Canada arrived in France a few days ago, considered as underdogs for the Toulon Tournament. Five Impact representatives, including four from the Academy, are part of the team coached by John Herdman and Mauro Biello.
Joining goalkeeper James Pantemis, midfielders Shamit Shome, Mathieu Choinière and Clément Bayiha, is defender Daniel Kinumbe.
He plays for the Impact U19 and has had an excellent season in the Development Academy. He was also invited to the first team’s preseason camp in January and February, alongside Choinière and Bayiha.
He was part of the defensive unit that earned a 0-0 clean sheet against Portugal in the tournament’s first game, and his first international game in his young career.
“It was an amazing experience,” said Kinumbe. “I do everything I can to get ready for the next games and I am proud to represent my country. As a team, we are proud to have gotten a clean sheet against Portugal. We responded well to a good opponent, even if we would have preferred to get the win.”
The win came three days later. On Thursday, against Turkey, who had won its first game 2-1 against Japan, the Canadians were able to control the game until the last few minutes, before Noah Verhoeven scored with his left foot off a pass from Shamit Shome.
Kinumbe has played every minute of both games so far, helping his team earn two clean sheets. Canada is the only team with no goals allowed in the tournament so far.
For the Montreal defender, even if it’s a first, he plays with many other Bleu-blanc-noir players, which helps him adapt.
“I am happy to be here with my teammates,” added the defender. “It adds to our chemistry and we are proud to represent our club with the national team.”
The Canada U21 team, currently first in its group, will have everything to play for in its last game against Japan, on Sunday, June 3, at 9am EDT, a match of vital importance to qualify for the semifinals.