The Canadian U21 team participated in the Toulon Tournament in the last two weeks, facing some of the best youth national teams in the world. Canada finished sixth out of 12 teams, with an excellent record of one win, two draws and one loss.
The group had a total of five Bleu-blanc-noir players, including goalkeeper James Pantemis and Shamit Shome, from the first team, and defender Daniel Kinumbe and midfielders Mathieu Choinière and Clément Bayiha, from the Impact U19.
“The tournament went well,” said Impact midfielder Shamit Shome. “We performed beyond expectations and the structure in place was good. We had good results and finished in a good position, but we would have liked to do better. We want to be able to compete against the best teams so it was a good opportunity to test ourselves.”
Canada remained unbeaten in the group stage, including a 0-0 draw against Portugal in its first game, taking everyone by surprise against one of the best youth national teams in the world.
“We want to build on that and keep playing against the best teams,” added Shome. “If you want to grow the sport in Canada and be successful, we have to beat the best. It was a good test for us and it puts standards in place for the future. I think our best game was against Portugal. We applied the tactics well and defensively, we were strong.”
Goalkeeper James Pantemis, who played three out of the four games during the tournament, sees these Canadian performances as a positive thing for the future of soccer in the country.
“I think things are shaping up well for the future of the Canadian team,” said Pantemis. “We played a few games with many players born in 1999 and 2000 that helped us get good results. The staff put everything in place for us to be ready for the tournament with a winning mentality.”
In the entire squad, Daniel Kinumbe is the only player to have played every single minute in the four games Canada played. He also made his debut for the national team. Mathieu Choinière also scored for Canada in the 2-1 loss to France, in the last game.