Canadian Men’s Under-20 National Team is off to Northern Ireland to take part in the 2014 Dale Farm Milk Cup and with it, the squad brings along two of NASL's FC Edmonton players, Hanson Boakai and Sadi Jalali.
Head Coach Rob Gale is bringing together 18 players who will see action against the host country, as well as China PR and CONCACAF rivals Mexico in the four-team tournament. Canada is preparing for the CONCACAF U-20 Championships – likely to take place early next year – so this is an early test against a Mexican team they could face in competition.
“This is our only tournament as a group in preparation for qualifying in January,” said Gale. “So we aim to use it in a number of specific tactical ways and have objectives that will help us build for the future.”
Canada opens the competition with the all-CONCACAF battle against Mexico at the Riada Stadium in Balleymoney on Monday 28 July. Two days later they’ll take on China PR in Derry before wrapping things up against Northern Ireland on Friday 1 August.
The squad includes a number of players who have first team professional experience with their respective club teams and players that have accrued international experience with past Canadian camps and as members for the Canadian roster that played at the FIFA U-17 World Cup UAE 2013 under head coach Sean Fleming.
“Being one of the younger players, I’ll just have to work harder to get a start,” said FCE 17 year-old Boakai. “I’m looking forward to playing with this group and working with Rob Gale in this tournament.”
This will be the first national team project for both Boakai and Jalai in the new year. It will also be Boakai’s first project spent with the U-20’s, having played with the U-17 team in 2013.