Canada wraps up its preparation in Florida today for the Confederation of North, Central American & Caribbean Associations of Soccer (CONCACAF) Under-17 tournament that begins in Panama on Saturday.
The national side is grouped with Trinidad & Tobago and Costa Rica in the 12-team competition.
“We have a very difficult opening match against T & T, so we need to ensure we put forward our best possible performance to start the competition,” said head coach, Ian Fleming.
Canada meets the twin-island republic on Saturday and Costa Rica four days later.
Host country Panama is in Group “A” with Jamaica and Barbados, Group “C” comprises the United States, Guatemala and Haiti and the Group “D” contestants are Cuba, Honduras and Mexico.
The top two teams from each group will advance to the quarterfinals on April 13 and 14 that will determine which four regional sides will qualify for the International Soccer Federation (FIFA) youth World Cup in the United Arab Emirates from October 17 to November 8.
The national women’s team, meanwhile, will be in action in the next four days.
Canada will oppose France later today in Nice and England in Rotherham on April 7.
Tonight’s encounter will be the first against the French since the hard-fought bronze medal match last year at the London Olympics. Canada fell 1-0 to the English in last month’s Cyprus Cup final.
A total of 14 members from last year’s Olympic squad are part of the national contingent that will participate in the two friendlies.
“Once again going into this camp our focus will be on our performance as a team rather than the result,” said head coach, John Herdman. “We will be facing two teams that are EURO contenders, while we are two years away from our next big competition. We need to look at these matches as opportunities for us to develop and prepare players for the type of performance we require to be successful in 2015/2016.”