Interim head coach Colin Miller has selected a group featuring eight players without competitive caps, and some big names that have dominated the Canadian soccer landscape, like Dwayne De Rosario, have been left out as this country looks toward developing a new core.
“My thoughts were to try and find a mixture, a blend of youth and one or two senior players in the group,” Miller told reporters on a conference call on Tuesday. “I’m excited to work with the guys and I can’t wait to get going.”
Miller expanded on De Rosario’s omission, saying the player was disappointed at being left out after initially getting named to the 35-man preliminary roster.
“I actually spoke to Dwayne at length and said to him that we were looking at a younger group, looking at moving the national program forward,” Miller said. “It was just a case of numbers with Dwayne, but I saw certainly in the future, you know, Dwayne’s going to be a good age at that point when the next World Cup qualifying comes around.
“He was disappointed as you would imagine, but it was something that I felt in this particular group it was a fantastic opportunity to talented young players.”
Another high-profile player missing out is Lucas Cavallini, a 20-year old Toronto native who plays for Juventud de Las Piedras on loan from Club Nacional de Football, in the Uruguayan Primera División. Apparently the young star turned down the chance to play for Canada in the Gold Cup for “personal reasons.”
“It would be easy for me to judge him at this point and say that he’s made a foolish mistake, but he’s a young boy that has opted to, for whatever reason, to stay out of this camp,” Miller said. “It’s disappointing, but we’re hopeful that he’ll still play a big part of our national team going forward.”
The Canadian squad meets up in Oxnard, Calif., on Wednesday, and a 23rd player is expected to be added before Thursday’s roster deadline.
Canada kicks off its Gold Cup campaign with a match against Martinique on July 7 at the Rose Bowl.