Vancouver Whitecaps' Samuel Adekugbe
Bob Frid/Vancouver Whitecaps FC

Canada begin prep for 2015 U-20 FIFA World Cup, announce U-18 roster for Guatemala friendlies

While Canada had to watch this year’s FIFA Under-20 World Cup from home, the effort to be ready for the 2015 edition of the tournament is already well underway.

On Tuesday, the Canadian Soccer Association released the names of 18 players taking part in an Under-18 men’s training camp in Guatemala this week. The camp runs from Wednesday until Sunday, and features two exhibition games against the host Guatemalans.

“This will be another important camp for these boys,” coach Phil Dos Santos said in a release. “We will continue to build and reinforce on the identity and quality of play we want to see in our youth national teams.”

All players in camp will be eligible for the 2015 CONCACAF Under-20 Championship, the tournament that will determine the region’s entrants in the 2015 FIFA Under-20 World Cup.

“The boys will play two quality international games against a good Central American side (and) they will be exposed to a different environment and challenge,” said Dos Santos in the release. “The objective is always for the players to grow and assimilate the behaviors we want them to have as a team.”

All three Canadian MLS teams are represented in the roster, as are FC Edmonton of the NASL, and some of the names will already be familiar to Canadian fans.

Both Samuel Adekugbe (Vancouver Whitecaps) and Manuel Aparicio (Toronto FC) made the jump from their respective clubs’ academies to their senior teams in 2013, while Adekugbe (pictured at top), Jackson Farmer and Jérémy Gagnon-Laparé were called into camp with the senior men’s national team under head coach Benito Floro in September.

Meanwhile, two of the players – Luca Gasparotto and Sadi Jalali – represented Canada at the 2011 FIFA Under-17 World Cup. Jalali scored for Canada in a 2-2 draw with England in that tournament, to help earn Canada’s first-ever point in the competition.

The team was set to arrive in Antigua, Guatemala, on Tuesday ahead of the two friendly matches, to be played on Friday and Sunday.

GOALKEEPERS: Mario Gerges (Coquitlam Metro-Ford), Nolan Wirth (Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency)

DEFENDERS: Bruno Zebie (FC Edmonton Academy), Samuel Adekugbe (Vancouver Whitecaps FC), Jackson Farmer (Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency), Mitch Piraux (Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency), Enrique Garcea (Winnipeg Wesmen), Luca Gasparotto (Rangers/Scotland), Braden Silva (WSA Winnipeg)

MIDFIELDERS: Jérémy Gagnon-Laparé (Montreal Impact Academy), Louis Béland-Goyette (Montreal Impact Academy), Manuel Aparicio (Toronto FC), Crosby Tre (FC Erzgebirge Aue/Germany), Dylan Sacramento (York University), Richmond Laryea (Sigma FC), Yacine Ait Slimaine (Montreal Impact Academy)

STRIKERS: Calum Ferguson (Inverness Caledonian Thistle/Scotland), Sadi Jalali (FC Edmonton)