekugbe | NOR / Vålerenga Fotball
FB- Zorhan Bassong | CAN / Impact de Montréal
FB- Zachary Brault-Guillard | CAN / Impact de Montréal
FB- Tajon Buchanan | USA / New England Revolution
FB- Cristián Gutierrez | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC
FB- Alistair Johnston | USA / Nashville SC
FB- Richie Laryea | CAN / Toronto FC
M- Tesho Akindele | USA / Orlando City SC
M- Marco Bustos | CAN / Pacific FC
M- Liam Fraser | CAN / Toronto FC
M- Mark-Anthony Kaye | USA / Los Angeles FC
M- Noble Okello | CAN / Toronto FC
M- Jonathan Osorio | CAN / Toronto FC
M- Samuel Piette | CAN / Impact de Montréal
M- Ralph Priso | CAN / Toronto FC
F- Ayo Akinola | CAN / Toronto FC
F- Lucas Cavallini | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC
F- Marcelo Flores | ENG / Arsenal U-18
F- Jayden Nelson | CAN / Toronto FC
F- Theo Corbeanu | ENG / Wolverhampton Wolves