Canada Soccer revealed on Wednesday the 20-player team roster that will compete later this month at the Concacaf Women’s U-20 Championship in the Dominican Republic, where they’ll try to earn qualification to the 2020 FIFA Women’s U-20 World Cup.
This year’s U-20 Concacaf tournament features a revamped format, with 20 teams now involved instead of the previous eight. In order to qualify for the World Cup — which will be staged in Panama and Costa Rica this coming August — Canada will need to advance through the knockout stages and win a semifinal match, similar to the Olympic qualifying tournament (but with a longer path).
Canada has been drawn into Group E, and they’ll play Jamaica, Guatemala, and El Salvador, with the top three teams advancing to a 16-team knockout stage. Should they win the group, their first-round opponent will be Bermuda, who enter directly into the round of 16.
One potential challenge for Canada could be that the current bracket seems to put them in line for a semifinal clash with the United States, which would be a do-or-die matchup for World Cup qualification. Should both sides win their groups and their first two knockout matches, the two rivals will square off.
Canada enters the tournament as the third-ranked U-20 women’s team in Concacaf, behind the U.S. and Mexico (winners of the 2018 competition). The Canadians finished fourth in the last tournament, falling to Mexico on penalties in the semifinal and then to Haiti in the third-place match. As a result, Canada didn’t qualify for the 2018 U-20 World Cup.
The competition will kick off February 22, with Canada’s first match against El Salvador in San Cristóbal, Dominican Republic.
The squad, which will be led by coach Rhian Wilkinson, features players born 2000 or later, many of whom currently play college soccer in the U.S.
“We have set a goal to qualify through Concacaf to both FIFA youth tournaments, although we know it will be challenging under the new format,” Wilkinson said in a statement. “Playing up to seven matches across 16 days under the new format will test us both physically and mentally, but that is the point of the tournament. That pressure will help develop our players as they continue to progress towards the Women’s National Team.”
The full roster is below.
1- GK- Anna Karpenko | CAN / Super REX Ontario
2- F- Caleigh Boeckx | USA / Rice University
3- F- Léonie Portelance | CAN / AS Varennes
4- M- Marika Guay | USA / Santa Clara University
5- CB- Jade Rose | CAN / Super REX Ontario
6- CB- Joanna Verzosa-Dolezal | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC Girls Elite Super REX
7- M- Mya Jones | USA / University of Memphis
8- FB- Emma Regan | USA / University of Texas at Austin
9- F- Tanya Boychuk | CAN / FC Edmonton REX
10- M- Maya Ladhani | CAN / Super REX Ontario
11- F- Kaila Novak | USA / UCLA
12- M- Caitlin Shaw | USA / University of Oregon
13- CB- Samantha Chang | USA / University of South Carolina
14- M- Lara Kazandjian | USA / University of Memphis
15- CB- Molly Quarry | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC Girls Elite Super REX
16- M- Sonia Walk | CAN / Super REX Ontario
17- F- Andersen Williams | USA / Texas A & M University
18- M- Wayny Balata | CAN / CS Lakeshore
19- M- Jazmine Wilkinson | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC Girls Elite Super REX
20- GK- Kayza Massey | USA / West Virginia University