Canada U-17s humbled in Spain, but coach sees progress

Canada U-17 head coach Sean Fleming

Photo Credit: 
Courtesy of CSA

Canada’s Under-17 national team has a better idea of where they need some work as they continue preparations for next April’s CONCACAF U-17 Championship, the tournament that doubles as qualifying for the 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup.

The Canadians picked up a win, a draw and three losses in the AGS Cup in Spain that wrapped up over the weekend. It was the second time the U-17s have assembled in preparation of qualifying after playing in a tournament in Italy and Slovenia in April.

Two MLS academy products helped Canada storm out to a 2-0 lead over Azerbaijan on Sept. 29 as Toronto FC’s Jordan Hamilton and Vancouver’s Kianz Gonzales both scored. But the Canadians couldn’t hang on as the Azerbaijanis came back to earn a draw.

Hamilton scored again the next day, however, as 10-men Canada earned a victory over Morocco. Fellow TFC Academy member Elias Roubos also scored, as did FC Edmonton reservist Hanson Boakai in the 3-2 win.

But that was as good as it got as the Canadians dropped their next three games, 3-1 to defending U-17 World Cup champions Mexico, 2-1 to the United States and 2-1 to the United Arab Emirates.

Still, the showing left head coach Sean Fleming encouraged.

“We got better each game,” he said in a statement. “We’re creating good chances in each game but we’re not finishing like we have to.”

Canada are hoping to get back to the U-17 World Cup after earning their first-ever points in the 2011 edition, when they earned ties with both England and Rwanda.