Generation ’87: youth served for upcoming Qualifiers

Canada will make a fresh start in FIFA World Cup Qualifiers™ this Friday 2 September as the road to Brazil 2014 officially begins. Coach Stephen Hart has selected considerable youth for his first squad, with nine footballers aged 25 or younger.

Canada will make a fresh start in FIFA World Cup Qualifiers™ this Friday 2 September as the road to Brazil 2014 officially begins. Coach Stephen Hart has selected considerable youth for his first squad, with nine footballers aged 25 or younger.



In fact, those nine footballers were all born in 1986 or later, which means they were not around when Canada last participated in the FIFA World Cup™. André Hainault is the oldest of the group, born a mere eight days after Canada lost to Soviet Union in the team’s final group match of Mexico 1986.



The most notable group is “Generation ’87”, the six players who were born in 1987: Will Johnson, Simeon Jackson, Jaime Peters, David Edgar, Tosaint Ricketts and Milan Borjan. Five of those six (all but Borjan) as well as ’88 Jonathan Beaulieu-Bourgault and ’89 Marcus Haber were all part of Canada’s FIFA U-20 World Cup team at Canada 2007.



Four of those young players are making their debut in FIFA World Cup Qualifiers™ this week. Ricketts, Borjan, Beaulieu-Bourgault and Haber will all try to impress coach Hart in this week’s training to ensure a place in the XI. (So too will 29-year old debutant Terry Dunfield). The Canadian side hosts St. Lucia at BMO Field on Friday night and then travels Bayamón to face Puerto Rico on Tuesday 6 September.



Haber is not only the youngest player, but he also has the least experience to date with one national “A” appearance. He made his international debut late last year in Kyiv, Ukraine. Three other players made their debut four months later in Larissa, Greece: Edgar, Ricketts and Borjan.



As it so happens, Borjan is the only call up with no experience at previous FIFA World Cup Qualifiers™ or at a FIFA U-20 World Cup. Actually, 15 different players in this camp have participated in 21 previous FIFA U-20 World Cups, including Edgar who went three-straight times from 2003 to 2007.



Whether some or all of these young players crack the Canadian XI this round in Toronto and Bayamón has yet to be decided. Regardless of coach Hart’s selection in these first two matches, though, the group of young footballers represents a budding future for the national team as it marches towards Brazil 2014.



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