The competitive soccer keeps coming for Canada’s youth national teams.

After the Canadian women’s under-17 national team’s CONCACAF U-17 Women’s Championship ended in heartbreak on Friday with an extra-time defeat to Mexico that cost CanW17 a place at the U-17 World Cup, Canada Soccer on Monday named the 21-player CanM20 roster that will compete in the 2024 CONCACAF Men’s U-20 Championship Qualifiers.

The qualifying format is a three-game group stage that will take place in Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago beginning on February 23. CanM20 will face Dominica, St. Vincent & The Grenadines, and Trinidad & Tobago. The six qualifying group winners will qualify for the 2024 CONCACAF Men’s U-20 Championship this summer. 

“With this new format for the Concacaf Men’s U-20 Championship, we’ll have to earn our way into the final qualifying round with no margin for error,” said Andrew Olivieri, Canada Soccer’s Men’s National Youth Excel Director and CanM20 head coach. “While the environment and opponents will be a big test, especially Trinidad & Tobago in Port of Spain, we see it as a real blessing to be able to bring a new generation of players together for the first time and do it in such meaningful matches.”​

There are a variety of names in the squad that will be familiar to Canadian MLS and Canadian Premier League fans.

Toronto FC defender Lazar Stefanovic, who was an MLS NEXT All-Star for TFC II as well as making three senior appearances for the Reds in 2023, is in the group, alongside a trio of teammates in Nathaniel Abraham, Theo Rigopoulos, and Adam Pearlman.

CF Montréal have three players in the group, including preseason camp invitee Alessandro Biello, son of current CanMNT interim head coach Mauro, while Vancouver Whitecaps preseason invitee Jeevan Badwal is also named. There’s also a place for highly touted Colorado Rapids MLS SuperDraft pick Kimani Stewart-Baynes.

Two standout teenage CPL talents are included: Vancouver FC’s defensive star James Cameron, who was nominated for the CPL Best U-21 Canadian Player award in recognition of his impressive debut season, and Forge FC winger Kevaughn Tavernier, a graduate of Sigma FC who was brought into the Forge fold by Bobby Smyrniotis and given his debut in September.

Related read: Vancouver FC prodigy James Cameron attracting serious interest from MLS and Europe: report

Among the other interesting names of note are several young talents on the books at big European clubs, such as Oumar Diallo, a young clubmate of Tajon Buchanan’s at Inter Milan and Wolfsburg’s Jesse Costa.

Many of the players in the squad, including the likes of Stefanovic, Biello, Badwal, and Tavernier, were among the group that went to the men’s U-17 World Cup with CanM17 just three months ago, and they now move up a level to kick off 2024.

Meanwhile, this will be Cameron’s first time representing Canada after he only broke into the Vancouver FC team last summer. Remarkably, after his meteoric rise to prominence in Langley, the 19-year-old has as many professional competitive minutes of action to his name as the 20 other players on the roster combined.

“It is an incredible honour to be called upon to represent my country for the first time,” Cameron said. “These last 12 months have been a whirlwind in the best way… I’m so excited to show what I can do for Canada.”

Olivieri told media on Monday that Cameron’s regular game time was a key consideration in bringing him in. “One of the most important principles for this squad was bringing in players in the best form that they could be.”

He added that he would also have loved to call up talented Fulham defender Luc De Fougerolles but he couldn’t be released due to club commitments as the CanM20 window is not a full FIFA window and so clubs are not obligated to release players for the camp.

For fans looking to watch Canada’s young stars in action, there’s some good news: Canada Soccer confirmed that all of CanM20’s qualifying matches will air live exclusively on OneSoccer.

Full CanM20 roster

​GK – Grégoire Świderski | FRA / Girondins Bordeaux  
​GK – Ivan Pavela | CRO / NK Lokomotiva Zagreb
​GK – Nathaniel Abraham | CAN / Toronto FC
​D – Theo Rigopoulos | CAN / Toronto FC  
​D – Christian Greco-Taylor | ​ Free agent
​D – Sergei Kozlovskiy | CAN / CF Montréal
​D – Lazar Stefanovic | CAN / Toronto FC
​D – James Cameron | CAN / Vancouver FC  
​D – Ethan Schilte-Brown | SCO / Kilmarnock FC  
​D – Adam Pearlman | CAN / Toronto FC Academy  
​M – Alessandro Biello | CAN / CF Montréal  
​M – Tiago Codinha | NED / Twente Enschede  
​M – Jeevan Badwal | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC
​M – Jesse Costa | GER / VFL Wolfsburg  
​M – Matteo Schiavoni | CAN / CF Montréal  
​M – Myles Morgan | Free agent
​F – Oumar Diallo | ITA / Inter Milan  
​F – Kimani Stewart-Baynes | USA / Colorado Rapids  
​F – Kevaughn Tavernier | CAN / Forge FC  
​F – Tavio Ciccarelli | ENG / Sheffield United  
​F – Santiago Lopez | MEX / Pumas Unam