U-20 Neighbor Watch: Guess Who’s Not on Canada’s Roster For the 2020 CONCACAF Women’s Under-20 Championship

Update (04-Mar-2020):  Sonia Walk is a Boston College commit for 2020. (Twitter)

Here’s a hint:  All three age-eligible players have a total of 61 senior caps for Canada.

Here’s another hint:  All three players were on Canada’s roster for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

And, the answer is:  Jordyn Huitema, Julia Grosso, and Jayde Riviere.
(links go to their CanadaSoccer.com profile)

The absence of Jordyn Huitema, who plays professionally for PSG in France, is the least surprising, as her club was not obligated to release her for this tournament.

However the omission of both Julia Grosso, who is a sophomore at Texas (profile), and Jayde Riviere, who is a freshman at Michigan (profile), is at least somewhat surprising.  Though, it would seem to indicate that CANWNT head coach Kenneth Heiner-Møller considers both players integral players as the senior team prepares for the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

Additionally, 15 year-old Olivia Smith (CanadaSoccer.com profile), who has 2 senior caps, is also omitted from this roster.  All four players were not listed on Canada’s provisional roster for this tournament.

While these omissions may be disappointing to Canadian fans and neutrals, they are certainly a relief to U-20 USWNT fans, as the USA and Canada are on an almost certain collision course for a semifinal match-up that will decide who goes to the 2020 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup and who does not.  This year, there is no third-place match, as CONCACAF has just two at-large spots for the U-20 WWC, which will be hosted by Costa Rica and Panama.

Of course, both Canada and the United States have to reach the semifinals first, which is not as guaranteed as before, due to the extended qualifying format.  (full schedule, group details, and knockout bracket)

Moving on to the players actually on the final roster…

This roster skews young.  Ten players on the roster was born in 2002 or 2003, while just five players were born in the cut-off year of 2000.  With a median age of 18.13, this team is younger than Mexico’s roster (18.60) and definitely younger than the United States’ roster (19.48).

A whopping eleven players were members of Canada’s 2018 FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup squad that finished fourth in Uruguay.  That number is even higher than Mexico’s collection of nine players from their runner-up squad for that same tournament.

One reason for the high number of U-17 WWC veterans is that Canada’s coach at that tournament, retired Canadian international Rhian Wilkinson (CanadaSoccer.com profile), is also the coach for this year’s U-20 team (as well as this year’s U-17 team).  Fellow retired international Carmelina Moscato (CanadaSoccer.com profile) is on Wilkinson’s staff as an assistant coach.

The youngest player on the roster, Jade Rose, just turned 17 last week, and has already been in two senior CANWNT camps, though remains uncapped.

The Canada to NCAA pipeline continues to pump out recruits:  18 of the 20 players are either currently with D1 teams, or are committed to joining a D1 team later this year.  Memphis and West Virginia each provide three players for this rosters (counts include early enrollees).  No other team has more than one player on the roster.


CANADA’S ROSTER FOR THE 2020 CONCACAF WOMEN’S UNDER-20 CHAMPIONSHIP

Notes:

  • Player names are hyperlinked to their CanadaSoccer.com profile, if available.
  • School names are hyperlinked to a player’s collegiate team profile.
  • For those not yet in college, their NCAA commit school, if known is included after their club team, with a hyperlink to an official announcement, if available.
  • Positions are from the provisional roster, except for Jade Rose’s.

Goalkeepers (2):
Kayza Massey (West Virginia)
Anna Karpenko (Super REX Ontario; Harvard, 2020)

Defenders (6):
Caleigh Boeckx (Rice)
Molly Quarry (Vancouver Whitecaps FC Acad.*; Nebraska, 2020)
Emma Regan (Texas)
Jade Rose (Super REX Ontario) {listed as a midfielder}
Caitlin Shaw (Oregon)
Joanna Verzosa-Dolezal (Vancouver Whitecaps FC Acad.*; Illinois, 2020)

Midfielders (6):
Wayny Balata (SMU)
Samantha Chang (South Carolina)
Marika Guay (Santa Clara)
Lara Kazandjian (Memphis^)
Maya Ladhani (West Virginia^)
Sonia Walk (Super REX Ontario; Boston College, 2020***)
***added 04-Mar-2020

Forwards (6):
Tanya Boychuk (Memphis)
Mya Jones (Memphis)
Kaila Novak (UCLA, 2020^^)
Léonie Portelance (West Virginia^)
Jazmine Wilkinson (Vancouver Whitecaps FC Acad.*; Arizona State, 2020)
Andersen Williams (Vancouver Whitecaps FC Acad.*, Texas A&M, 2020)

^Known early enrollees for 2020, per their collegiate profiles.
^^May be an early enrollee for 2020.  Not confirmed.

*The Whitecaps Academy players are all part of the “Girls Elite Super REX” program.


Table 1:  Canada’s Roster for the 2020 CONCACAF Women’s Under-20 Championship – Detailed

Player                    P.   Ht.      D.O.B.      Age    Team
Karpenko, Anna            GK   5'8"   04/10/2002   17.87   Super REX Ontario
Massey, Kayza             GK   5'9"   02/02/2001   19.05   West Virginia
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Boeckx, Caleigh           DF   5'3"   07/26/2000   19.58   Rice
Quarry, Molly             DF   5'8"   03/05/2002   17.97   Whitecaps FC Acad.
Regan, Emma               DF   5'7"   01/28/2000   20.07   Texas
Rose, Jade                DF   5'9"   02/12/2003   17.03   Super REX Ontario
Shaw, Caitlin             DF   5'5"   07/20/2001   18.59   Oregon
Verzosa-Dolezal, Joanna   DF   5'8"   03/12/2002   17.95   Whitecaps FC Acad.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Balata, Wayny             MF   5'7"   06/25/2001   18.66   SMU
Chang, Samantha           MF   5'5"   07/13/2000   19.61   South Carolina
Guay, Marika              MF   5'4"   01/17/2000   20.10   Santa Clara
Kazandjian, Lara          MF   5'0"   09/27/2002   17.40   Memphis
Ladhani, Maya             MF   5'4"   09/06/2002   17.46   West Virginia
Walk, Sonia               MF   5'6"   08/12/2002   17.53   Super REX Ontario
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Boychuk, Tanya            FW   5'6"   06/20/2000   19.67   Memphis
Jones, Mya                FW   5'5"   08/01/2001   18.56   Memphis
Novak, Kaila              FW   5'6"   03/24/2002   17.92   UCLA
Portelance, Léonie        FW   5'5"   11/07/2001   18.29   West Virginia
Wilkinson, Jazmine        FW   5'4"   03/08/2002   17.96   Whitecaps FC Acad.
Williams, Andersen        FW   5'5"   04/02/2002   17.89   Whitecaps FC Acad.

Sources:  Heights are pulled from CanadaSoccer.com profiles (converted from centimeters), the official FIFA player list for the 2018 U-17 WWC (converted from centimeters), and collegiate profiles.  Dates of birth are from the provisional roster.  Age is calculated, based on the first day of the tournament (22 February 2020).


NOTABLES

Birth Year Breakdown:    Just 5 players have 2000 birth years.  Another 5 players were born in 2001.  The remaining 10 players are age-eligible for next cycle’s U-20 WWC, with a whopping 9 players born in 2002, plus a lone 2003-born player:  Jade Rose.

Age Stats:  While the average age is 18.46, the median skews about four months younger, at 18.13.  The oldest player is Santa Clara’s Marika Guay at 20.10, while the youngest is Jade Rose at just 17.03 year-old.

NCAA Breakdown:  Two schools, Memphis and West Virginia, lead with 3 current players each (counting early enrollees).  All other schools only have one player, whether currently enrolled or is expected to be enrolled for the fall 2020 season.  In total, 19 of the 20 players have NCAA connections, with one player unknown/uncommitted:  Jade Rose.

Eleven From Uruguay:  More than half of the players on this roster were members of Canada’s 2018 U-17 WWC squad.  Four of those players – Wayny Balata, Léonie Portelance, Kayza Massey, and Caitlin Shaw – were born in 2001.  Six more were born in 2002:  Anna Karpenko, Lara Kazandjian, Kaila Novak, Sonia Walk, Jazmine Wilkinson, and Andersen Williams.  The lone 2003-born player on that roster and this roster is, of course, Jade Rose.

Twelve from 2018:  In addition to the eleven above, one more player was on an official U-17 tournament roster in 2018.  Midfielder Maya Ladhani was involved in CONCACAF qualifying for the 2018 U-17 WWC, but did not make the list for Uruguay.  Four of the eleven players in Uruguay were not on the CONCACAF qualifying roster:  Kayza Massey, Léonie Portelance, Lara Kazandjian, and Jazmine Wilkinson.

Senior Experience:  Two players have spent time with the full CANWNT, Emma Regan, who has 1 cap and Emma Rose, who was called up for two camps in 2019.  Regan was named to Canada’s roster for the CONCACAF Women’s Championship in 2018, coming on as a substitute against Cuba.  She has not been in a senior camp since that tournament.

Experienced Youth:  Emma Regan and Caitlin Shaw are the only players on the roster to participate in multiple FIFA youth tournaments.  Regan played in both the U-17 WWC and U-20 WWC back in 2016, while Shaw played in the 2016 and 2018 editions of the U-17 WWC.  Two additional players, both born in 2000, were in Jordan for the 2016 U-17 WWC:  Marika Guay and Samantha Chang.

2018 U-20 Returnees:  Just three players – Tanya Boychuk, Emma Regan, and Caitlin Shaw – were members of Canada’s U-20 qualifying squad in 2018.  With Haiti qualifying over Canada for the 2018 U-20 WWC, Regan is the only player with U-20 WWC experience on the roster.

Canada Soccer Connection:  Future Nebraska Cornhusker Molly Quarry is the daughter of Morgan Quarry, who was the General Manager for the Canada Men’s National Team from 2000 to 2018 (CanadaSoccer.com profile).