Canadian soccer coach calls up 4 newcomers for U.S. camp
Tyson Farago, Callum Irving, Steven Vitoria and Jamar Dixon will join team
Canadian soccer coach Benito Floro continued his talent search Friday by calling up four newcomers for a camp ahead of a Feb. 5 friendly with the United States.
The four players debuting are centre back Steven Vitoria, midfielder Jamar Dixon and goalkeepers Tyson Farago and Callum Irving.
With the camp falling outside of FIFA's international dates, Floro's 23-man roster features just five overseas players. Sixteen are with North American clubs — including 11 with Canadian squads — and the remainder unattached.
So national team stalwarts like Atiba Hutchinson, David Edgar, Milan Borjan and Samuel Piette have not been called in. Only 10 members of the U.S. camp roster were part of Floro's World Cup qualifying squad in November.
The game against the U.S. in Carson, Calif., will help Canada prepare for World Cup qualifiers against Mexico in March.
Vitoria, 29, is one of the most interesting additions. Born in Toronto to Portuguese parents, Vitoria played 15 games for the Philadelphia Union last season on loan from Portugal's Benfica. The six-foot-five defender, whose time with Benfica may be over according to reports, played for Portugal at the under-20 level.
Farago, 24, and Irving, 22, have been part of Canada's youth program, while the 26-year-old Dixon, like Vitoria, is new to the program.
Dixon is a midfielder with Finland's FF Jaro while Farago plays for FC Edmonton. Irving, a Whitecaps academy product, is an all-American 'keeper who surprisingly went undrafted in the recent MLS SuperDraft.
There are recalls for defender Doneil Henry and midfielder-forward Iain Hume. Injuries have restricted Henry's availability in recent months. Hume's last action was in the Indian Super League.
The squad also includes two teenagers from the Vancouver Whitecaps: 19-year-old midfielders Kianz Froese and Marco Bustos. But Whitecaps midfielder Russell Teibert is unavailable through injury.
The Canadian camp starts next week in San Diego, before shifting to Los Angeles on Feb. 2.
Canada is ranked No. 88 in the world compared to No. 32 for the U.S.
In other news, the Canadian Soccer Association says more than 30,000 tickets have been sold for the March 25 qualifier against Mexico at B.C. Place Stadium.