Ten CPL Athletes Make Olympic Qualifying Provisional Roster
It was almost a year ago that Concacaf delayed the Concacaf Men’s Olympic Qualifying tournament, which at that point featured eight CPL athletes in Canada’s provisional roster.
With the tournament finally set to take place next month, the new provisional rosters for all eight participating teams have just been released. The updated Canadian selection now features ten CPL athletes, up from eight in the original 2020 provisional selection.
The change sees free agents Daniel Kinumbe and Yohan Le Bourhis dropped, with David Choiniere, Shamit Shome, and Chrisnovic N’sa now being added to the previous CPL-based selections.
The ten CPL athletes featured on the roster are Cavalry FC’s Mohamed Farsi (along with CF Montreal loanee Karifa Yao), Forge FC’s David Choiniere, FC Edmonton’s Easton Ongaro and Shamit Shome, Pacific FC’s Terran Campbell, Kadin Chung, and Thomas Meilleur-Giguere, and York United’s Diyaeddine Abzi, Chrisnovic N’sa, and Noah Verhoeven.
The provisional list of fifty athletes will be trimmed down to twenty ahead of the Concacaf Men’s Olympic Qualifying tournament in March.
Interestingly, Julian Dunn is also listed with Valour FC on the provisional roster. He spent an iron man season on loan with the side last year, with the club openly stating it’d love to have the TFC youngster re-join the side for the upcoming year. James Pantemis, who used a strong season on loan with Valour to springboard himself into CF Montreal’s lineup, is also named to the provision roster.
Rounding out the CPL-related athletes is David Norman Jr., who went on a short-term loan with Pacific FC in 2019 prior to joining Inter Miami FC for its inaugural campaign. With his option recently being declined, it’s unclear where the youngster will end up next.
Canada’s provisional roster also includes thirteen athletes who have made senior national team appearances, including the likes of Toronto FC’s Liam Fraser, Noble Okello, and Jacob Shaffelburg, Vancouver Whitecap’s Derek Cornelius and Theo Bair, CF Montreal’s Zorhan Bassong, Zachary Brault-Guillard, and Boulla Tabla. The only CPL member on the roster with a senior cap is Shamit Shome, though Noah Verhoeven did train with the senior men’s team in 2019.
The Concacaf Men’s Olympic Qualifying tournament begins on March 18, 2021. Each team is allowed to bring in three overage players, though it’s unclear who will ultimately be brought in to help with the young national team.
Les Rouges will begin their campaign against El Salvador on March 19. FC Edmonton’s Marcus Velado-Tsegaye, who is eligible for both countries but most recently attended an El Salvador national team camp, is not included in La Selecion’s roster for the tournament.
Canada will go on to face Haiti on March 22 and Honduras on March 25. If the side finishes in the top two, it will advance to the semi-final stage on March 28, where the two semi-finalist winners will qualify for the Tokyo Olympics set for this summer.
The squad will be led in the tournament by Mauro Biello, who is an assistant coach for senior national team coach John Herdman.
The full preliminary roster for Canada can be seen here.