Twenty four of Canada’s most talented youth soccer players are set to head to Boucherville on July 6 for the national final of the Danone Nations Cup, the last step in their quest to earn a spot on the teams that will represent Canada at the world tournament in New York City in September.
The world’s premier youth soccer tournament, the annual Danone Nations Cup offers a once-in-a-lifetime experience to talented players between 10 and 12 years of age. As a special edition in 2017, Canada will send separate boys’ and girls’ teams to the world final. The 12 boys and 12 girls from Quebec who will participate in the final stage of the Team Canada selection process were chosen from a pool of over 700 candidates at camps that took place on April 21, 22 and 23 in Ottawa and Toronto.
Among those selected are local Laval soccer stars Adam Aouissi, Emilian Blaga and Eva Liakakos. Past participants of the Danone Nations Cup tournament include Ashton Morgan (Toronto FC), Maxime Crépeau (Montreal Impact), Fraser Aird (Vancouver Whitecaps) and Marie Levasseur (Canada’s Women National Soccer Team).
At the national final in Boucherville, the players will team up with the 24 finalists from the Ontario selection process to form four groups that will face off in separate boys’ and girls’ final matches on July 6. The two victorious groups will travel to New York City to represent Canada at the Danone Nations Cup world final in September 2017.
As the head coach for the first-ever Canadian girls’ team, Kristina Kiss, past Team Canada player and Pam Am Games medalist, is eager to share her passion and leadership with the young players. “I am so impressed with the level of talent at the Danone Nations Cup, and I am very excited to live this experience and make a dream come true for the team of girls that will head to New York. Sports help build lifelong healthy habits, and I applaud Danone for motivating Canada’s next generation of athletic talent,” she said.
According to Patrick Leduc, former Montreal Impact player and coach for the Danone Nations Cup, the tournament creates lifelong memories for players. “Danone has created a truly unique event that gives children the opportunity to play on the international stage. We have a wealth of soccer talent here in Canada, and the tournament gives us the chance to show the world the development of our boys and girls,” he said. “I am always amazed at the talent, athleticism and sense of fair play shown by these young soccer players. I am pleased to once again be part of this amazing experience.”