Canada Soccer and interim head coach Mauro Biello revealed on Wednesday the 23-man Canadian men’s national team squad that will take part in the Concacaf Nations League quarter-final matches later this month.
Les Rouges will take on Jamaica in a two-legged quarter-final tie which will also serve as a direct qualifier for the 2024 Copa América, which will include six Concacaf sides — the four Nations League semifinalists as well as two losing quarter-finalists who qualify via an additional playoff round.
Canada will first travel to Kingston to play their away leg against Jamaica on Friday, Nov. 17 (7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT), before returning home for the second leg at Toronto’s BMO Field on Tuesday, Nov. 21 (7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT). Both matches will be broadcast live on OneSoccer.
If Canada win this tie on aggregate, not only will they qualify for next summer’s Copa América, but they’ll also advance to the Nations League semifinals next March, when they’ll have a chance to return to the final they played in last summer and compete for a trophy.
The roster Biello has named is a strong one, including 20 members of Canada’s World Cup squad from last November. In total, 19 players are returning from the group that played Japan in a friendly last month, with four changes being made.
Along with the usual cast of stars like Alphonso Davies, Jonathan David and Stephen Eustáquio, another notable inclusion is 18-year-old Fulham defender Luc de Fougerolles, who received his first call-up in October and made his senior debut for the Premier League club on Nov. 1 in an EFL Cup tie against Ipswich Town. He has yet to debut for Canada.
Ali Ahmed, Mark-Anthony Kaye, Tajon Buchanan and Lucas Cavallini have returned to the team, while Moïse Bombito, Mathieu Choinière, Harry Paton and Charles-Andreas Brym have been left out.
The full squad is listed at the bottom of this page.
Biello met with media from across the country virtually on Wednesday afternoon to provide some thoughts on this squad and the upcoming international window. Some highlights of what he had to say are below.
On the importance of the window and thinking behind selecting this squad:
“There’s great benefit to doing well in this window. For us, there’s the finals of the Nations League and the Copa América qualification so it’s a very big window. I was able to select the players that I wanted.
“I went with a group that’s been in these moments before, a group of players that have a strong brotherhood that have gone through a lot and have been able to react in pressure moments. For me, that was one that was very important in the selection.”
On helping Cyle Larin and Jonathan David through dry spells at club level
“When players go through certain moments, it’s about going back to the basics and doing all the little things right because goalswill come, and we’ve seen that from those players. Watching Cyle’s games, he’s creating opportunities and there’s moments in the game where you feel like he’s doing everything right and he’s just missing that goal. I think for these two players, they have experience, they’ve been in those moments.
“I think Jonny is very strong-minded. He’ll continue to do everything he can and then the goals will come. Once they start, goals come in buckets and hopefully when they come into camp, when I speak with them, I’ll reiterate that and give them the confidence they need, because it’s not only the goals that they bring. It’s everything else that they do and their work, their movement and how they connect the other players, and I think that’s equally as important. If they understand that and they grasp that then the goals will come.”
On balancing experience with building for the future:
“There is a balancing situation here going on and a transition situation, and I think transitions are done gradually. You can’t just cut a player and say, ‘This guy is old and this guy’s young,’ and just make the change. In this world you have to gradually do that; with the young player you increase those opportunities and decrease some of the opportunities of the older player, but in that space there the young player needs to prove and show that he is better and ready to take on that role of that next player.
“I think it’s a process that, there’s players that we’ve seen at the Gold Cup, there’s players that we’ve seen in Japan, there’s players that are coming in now and they’re all part of that 2026 cycle. There’s players that you see now that you may not see down the road in 2026. But I think it’s important that as a coach you need to understand that process.
“There’s certain players that have given a lot to this country, that have come in every single camp and done the utmost to help this team qualify and to be where they’re at today.”
On picking players not in-season at club level:
“It’s so important at these levels to have players that are in rhythm. When you don’t play for five or six weeks it’s not easy to just turn on the switch in these types of games, so it is important in the selection process that there’s players that are in rhythm, that are still playing; there could be one or two but you can’t have too many [out-of-season] players in your roster.
“This is what we’ve experienced over the years. I remember when we lost to the USA in the Nations League 4-1 in November , and that was a big talking point. We had a lot of players out of the [MLS] playoffs and not playing and didn’t come in sharp in that period, and we ended up dropping that game. For sure, you need those players playing week-in, week-out and competing at those levels.”