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Canada Soccer have announced their Para Soccer National Team squad for the upcoming IFCPF Men’s World Cup Salou 2022 in Spain. Coach Drew Ferguson has selected 13 players for the May tournament, Canada’s first official international Para Soccer tournament since before the global pandemic.

“We are very excited to have qualified for the 2022 IFCPF Men’s World Cup in Salou, Spain,” said Drew Ferguson, Canada Soccer’s Para Soccer National Team. “We are in a very tough group with England, Netherlands, and Venezuela, but this is an important test as we build our program and try to sneak an upset or two. We are also taking some new players that have never played at this level before, so it will be a great learning experience for them.”

The IFCPF Men’s World Cup will be broadcast live for free on Eurosport (https://www.esportplus.tv/home) with Canada’s three group matches against England on Tuesday 3 May, Netherlands on Thursday 5 May, and Venezuela on Saturday 7 May. Fans will find extended coverage across Canada Soccer’s digital channels on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube featuring the hashtag #CanPara.

Canada’s five new players are Yuri Costa, Dante Del Cul, Shaun Etherington, Denis McGrath and teenager Isaiah Smeaton, who at age 15 becomes Canada’s youngest player at an IFCPF world competition. All five are eager to make their international debuts with Canada, whose last international match in December 2019 was the program’s 101st all time since 2005.

Veterans include recent Players of the Year Samuel Charron and Damien Wojtiw. Charron, the program’s all-time leading goalscorer (43 goals in 51 matches), was the Player of the Tournament at the last IFCPF World Cup in 2019 while goalkeeper Damien Wojtiw was the Copa América IFCPF Golden Gloves winner in 2018. Other returning players are Lucas Bruno, Chris Fawcett, Diego Gilbert, Nicholas Heffernan, Duncan McDonald and Ryan Watson. Dustin Hodgson, the program’s all-time leader with 90 international “A” matches, is unavailable because of family commitments.

From 15 nations competing at the IFCPF World Cup (four groups), eight nations will advance to the Quarterfinals while the other seven will advance to the seeding rounds. Canada are expected to play six matches through to a final world ranking. Other nations are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Germany, Iran, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Spain, Thailand, Ukraine and USA.

Canada’s Para Soccer National Team competes in several global competitions over a four-year cycle, including the International Federation of CP Football’s biennial World Championships. The sport features seven-a-side football for players with cerebral palsy or recovering from stroke or brain injuries. This marks Canada’s ninth participation on the IFCPF world stage since 2005, having finished as high as ninth overall in 2009.

CANADA A-Z
Name | Age | Where they grew up
Bruno, Lucas | 25 | Calgary, AB, CAN
Charron, Samuel | 24 | Ottawa, ON, CAN
Costa, Yuri | 28 | Rio de Janeiro, BRA
Del Cul, Dante | 20 | Kitchener, ON, CAN
Etherington, Shaun | 31 | Calgary, AB, CAN & Plainfield, IL, USA
Fawcett, Chris | 31 | Kingston, ON, CAN
Gilbert, Diego | 21* | Toronto, ON, CAN
Heffernan, Nicholas | 23 | London, ON, CAN
McDonald, Duncan | 21 | Powell River, BC, CAN
McGrath, Denis | 25 | Cincinnati, OH, USA
Smeaton-Katzenberg, Isaiah | 15 | Toronto, ON, CAN
Watson, Ryan | 22 | Montréal, QC, CAN
Wojtiw, Damien | 40 | Toronto, ON, CAN

*Diego Gilbert turns 21 on 11 May

MEDIA CONTACTS

Richard Scott
National Teams Program | Programme de l’équipe nationale
rscott@canadasoccer.com
m. +1 613.818.0305

Marianne Gagné
National Teams Program | Programme de l’équipe nationale
mgagne@canadasoccer.com
m. +1 613.402.3869