TORONTO — Canada coach Octavio Zambrano’s search for young talent continues.
Zambrano has named four first-time call-ups to the senior team in his 23-man roster for an Oct. 8 friendly with El Salvador in Houston. Canada is ranked 96th in the world, three spots ahead of the Central American side.
The newcomers are Louis Beland-Goyette of the Montreal Impact, Caniggia Elva of Germany’s VfB Stuttgart II, Milovan Kapor of Israel’s Hapoel Hadera FC and Kris Twardek of England’s Millwall.
Two other players who have been in camp before but have yet to make their senior debut are Kwame Awuah of New York City FC and Jordan Schweitzer of Orlando City B.
With qualifying for the 2022 World Cup qualifying possibly starting soon after the 2018 tournament, Zambrano said “We need to see everyone.”
Veterans in the squad include Tosaint Ricketts, Adam Straith, Dejan Jakovic and Samuel Piette. Forwards Cyle Larin and Anthony Jackson-Hamel have also been summoned.
Twardek is a 20-year-old winger who represented the Czech Republic at the youth level before playing for Canada’s under-20 side. Born in Toronto and raised in Ottawa, he has seen some first-team action for Millwall in England’s second-tier Championship.
“It’s right for us to see him,” said Zambrano. “The timing is right.”
Kapor is a 26-year-old from Toronto who has been converted to centre back from midfielder.
“He’s another player we want to see up close and personal,” said Zambrano. “We have to get depth on that part of our team. We’ll see how Milovan performs during camp.”
Born in St. Lucia and raised in Calgary, Caniggia Ginola Elva is named after Argentina’s Claudio Caniggia and France’s David Ginola. He’s a 23-year-old strong, athletic midfielder whom Zambrano saw during a camp in Qatar.
“He was very good … He was one of the players that stood out,” Zambrano recalled.
“Another interesting player who deserves now a closer look,” he added.
Elva, who got a rave review from the Stuttgart coach, was called into the Canadian team after 22-year-old Montreal midfielder David Choiniere got injured.
Beland-Goyette is a 22-year-old midfielder who has played in six games for the Impact this season.
“I like him. He’s a steady player, he’s a good player. He has a good soccer mind,” said Zambrano.
Nine of the 23 players selected were born in 1995 or later.
Vancouver Whitecaps teenager Alphonso Davies is unavailable for the game after being red-carded last time out against Jamaica.
Zambrano said he remains in contact with star midfielder Atiba Hutchinson, who played against Jamaica. He says while the Besiktas veteran remains committed to the program, Hutchinson will likely only be called up for matches that matter.
The Oct. 8 game is to be played at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, with a portion of the proceeds going to hurricane Harvey relief efforts.
Goalkeepers: Simon Thomas, FK Bodo/Glimt (Norway) Jayson Leutwiler, Blackburn Rovers (England).
Defenders: Juan Cordova, CD Huachipato (Chile) Kwame Awuah, New York City FC (MLS) Dejan Jakovic, New York Cosmos (NASL) Milovan Kapor, Hapoel Hadera FC (Israel) Mark-Anthony Kaye, Louisville City FC (USL) Adam Straith, VfL Sportfreunde Lotte (Germany) CB- Steven Vitoria, Lechia Gdansk (Poland) Michael Petrasso, Queens Park Rangers (England).
Midfielders: Samuel Piette, Montreal Impact (MLS) Jordan Schweitzer, Orlando City B (USL) Scott Arfield, Burnley (England) Kris Twardek, Millwall (England) Caniggia Elva, VfB Stuttgart II (Germany) Fraser Aird, Dunfermline Athletic (Scotland) Raheem Edwards, Toronto FC (MLS) Jonathan Osorio, Toronto FC (MLS) Louis Beland-Goyette, Montreal,Impact Montreal Keven Aleman, CD Saprissa (Costa Rica).
Forwards: Anthony Jackson-Hamel, Montreal Impact (MLS) Cyle Larin, Orlando City SC (MLS) Tosaint Ricketts, Toronto FC (MLS).