Five Canada U-15 Players To Watch
The Concacaf Boys U-15 Championship saw Canada showcase themselves well, topping the group stage after securing three straight wins against the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, and Panama before a slim one-nil loss to Haiti saw them bow out in the quarter-finals.
Still, the young reds left the tournament with seven goals for and just two conceded, and we wanted to highlight some of those young faces who really stepped up in Santo Domingo.
Without further ado, here’s five players that scouts will probably want to keep an eye on – especially with the Canadian Premier League’s Exceptional Young Talent rule coming into play.
Grady McDonnell – Vancouver Whitecaps Academy
Surrey’s own Grady McDonnell had a sharp performance at the tournament, where he continued to exhibit tight ball control at levels well ahead of his years. The 2008-born youngster earned four straight starts at the U-15 tournament and registered a brace in a 4-1 win over the Dominican Republic, coming one post away from adding a goal against Panama.
The Vancouver Whitecaps Academy midfielder is a new face to the Canadian camp after having captained a Republic of Ireland U-15 side for whom he featured no less than eleven times, mostly recently in April.
The six-foot-tall 15-year-old Coastal FC grad is developing well, so it’ll be interesting to see whether his Canada U-15 stint is a permanent move or simply enjoying the opportunity to see how things are through his other national eligibility. In any event, he’s showing maturity beyond his years, and that’s an important thing to get right early.
Richard Chukwu – Toronto FC Academy
Canadian-Nigerian left centre-back Richard Chukwu – who can also play as a midfielder – plays for both the Toronto FC Academy and multiple tiers of youth squads for Canada.
Chuku also enjoyed playing aged-up competition at the Concacaf Men’s U-17 Championship this year, which began when he still 14. He got plenty of minutes in five matches there before featuring in all of Canada’s matches at the Concacaf Boys U-15 Championship, grabbing assists against Dominican Republic and Guatemala.
With his brother Joses also having featured for Canada at the U-17 level, it’ll be interesting to see if the Chukwu brothers make names for themselves as the game continues to grow on domestic soil.
Kevin Khan – Feyenoord
This young midfielder has been a full-time member of the Feyenoord Rotterdam Academy system for three years now, with his first Canadian youth minutes coming after he helped the Feyenoord youth ranks become U-15 Netherlands National champions.
The Woodbridge-born youngster featured in all four matches for Canada, grabbing a goal against the Dominican Republic and an assist against Panama.
Described by the Feyenoord Academy as a positive locker room presence who shows plenty of progress both in technical skills and his physical development, it’ll be interesting to see if the five-foot-six youngster can keep progressing upwards at a high-level European academy.
William Daniels – Leicester City
A feisty full-back currently training the academy of English second division side Leicester City, William Daniels showcased himself well at the international U-15 tournament: he was a prominent presence in all four matches, making three goal contributions as a full-back: an assist against the Dominican, a goal against Guatemala, and a highlight in providing the sole matchwinner against Panama to help Canada top the group stage.
Representing the Montreal suburb of Mont-Saint-Hilaire, he trained at CS de la Vallee-du-Richelieu before embarking on a trial in England prior to his recruitment with Leicester City.
The Canada U-15 tournament also saw him provide some nice set pieces, one of which nearly saw Kemari Record-Wright procure an equalizer in their quarter-final loss to Haiti. Speaking of KMR…
While Canada Soccer’s online records say he didn’t score a goal at the tournament, don’t let that fool you: the young man bagged one against Guatemala, and proved to be a solid attacking option who could draw players in before finding a nice pass, too.
The 15-year-old number nine – or K9, as he’s called by his TFC Academy teammates – has shown a love for getting involved in the build-up play, collecting the ball in deep pockets as a false nine. Overall, the 2008-born centre-forward is showing plenty of promise, and we’re keen to show how that takes shape over the next few years.
While the Canada U-15 left the Dominican Republic without any medals, the team of youngsters still put in a strong showing to depart with wins in three of four matches and a goal difference of +5.
While these youngsters still have a long way to go if they’re to break into professional ranks, it’s nice to see that domestic talent in the U-15 age bracket is still cooking.