It’s already been a whirlwind couple of weeks for Kyle Bekker and it’s about to get a whole lot busier.
Selected No. 3 by Toronto FC in Thursday’s MLS SuperDraft, the 22-year-old Bekker (above) headlines a youth-dominated list of players called in on Friday by interim head coach Colin Miller to Canadian national team camp, which culminates in a pair of friendlies later this month.
Alongside young MLS players like Ashtone Morgan, Doneil Henry and Russell Teibert, the 22-man squad has an average age of just younger than 25, making it the youngest Canadian senior team named in seven years.
There were a few old hands included, such as Dwayne De Rosario, Nik Ledgerwood, Lars Hirschfeld and Tosaint Ricketts – the only players on the roster who are holdovers from the Canadians’ failed 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign.
But all told, 10 players reporting to camp have received their first-ever call-up to the senior national team.
The Canadians will link up in Arizona on Jan. 19 for camp prior to the team’s first games of 2013: against Denmark on Jan. 26 in Tuscon, Ariz., and the United States in Houston on Jan. 30. Miller’s role as interim head coach will extend only through that time.
“This is an important role – this interim position – because there are still guys trying to find their feet both internationally and club-wise,” Miller former Whitecaps FC Residency coach, told reporters in a conference call on Friday. “My experience and hopefully dealing with younger players will come out here with these guys and encourage them to continue to do well and encourage them to stay fit. A big part of this group will be the man management and encouragement.”
Goalkeepers (3): Lars Hirschfeld (Vålerenga/Norway), Roberto Stillo (Genoa /Italy), Simon Thomas (unattached)
Defenders (6): Ashtone Morgan (Toronto FC), Nana Attakora (FC Haka/Finland), Dejan Jakovic (D.C. United), Doneil Henry (Toronto FC), Mason Trafford (IFK Mariehamn/Finland), Andres Fresenga (Racing Club de Montevideo/Uruguay)
Midfielders (10): Nik Ledgerwood (Hammarby/Sweden), Philippe Davies (Richmond Kickers), Terry Dunfield (Toronto FC), Kyle Bekker (Toronto FC), Russell Teibert (Vancouver Whitecaps FC), Jonathan Beaulieu-Bourgault (unattached), Dwayne De Rosario (D.C. United), Emmanuel Gomez (Club Atlético Griffa/Argentina), Matt Stinson (Toronto FC), Evan James (unattached)
Forwards (3): Tosaint Ricketts (Sandnes Ulf/Norway), Kyle Porter (FC Edmonton), Frank Jonke (FF Jaro/Finland)