The Canadian U17 men’s team qualified for the 2011 U17 World Cup this weekend in Jamaica as they made it to the final losing to the States 3-0. The team consisted of five academy players from the Whitecaps organization and three of them played significant roles on the team. The Canadian boys had not allowed a single goal through five full matches (450 mins) as they conceded all three goals in extra time of the finals after losing their legs. The team will now play in the U17 World Cup hosted by Mexico between June 18 and July 10. The five Whitecaps on team Canada were midfielders Bryce Alderson (captain), Wesley Cain, Matteo Pasquotti, and defenders Daniel Stanese and Adam Polakiewicz.
While other players gained the headlines with goals, Alderson was the main cog in the center of the pitch for Canada as he was effective as a playmaker and as a defensive stopper. Alderson also captained the squad and played every minute in the tournament until the final game when he was substituted off at the 101st minute. He was regularly praised by the media and announcers at the tournament as being a strong player on the pitch and his play will continue to improve as he will be an integral part of the U17 World Cup team this year.
An important part of the Canadian defense that did not give up a single goal during regular time, Stanese appeared in all five matches at center half. In fact he played every minute except for the Honduras match where he was subbed on with 17 minutes to go. Another player to appear in every match was midfielder Wesley Cain as came on as a sub in four of the five matches (he played a full 90 versus Honduras). He played wide on the right side, used his speed effectively and was rewarded with a goal in the 8 to nil thrashing of Barbados.
Polakiewicz made just one appearance at left back as he played a full 90 in the goalless draw versus Honduras which clinched Canada first spot in their group. Pasquotti saw only 13 minutes of action in the qualifying tournament as he came on as a sub versus Honduras. Both players will have more opportunities in the training matches and friendlies leading up to the World Cup to gain more playing time and contribute more to team on the field.