Striker Malik Johnson is among six Toronto FC Academy players named to the national Under-17 squad to prepare for the upcoming Confederation of North, Central American & Caribbean Associations of Soccer (CONCACAF) Under-17 tournament in Honduras.
The tournament will take place from February 27 to March 14.
The other Toronto FC Academy players are goalkeeper Brogan Engbers, defenders Gabriel Boakye and Andrew Dias and midfielders Kevin Timachy and Jordan Montoya.
The 18 players called up are currently in Panama City for a three-match series.
“It’s great to get the players together for three quality matches in a CONCACAF environment,” said head coach, Sean Fleming. “It will be very challenging as we have little time before our first match, but the games will provide a great test for the players to solidify their spot on the squad.”
The first of three matches was against Panama last night. The Canadians meet the United States on October 3 and Costa Rica two days later.
“We will be trying some new players in different combinations,” said Fleming. “It’s another step in getting the squad ready for Honduras in February.”
The top four teams in the CONCACAF Under-17 tournament will advance to the 2015 International Soccer Federation (FIFA) Under-17 World Cup in Chile from October 17 to November 8.
Meanwhile, Guinea’s youth coach, Hamidou Camara, believes his Under-17 side has the ability to qualify for next year’s Youth World Cup.
Guinea shut out Togo 3-0 last weekend to win the home and away series 4-0 on goal aggregate and advance to the 2015 Africa Under-17 championship in Niger.
“We do really have all the talented players and this means that if we get our ticket for the World Cup, we are not going to be an outsider,” said Camara. “We can represent Africa valuably. There is no need for us to say it loudly or praise the Guinean Under-17 national team because technically we play more or less like Ghanaians and Brazilians.”
In addition to Guinea, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia, Ivory Coast and Mali have qualified for next year’s Africa Under-17 tournament.
The top four teams will advance to the World Cup in Chile.