Canada has drawn Mexico, Panama and Martinique in the first round of the Confederation of North, Central American & Caribbean Associations of Soccer (CONCACAF) Gold Cup tournament in July.
The national side begins play on July 7 again Martinique at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. Canada meets Mexico four days later in Seattle before clashing with Panama in Denver on July 14.
The 12 teams are divided into four groups.
Honduras, El Salvador, Haiti and Trinidad & Tobago are in Group “B” while the Group “C” contestants are the United States, Costa Rica, Cuba and Belize.
The top two teams from each group will advance to the quarter-finals on July 20 and 21 in Atlanta and Baltimore. The semi-finals take place on July 24 at Cowboys Stadium in Texas and the final will be held on July 28 at Soldier Field in Chicago.
Tickets will be available to the general public today at 10 a.m. by visiting www.goldcup.org.
“We are looking forward to a successful tournament and an exciting 2013 Gold Cup final right here at Soldier Field,” said CONCACAF president, Jeffrey Webb. “We also expect yet another competition fueled by passionate fans brought together in a celebration that will hopefully inspire a whole new generation of players.”
Canada won the tournament in 2000.
Meanwhile, the national men’s team will play Japan tomorrow and Belarus on Monday. The games will be played at the Khalifa and Aspire stadiums in Doha.
Canadian Soccer Association technical director, Tony Fonseca, is the interim coach for both games at the upcoming camp.
“This camp represents an opportunity to reintegrate our European-based players as we take on two very difficult opponents in Japan and Belarus,” said Fonseca. “These two matches will be an important platform for our continued preparation for the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup and beyond.”
The squad features 15 players from Canada’s recent International Soccer Federation (FIFA) World Cup qualifiers campaign who will be rejoining the team after missing out on the January camp in the United States.
By RON FANFAIR