Canadian teams release footballers for CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying

Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto and Montréal loan players for CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying.

The four Amway Canadian Championship teams have released young footballers for the upcoming 2012 CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying tournament in USA. Eight Canadians and one American have been released for the two-week competition that runs 22 March to 2 April in Nashville, Carson and Kansas. Both Canada and USA will face each other in the group phase on 24 March (the second group match).

At the 2012 CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying tournament, Canada, Cuba, El Salvador and USA make up Group A (Nashville, TN) while Honduras, Mexico, Panama and Trinidad and Tobago make up Group B (Carson, CA). The semi-final matches on 31 March (A1 v B2 and B1 v A2) in Kansas, KS will determine the two CONCACAF representatives for the London 2012 Men’s Olympic Football Tournament.

From the west, Bryce Alderson and Russell Teibert were released from Vancouver Whitecaps FC while Michal Misiewicz and Shaun Saiko were released from FC Edmonton. In the east, Doneil Henry and Matt Stinson were released from Toronto FC while Carl Haworth, Evan James and Zarek Valentin were released from Impact Montréal.

The 2012 Amway Canadian Championship runs 2-23 May on consecutive Wednesday nights. The two legs of the semi-final stage are 2 and 9 May while the two legs of the championship final are 16 and 23 May. In the semi-final stage, Vancouver faces Edmonton and Toronto faces Montréal.

Of interest, the first-ever Amway Canadian Championship took place shortly after the last round of CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying in 2008. It was in Nashville, TN in March of that year that USA defeated Canada in the semi-final stage, thus qualifying the Americans and leaving the Canadians one win short of a trip to Beijing 2008. That year, only three of Canada’s 20 footballers played for Canadian teams: Diaz Kambere from Vancouver Whitecaps FC and both Tyler Hemming and Andrea Lombardo from Toronto FC.

The Impact has released two players to Canada (midfielders Haworth and James) and one player to USA (defender Valentin). All three hope to make their Championship debut later this year. While Valentin previously represented USA at the 2011 CONCACAF Men’s Under-20 Championship, Haworth and James are making their competitive debuts for Canada.

While there were no Impact players on Canada’s Olympic Qualifying team in 2008, there were in fact four Impact players on Canada’s roster in 2004: Andrew Olivieri, Adam Braz, Chris Williams and Sita-Taty Matondo. Both Braz and Matondo went on to become Canadian champions with the Impact in 2008.

Toronto FC has released two of its age-eligible players to Canada for the upcoming matches in Nashville: defender Henry and midfielder Stinson. Both players are repeat Canadian champions with Toronto FC in the Amway Canadian Championship in 2010 and 2011. Both have also represented Toronto FC in CONCACAF Champions League, most recently helping the club reach the semi-final stage (a stage they will miss when on the road to the Olympics with Canada).

Both Henry and Stinson were also members of Canada’s U-20 team at the 2011 CONCACAF Men’s Under-20 Championship in Ciudad de Guatemala.

FC Edmonton has released two players to Canada: goalkeeper Misiewicz and midfielder Saiko. While Saiko was in FCE colours last year for the opening stage of the 2011 Amway Canadian Championship, Misiewicz hopes to make his Championship debut in 2012.

While Misiewicz did represent Canada at the 2009 Jeux de la Francophonie, the 2012 CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying tournament will mark his CONCACAF tournament debut. Saiko, meanwhile, was a member of Canada’s U-20 team at the 2009 CONCACAF Men’s Under-20 Championship in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC have released two players to Canada: midfielders Alderson and Teibert. Incidentally, both are repeat winners of the Canadian U-17 Player of the Year award: Teibert in 2008 and 2009 and then Alderson in 2010 and 2011. While the older Teibert made his Championship debut in 2011, fellow teenager Alderson hopes to make his Championship debut in 2012.

Both Alderson and Teibert also wore the captain’s armband in Canada’s national youth program. Alderson was most recently Canada’s captain at the 2011 CONCACAF Men’s Under-17 Championship (silver medal) and FIFA U-17 World Cup Mexico 2011; Teibert was Canada’s captain in the previous cycle that included the 2009 CONCACAF Men’s Under-17 Championship (a biennial tournament).

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