Alphonso Davies and Jonathan David highlight Canada's preliminary 60-man roster for next month's Gold Cup.
The final 23-man squad will be confirmed prior to the July 2 start of the tournament's 12-country preliminary round, which will determine the final three entries in the 16-team main field that includes Qatar as a guest side. After that, roster changes will only be allowed "in the event of force majeure or injury" up until 24 hours before each team’s group stage first match.
Canada opens Group B play against Martinique on July 10 before facing a preliminary-round survivor on July 15 and the U.S. on July 18. All three matches will be in Kansas City.
Choosing the final roster will be a challenge given the delicate balance between club and country, especially in a congested schedule due to the pandemic. But it seems clear that coach John Herdman will look to assemble as strong a squad as possible to continue Canada's progress and get as much time with his players ahead of the final round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying that starts in September.
Fullback Sam Adekugbe is also not on the provisional list, having just completed a move to Turkey's Hatayspor from Norway's Valerenga Fotball.
Veteran goalkeeper Milan Borjan, Canada's No. 1, is also missing. The Red Star Belgrade 'keeper captained Canada in the second-round World Cup qualifying playoff against Haiti.
The goalkeepers on the list are Vancouver's Maxime Crepeau and Thomas Hasal, CF Montreal's James Pantemis, Huddersfield Town's Jayson Leutwiler and Minnesota United's Dayne St. Clair.
The preliminary roster includes several players Canada would like to claim for its own but has yet to bring aboard. They include Toronto FC striker Ayo Akinola, who has already played in a friendly for the U.S., and Sheffield United forward Daniel Jebbison, an England under-20 international.
The list includes Jules Anthony Vilsaint, who plays for Royal Antwerp in Belgium. The 18-year-old forward from Montreal also holds Haiti citizenship.
Midfielders Scott Arfield (Rangers) and Atiba Hutchinson (Besiktas), Canada's two regular captains in recent years when available, are on the preliminary roster.
The Gold Cup's group stage runs July 10 through July 20. Knockout play follows with the top two teams in each of the four groups advancing to the quarterfinals. The final is set for Aug. 1 in Las Vegas’ Allegiant Stadium.
While MLS has not scheduled games between July 10 and 16, there are games throughout the rest of the Gold Cup schedule.
Still, players like Toronto FC's Jonathan Osorio say they are willing and able to take part.
"As far as I know, I'm available for the Gold Cup," he said Friday. "I've been to every Gold Cup I've been available for in my career. It's an amazing tournament. It's a tournament I truly enjoy. And I think it's a tournament that Canada wants to take the next step in as well."
The preliminary Canadian roster includes eight players from CF Montreal, nine from Toronto FC, and 10 from the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Toronto coach Chris Armas says his club understands the needs of the national team, with Canada Soccer reciprocating.
TFC fullback Kemar Lawrence is on the Jamaica list while centre back Eriq Zavaleta is on El Salvador's preliminary roster.
The U.S. expanded roster includes Toronto FC's Jozy Altidore but not Akinola. It also includes CF Montreal's Djordje Mihailovic and Mason Toye.
The Honduras roster includes CF Montreal striker Romell Quioto.
CONCACAF marks its 60th anniversary year in 2021. It also marks the 16th edition of the Gold Cup, which serves as the confederation championship. Defending champion Mexico has won the tournament eight times. The U.S. has six titles while Canada won in 2000.
Canada Preliminary Gold Cup Roster
Tesho Akindele, Orlando City SC (MLS); Ayo Akinola, Toronto FC (MLS); Scott Arfield, Glasgow Rangers (Scotland); Theo Bair Vancouver Whitecaps (MLS); Michael Baldisimo, Vancouver Whitecaps (MLS); Zorhan Bassong, CF Montreal (MLS); Clement Bayiha, CF Montreal (MLS); Zachary Brault-Guillard, CF Montreal (MLS); Charles-Andreas Brym, unattached; Tajon Buchanan, New England Revolution (MLS); Lucas Cavallini, Vancouver Whitecaps (MLS); Jay Chapman, Inter Miami (MLS); Mathieu Choiniere, CF Montreal (MLS); Theo Corbeanu, Wolverhampton Wanderers (England); Derek Cornelius, Vancouver Whitecaps (MLS); Maxime Crepeau, Vancouver Whitecaps (MLS); Jonathan David, Lille (France); Alphonso Davies, Bayern Munich (Germany); Caniggia Elva, FC Ingolstadt 04 (Germany); Stephen Eustaquio, FC Pacos de Ferreira (Portugal); Ricardo Ferreira, unattached; Marcelo Flores, Arsenal (England); Liam Fraser, Columbus Crew (MLS); Marcus Godinho, FSV Zwickau (Germany); Cristian Gutierrez, Vancouver Whitecaps (MLS); Thomas Hasal, Vancouver Whitecaps (MLS); Doneil Henry, Suwon Samsung Bluewings (South Korea); Junior Hoilett, unattached; Atiba Hutchinson, Besiktas (Turkey); Daniel Jebbison, Sheffield United (England); Alistair Johnston, Nashville SC (MLS); Mark-Anthony Kaye, Los Angeles FC (MLS); Scott Kennedy, SSV Jahn Regensburg (Germany); Cyle Larin, Besiktas (Turkey); Richie Laryea, Toronto FC (MLS); Jayson Leutwiler, Huddersfield Town (England); Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty, Toronto FC (MLS); Liam Millar, Liverpool (England); Kamal Miller, CF Montreal (MLS); Ashtone Morgan, Real Salt Lake (MLS); Jayden Nelson, Toronto FC (MLS); Noble Okello, Toronto FC (MLS); Jonathan Osorio, Toronto FC (MLS); James Pantemis, CF Montreal (MLS); Tyler Pasher, Houston Dynamo (MLS); Harry Paton, Ross County (Scotland); Samuel Piette, CF Montreal (MLS); Ralph Priso, Toronto FC (MLS); Ryan Raposo, Vancouver Whitecaps (MLS); Tosaint Ricketts, Vancouver Whitecaps (MLS); Jacob Shaffelburg, Toronto FC (MLS); Luke Singh, Toronto FC (MLS); Dayne St. Clair, Minnesota United (MLS); Frank Sturing, FC Den Bosch (the Netherlands); Russell Teibert, Vancouver Whitecaps (MLS); Kris Twardek, Jagiellonia Bialystok (Poland); Jules Anthony Vilsaint, Royal Antwerp (Belgium); Steven Vitoria, Moreirense (Portugal); Joel Waterman, CF Montreal (MLS); David Wotherspoon, St. Johnstone (Scotland).
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This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 18, 2021