Canadian Soccer Association previews action-packed month of June

The Canadian Soccer Association is preparing for an action-packed month of June, during which the Men’s, Women’s, Men’s U-17 and Para Soccer teams will compete in major events.

Men’s National Team
Kicking things off at BMO Field in Toronto on 1 June the Men’s National Team will play an International Friendly Match against Ecuador, before heading to the USA where it will battle in the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup. Canada’s opening match of the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup is 7 June at Ford Field in Detroit, MI. Canada’s three group opponents are USA, Guadeloupe and Panama.

Coach Stephen Hart will use the CONCACAF Gold Cup as a springboard to the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers which are expected to begin this fall. The 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup also serves as the official qualification route to the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013.

Women’s National Team
After opening its final European camp in early May, the Women’s National Team is heading to the FIFA Women’s World Cup Germany 2011this 26 June to 17 July. In the group phase of this summer’s FIFA Women’s World Cup Germany 2011, Canada will face host Germany on 26 June, France on 30 June and Nigeria on 5 July. The top two teams from the group will qualify for the quarter-final phase.

This is Canada’s fifth appearance at the FIFA Women’s World Cup and they are the reigning CONCACAF champions having captured the title this past November in Mexico. The team’s recent success – second place at the Yongchuan Cup in January and first place at the Cyprus Women’s Cup in March – vaulted Canada to sixth place on the FIFA/Coca-Cola Women’s World Ranking heading into the competition.

Men’s U-17 Team
Just finishing a camp in Florida, USA, the Men’s Under-17 team will be playing in the FIFA U-17 World Cup Mexico 2011 18 June to 10 July. Canada, who qualified after finishing second at the 2011 CONCACAF Men’s Under-17 Championship, will have three group matches against Uruguay, England and Rwanda. The FIFA U-17 World Cup Mexico 2011 features 24 teams. Sixteen teams advance to the Round of 16, with the top-two teams from each group automatically qualified along with four of six third-place teams.

This will mark Canada’s fifth time participating in the event. Canada’s Men’s U-17 team program features players born 1994 or later.

Para Soccer Team
Canada’s Para Soccer team gathered in Surrey, BC in May for a preparatory camp in advance of the 2011 CP-ISRA World Championships which take place from 17 June to 1 July in the Netherlands. This will be Canada’s second participation in the Championships which run every four years. The Championship will serve as the qualification route for the London 2012 Paralympics. Canada will need to finish first or second in its Championship group, with group opponents Ukraine and Scotland in the way.

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