It looks the Canadian kids are in for a bit of a learning experience.
On Friday, the Canadian Soccer Association released the 22-man roster for the men’s national team’s friendly against Colombia on Oct. 14 – and head coach Benito Floro will be relying heavily upon the youngsters for this matchup.
A college star and a NASL star are among the 22-man squad called up by Floro.
UConn standout Cyle Larin, a player who is expected to be a high draft pick in next year's SuperDraft, and Hanson Boakai, a 17-year-old from FC Edmonton, received call-ups for the friendly against the South Americans at Red Bull Arena.
“The game will be a very interesting test for us as we need to see our competitive level and our spirit against top teams,” said Floro in a news release. “We have youth players with us and I want to show and teach these players how to play in the first team.”
Midfielders Manny Aparicio and Kyle Bekker, defender Doneil Henry, and goalkeeper Quillan Roberts are the Toronto FC contingent that will join them. Three Montreal Impact players were also called in: defenders Jeremy Gagnon-Lapare and Karl Ouimette and midfielder Issey Nakajima-Farran.
The 17-year-old Boakai has impressed for both FC Edmonton and for Canada at the 2013 Under-17 World Cup. But this camp represents his first call-up to the senior national team, and Floro’s first chance to work directly with him.
Also in the team is 19-year-old Luca Gasparotto, a defender who has scored goals in two straight weeks for Airdrieonians FC on loan from Rangers, and is also looking to earn his first cap for the senior national side.
Milan Borjan, a goalkeeper for Ludogorets, will also join the squad. He recently started a game against Liverpool in the UEFA Champions League.
Canada, currently sitting at No. 120 in the FIFA rankings, are in all likelihood going to be in for a massive challenge against the No. 3-ranked Colombians, coming off of an appearance in the World Cup quarterfinals in Brazil.
But with the game having only been announced last week, and Canada with nearly nothing to lose by agreeing to the match – a loss is the same as not playing at all, as far as FIFA points are concerned – Floro’s troops will, if nothing else, gain the sort of game experience that could never be replicated on any training ground.
“My goal for this match against Colombia is to prepare the team and continue to improve how we press our opponents,” Floro said in the release. “We need to improve a lot in these situations.”
The team will start camp in Cancun, Mexico before making the trip across the border to the US.
Roster By Position:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Lars Hirschfeld (Valeranga/Norway), Milan Borjan (Ludogorets Razgrad/Bulgaria), Quillan Roberts (Toronto FC)
DEFENDERS (7): Nik Ledgerwood (Energie Cottbus/Germany), Jeremy Gagnon-Lapare (Montreal Impact), Andre Hainault (VfR Aalen/Germany), Doneil Henry (Toronto FC), Adam Straith (unattached), Karl Ouimette (Montreal Impact), Luca Gasaparotto (Rangers/Scotland)
MIDFIELDERS (9): David Edgar (Birmingham City/England), Julian de Guzman (unattached), Pedro Pacheco (Santa Clara/Portugal), Kyle Bekker (Toronto FC), Manny Aparicio (Toronto FC), Issey Nakajima-Farran (Montreal Impact), Marcel de Jong (Augsburg/Germany), Dylan Carreiro (Dundee/Scotland), Hanson Boakai (FC Edmonton)
FORWARDS (3): Tosaint Ricketts (Hapoel Haifa/Israel), Cyle Larin (University of Connecticut), Marcus Haber (Crewe Alexandra/England)