If Canada are to reach this summer's FIFA Under-20 World Cup, they will do so by relying on a number of players with MLS ties.
Canada's 20-man roster for this month's CONCACAF U-20 Championship was announced on Monday morning, and it includes 10 players currently playing professionally or with the academies of MLS sides Toronto FC, Montreal Impact and Vancouver Whitecaps.
Vancouver have the largest number of representatives on the roster with six: goalkeeper Marco Carducci, midfielders Kianz Froese and Marco Bustos, and defenders Sam Adekugbe, Jackson Farmer and Jordan Haynes. Goalkeeper Nolan Wirth (Oregon State) and defender Chris Serban (University of British Columbia) both participated in the Whitecaps' residency program.
Canada have been drawn in Group B of CONCACAF's U-20 tournament, which begins this Friday. They open their campaign on Saturday vs. Haiti, then proceed to play Mexico on Jan. 12, El Salvador on Jan. 15, Cuba on Jan. 19 and Honduras on Jan. 22.
The team, however, will be without Dylan Carreiro and Fraser Aird, neither of whom were released for the tournament by their Scottish club teams. Carreiro was included on an early version of Canada’s roster, released by CONCACAF on Monday morning, but the CSA later confirmed he was not released by Dundee of the Scottish Premiership.
The Toronto-born Aird, meanwhile, has established himself as a regular with Rangers as they fight for first place in the Scottish Championship. MLSsoccer.com has been told that while Canada did seek to add Aird to its tournament roster, the move was declined by Rangers. The full 20-man Canadian squad:
Goalkeepers (2): Marco Carducci (Vancouver Whitecaps), Nolan Wirth (Oregon State)
Defenders (6): Sam Adekugbe (Vancouver Whitecaps), Alexander Comsia (Strasbourg/FRA), Jackson Farmer (Vancouver Whitecaps Academy), Luca Gasparotto (Rangers/SCO), Jordan Haynes (Vancouver Whitecaps Academy), Brandon John (Erzgebirge Aue/GER), Chris Serban (University of British Columbia)
Midfielders (9): Manny Aparicio (Toronto FC), Louis Béland-Goyette (Montreal Impact), Hanson Boakai (FC Edmonton), Marco Bustos (Vancouver Whitecaps), Kianz Froese (Vancouver Whitecaps), Jérémy Gagnon-Laparé (Montreal Impact), Chris Nanco (Syracuse), Michael Petrasso (Queens Park Rangers/ENG)
Forwards (3): Calum Ferguson (Inverness Caledonian Thistle/SCO), Jordan Hamilton (Toronto FC), Cyle Larin (UConn)