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Canada names 50-man provisional roster for Olympic qualifying tournament in Mexico

TORONTO — Canada has named its 50-man provisional roster for CONCACAF Olympic qualifying next month, with 21 of the players coming from the three Canadian MLS clubs.
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TORONTO — Canada has named its 50-man provisional roster for CONCACAF Olympic qualifying next month, with 21 of the players coming from the three Canadian MLS clubs.

The list includes from nine from Toronto FC, seven from the Vancouver Whitecaps and five from CF Montreal. Eleven come from the Canadian Premier League.

Canada Soccer says 19 of the players on the provisional roster have already been called into its men’s national team camps and 16 have at least one senior cap.

The provisional list includes Liam Fraser and Jacob Shaffelburg from Toronto FC, James Pantemis and Zachary Brault-Guillard from CF Montreal and Derek Cornelius and Ryan Raposo from Vancouver.

Fellow MLS players Tajon Buchanan (New England) and Dayne St. Clair (Minnesota United) are also included.

The eight-team Olympic qualifying tournament, originally scheduled to be played last spring, runs March 18 to 30 in Guadalajara, Mexico. It will determine two teams to represent North and Central America and the Caribbean at the Tokyo Games, whose soccer competition is slated to run July 21 through Aug. 7.

FIFA has kept the same Olympic men's eligibility rules that were first established, saying players must be born after Jan. 1, 1997.

The qualifying tournament comes at a difficult time with Canada opening its World Cup qualifying campaign on March 25. Stars like Bayern Munich's Alphonso Davies and Lille's Jonathan David, both born in 2000, are eligible for the Olympic team but will kept for the senior side.

The first game of the Olympic qualifying tournament — and Canada's scheduled pre-tournament camp —  falls outside a FIFA international window, further complicating matters.

Canada's 50 man-roster will be trimmed to 20 for the tournament, including three goalkeepers, no later than 10 priors to the start of the competition. Players not in the provisional squad can be added to the final roster but subsequent changes, due to injury, have to come from the provisional list.

Canada has been drawn in Group B, opening March 19 against El Salvador before facing Haiti on March 22 and Honduras on March 25.

Group A features the U.S., Mexico, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic.

The top two in each pool advance to the semifinals with the March 28 semifinal winners booking their ticket to the Olympics.

Women's Olympic qualifying in the region took place in January-February 2020 before the pandemic. Canada, which won bronze at the last two Olympics, and the defending champion U.S. have both qualified.


Canada's Provisional Roster for CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying

Goalkeepers: Sebastian Breza, Bologna (Italy); Nikola Curcija, Le Havre AC (France); Thomas Hasal, Vancouver Whitecaps (MLS); Matthew Nogueira, CS Maritimo, Portugal; James Pantemis, CF Montreal (MLS); Dayne St. Clair,  Minnesota United FC (MLS).

Defenders: Diyaeddine Abzi, York United FC (CPL); Michael Baldisimo, Vancouver Whitecaps (MLS); Zorhan Bassong, CF Montreal (MLS); Zachary Brault-Guillard,  CF Montreal (MLS); Kadin Chung, Pacific FC (CPL); Derek Cornelius, Vancouver Whitecaps (MLS); Julian Dunn, Toronto FC (MLS); Mohamed Farsi, Cavalry FC (CPL); Marcus Godinho, FSV Zwickau (Germany); Cristian Gutierrez, Vancouver Whitecaps (MLS); Thomas Meilleur-Giguere, Pacific FC (CPL); Callum Montgomery, Minnesota United FC (MLS); Chrisnovic N’sa, York United FC (CPL); Rocco Romeo, Toronto FC (MLS); Frank Sturing, FC Den Bosch (the Netherlands); Karifa Yao, Cavalry FC (CPL).

Midfielders: Clement Bayiha, CF Montreal (MLS); David Choiniere, Forge FC (CPL); Aidan Daniels, Oklahoma City Energy FC (USL Championship); Lucas Dias, Sporting Lisbon (Portugal); Liam Fraser,  Toronto FC (MSL); Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty, Toronto FC (MLS); Patrick Metcalfe,  Vancouver Whitecaps (MLS); David Norman, unattached; Noble Okello, Toronto FC (MLS); Ben Paton, Blackburn U-23 (England); Harry Paton, Ross County FC (Scotland); Ralph Priso, Toronto FC (MLS); Ryan Raposo, Vancouver Whitecaps (MLS); Shamit Shome, FC Edmonton (CPL); Steven Simpson, Barnsley FC (England); Ballou Tabla, CF Montreal (MLS); Noah Verhoeven, York United FC (CPL).

Forwards: Theo Bair, Vancouver Whitecaps (MLS); Charles-Andreas Brym, Royal Excel Mouscron (Belgium); Tajon Buchanan, New England Revolution (MLS); Terran Campbell,  Pacific FC (CPL); Theo Corbeanu, Wolverhampton Wanderers (England); Malik Johnson, Real Monarchs SLC (USL Championship); Jayden Nelson, Toronto FC (MLS); Easton Ongaro, FC Edmonton (CPL); Jordan Perruzza, Toronto FC (MLS); Jacob Shaffelburg, Toronto FC (MLS); Kris Twardek, Jagiellonia (Poland).


Canada's Schedule at CONCACAF Men's Olympic Qualifying (all times ET)

At Guadalajara, Mexico

Group Stage

March 19

Canada vs El Salvador, Jalisco Stadium, 6 p.m.

March 22

Haiti vs Canada, Akron Stadium, 6 p.m.

March 25

Honduras vs Canada, Jalisco Stadium, 9:30 p.m.

Knockout Stage

Semifinals

March 28

1B vs 2A, Jalisco Stadium, 6 p.m.

1A vs 2B, Jalisco Stadium, 9 p.m.

Final

March 30

At Akron Stadium, 9 p.m.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published  Feb. 23, 2021

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press

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