Monday, February 23, 2009

'Caps send Seven to U20 team

Vancouver Whitecaps FC, in conjunction with the Canadian Soccer Association, announced today that goalkeeper Julien Latendresse-Lévesque, defender Adam Straith, midfielders Philippe Davies and Ethan Gage, and strikers Randy Edwini-Bonsu, Marcus Haber, and Kyle Porter have all received call-ups to Canada's U-20 men's national team.

The septuple will be part of head coach Tony Fonseca's 20-player squad that will participate in next month's CONCACAF U-20 Championship in Trinidad & Tobago. Playing in Group B, Canada face hosts Trinidad & Tobago (March 7), Mexico (March 9), and Costa Rica (March 11), with the squad needing to finish in the top two in order to book their place at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Egypt later this year.

"The final camp has arrived and we are going to use it for fine tuning," Fonseca told "We are aware of the difficulties of the competition. The opponents are very strong and we know that there is no room for mistakes. This team is ambitious and will be ready to fight for a spot for Egypt 2009."

Haber, 20-years-old, joins the U-20 squad after signing a one-year contract – plus an option – with the Whitecaps on February 11. The native of Vancouver, BC, was part of the team's three recent training camps, and started for Canada when they hosted the U-20 World Cup in 2007.

Davies, 18, makes the team after appearing in the U-20 side's last two camps in Florida. The native of Longueuil, Quebec, who was a member of the inaugural Whitecaps Residency squad, scored in a 3-0 non-sanctioned international friendly win over Haiti on December 18, 2008, before earning a start in a 1-0 friendly defeat to USA U-20's on December 22, 2008.

Edwini-Bonsu, 18, returns to the side after taking part in two U-20 camps. The Edmonton, Alberta, native was a substitute in a 1-1 friendly draw with Switzerland U-20's on November 26, 2008, before scoring 11 goals in five starts during the Residency team's undefeated tour of Japan in December 2008.

Gage, 17, returns to the U-20 squad after taking part in last December's training camp in Florida. Born in Cowansville, Quebec, but raised in Cochrane, Alberta, the midfielder played in the 3-0 win over Haiti on December 18 and the 1-0 defeat to USA U-20's on December 22.

Straith, 18, will also be part of the Canadian side after participating in all three of the team's preparation camps. The Residency centre back is currently on loan to Germany's FC Energie Cottbus and has featured in the club's U-19 and U-23 sides. The Victoria, BC, native score his first U-20 international goal in a 1-1 friendly draw with Switzerland U-20's on November 26, 2008.

Porter, 19, earns a spot in the squad after impressing Fonseca at the team's last training camp in Florida in late January. The native of Mississauga, Ontario, who is also on loan to Energie Cottbus, scored five goals and recorded one assist in 10 United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League appearances for Whitecaps Residency in 2008.

Latendresse-Lévesque, who turns 18 on Friday, attended the team's Florida training camp last December, having previously represented Canada at the U-17 international level. The native of Chambly, Quebec, joined the Residency program last September and was part of the team's successful tour of Japan last December.

Also taking part in Trinidad & Tobago 2009 is Residency striker Dever Orgill. The 18-year-old native of Port Antonio, Jamaica, scored six goals during the Caribbean zone qualifier and will now look to help Jamaica when they face El Salvador, USA, and the winner of a playoff between Honduras and Saint Vincent & the Grenadines in Group A.

The top two teams in each group will advance to the March 13 semifinals, as well as qualify for Egypt 2009. The third-place match and final are set for March 15. Canada have participated in half of the 16 U-20 World Cup tournaments that have taken place since 1977, including each of the last four finals since Argentina 2001.

courtesy of the Vancouver Whitecaps

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