Canada's under-17 men's team will play South American champion Brazil in a pair of friendlies as part of its preparation for the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Indonesia later this year.
The young Canadians will face Brazil on Sept. 29 and Oct. 1, with both games in Sao Paulo.
Brazil won the last FIFA U-17 title in 2019 — the 2021 edition of the tournament was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The South Americans also lifted the trophy in 1997, 1999 and 2003, finished runner-up in 1995 and 2005, third in 1985 and 2017 and fourth in 2011.
Canada has been to seven of the past 18 men's U-17 World Cups, hosting the event in 1987. It has never made it out of the group stage.
Canada faced host Brazil in the opening match of the 2019 tournament, losing 4-1. The Canadians then lost 2-1 to Angola and 1-0 to New Zealand while Brazil moved on, eventually dispatching Mexico 2-1 in the final.
Jacen Russell-Rowe, now with the MLS's Columbus Crew, scored both of Canada's goals at the 2019 tournament.
Canada has been drawn with Spain, Mali and Uzbekistan in Group B at this year's event. The 24-country competition runs Nov. 10 to Dec. 2 across four host cities: Surabaya, Surakarta, Jakarta and Bandung.
The top two countries in each of the six groups, along with the four best third-placed teams, reach the knockout phase.
Canada qualified by reaching the final four of the CONCACAF U-17 Championship in February in Guatemala, losing 2-0 to the eventual runner-up Americans in the semifinal. Mexico won the CONCACAF crown, with Panama also qualifying for the FIFA showcase.
“It’s been nearly seven months since we qualified and the players have been doing everything at their clubs to prepare for an opportunity to play in a FIFA U17 World Cup,” Canada coach Andrew Olivieri said in a statement.
Forward Kyler Vojvodic, who led Canada with three goals at the CONCACAF tournament, returns to the roster for the Brazil games as does midfielder Antoine N’Diaye, who scored two goals in Guatemala.
Vojvodic is one of three players on the roster from the Vancouver Whitecaps academy while N’Diaye is one of three CF Montreal academy products.
There are nine players from the Toronto FC system including centre back Lazar Stefanovic, who made his first-team debut with TFC earlier this year.
Olivieri's roster also includes midfielder Taryck (TJ) Tahid, who became the youngest player in Canadian Premier League history to sign a standard contract when he joined Vancouver FC in May at 16 years 16 days old.
Forward Kevaughn Tavernier comes from CPL champion Forge FC. He signed a development contract with Forge in June, making his debut for the club earlier this month.
There are some familiar names on the roster in midfielder Alessandro Biello, son of Canadian senior assistant coach Mauro Biello, and Antoni Klukowski, whose father Mike won 36 caps for Canada.
The younger Biello is part of the CF Montreal system while Klukowski comes from Poland's Pogoń Szczecin II.
There is also League1 Ontario representation on the Canada tour roster with Simcoe Rovers fullback Allen Blegay.
Goalkeepers: Nathaniel Abraham, Toronto FC academy; Alexander O’Brien, Toronto FC academy.
Defenders: Richard Chukwu, Toronto FC academy; Allen Blegay, Simcoe Rovers (League1 Ontario); Victor Fung, Inter Miami CF academy; Etienne Godin, CF Montreal academy; Gael de Montigny, CF Montreal academy; Chimere Omeze, Toronto FC academy; Theo Rigopoulos, Toronto FC II; Lazar Stefanovic, Toronto FC II.
Midfielders: Jeevan Badwal, Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2; Alessandro Biello, CF Montreal academy; Philip Igbinobaro, Toronto FC academy; Tyler Londono, Toronto FC academy; Liam MacKenzie, Vancouver Whitecaps academy; Taryck Tahid, Vancouver FC (CPL).
Forwards: Lino Aklil, HSC Montpellier U-19 (France); Antoni Klukowski, Pogoń Szczecin II (Poland); Lucas Ozimec, Toronto FC academy; Kevaughn Tavernier, Forge FC (CPL); Kyler Vojvodic, Vancouver Whitecaps academy.
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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 18, 2023.
Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press