Eight MLS players included in Canada's U-23 roster for upcoming friendlies

Maxime Crepeau - Olympic Qualifying - Mexico - Canada - U23s

A group of college-age Canadians is heading to the Caribbean next week—but this is no vacation.

On Monday, the Canadian Soccer Association released its 18-player roster for the Under-23 national team’s upcoming 10-day training camp, which will include friendlies against the senior teams of Guyana (May 15, in Georgetown, Guyana) and Grenada (May 18, in St. George’s, Grenada).

With the camp not falling on a FIFA international window, the squad is comprised mostly of domestic youngsters looking to break through with senior teams at the top level. Thirteen of the 18 players are currently with an MLS team or a USL team with an MLS affiliation.

Four of the remaining five have prior experience with an MLS club or its academy, while 21-year-old center back Luca Gasparotto signed with Glasgow Rangers as a teenager, and has a wealth of experience with Canada’s youth teams.

Some other notable names include goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau (pictured above), who stole the show in his debut for the senior national team back in February, and midfielder Richie Laryea, picked seventh overall in this year’s MLS SuperDraft by Orlando City SC.

The camp runs from May 10-19, and will be helmed by Canadian senior team assistant coach Michael Findlay, with assistance from U-20 national team head coach Rob Gale.

“These matches will present us with another opportunity ‎to introduce new players to the men's national team program,” said Findlay.

Those youngsters will be gunning for spots on the senior team roster next month, when Canada play friendlies against Azerbaijan (June 3) and Uzbekistan (June 7), ahead of a fate-deciding pair of World Cup qualifiers in September.

Canada roster

GOALKEEPERS (2)Marco Carducci (Vancouver Whitecaps); Maxime Crepeau (FC Montreal)

DEFENDERS (6): Chris Serban (Vancouver Whitecaps II); Jeremy Gagnon-Lapare (FC Montreal); Jordan Murrell (Pittsburgh Riverhounds); Luca Gasparotto (Glasgow Rangers/Scotland); Skylar Thomas (Toronto FC II); Brandon John (Seattle Sounders II)

MIDFIELDERS (7)Louis Beland-Goyette (FC Montreal); Chris Mannella (Toronto FC II); Ben McKendry (Vancouver Whitecaps); Ben Fisk (Deportivo la Coruna B/Spain); Richmond Laryea (Orlando City B); Mark-Anthony Kaye (Louisville City FC); Manuel Aparicio (unattached)

FORWARDS (3)Jordan Hamilton (Toronto FC II); Caleb Clarke (SpVgg Unterhaching/Germany); Raheem Edwards (Toronto FC II)