It is an exciting time for pre-teen soccer players vying for their chance to represent Canada at an international tournament in September.
The Canadian Finals for the Danone Nations Cup are being held this week in Boucherville.
Forty-eight, 10- to 12-year-old soccer champs take to the field for their biggest competition yet.
Jordan Hendricks has been waiting for this moment for more than a year.
“I’m a little nervous. I want to move on and I want play against the other countries,” Jordan said.
Jordan is one of the 24 boys in all of Canada hoping to have a shot in playing for Team Canada in the international tournament.
Jordan and his mom came from Toronto and she says this is a dream come true.
“The excitement of the opportunity to represent your country and the excitement of knowing, ‘I worked hard and that there are opportunities out there for me,’” Tonya Hendricks said.
Both the girls and the boys team are made of children from across Canada .
Their coaches say the excitement is palpable.
“It’s a huge deal. They were so excited from the moment we started tryouts. Until this moment now — a range of emotions from excitement, anxiousness and some stress,” coach Kristina Kiss said.
On Thursday, the teams were split into two teams sporting the national red and white. The winner will get to wear the Canadian Jersey on an international pitch.
“Pretty excited and a little nervous. It’s the first time I’m going to wear the Canada jersey,” player Julien Khoury said.
The Danone tournament started in 2000 and has grown the past 17 years.
Soccer in Canada is more popular and the competition becomes more fierce, said Natacha Gouvela, spokesperson for Danone.
The number of children signing up is rising, according to Gouvela.
The young soccer prodigies have been selected from an initial group of 20,000 nationwide.
“The kids are a hundred times better than when I grew up. Better coaching, better facilities they understand training and methodology and philosophy,” Kiss said.
The winners will be heading to New York in September.
The twelve boys who will compete as Team Canada are:
- Emilian Blaga, Laval, QC
- Nathan Karanganwa, Quebec City, QC
- Julien Khoury, Montreal, QC
- Daniele Mastroianni, Mont-Royal, QC
- Ben Penticost, Dunrobin, ON
- Loic-Fabien Sany Kong Boumsong, Quebec City, QC
- Guy-Marcel Sany Kong Abe, Quebec City, QC
- Ethan Agyare-Danso, Etobicoke, ON
- Hadi Assaad, Ottawa, ON
- Cyrann Essindi, Ottawa, ON
- Jordan Hendriks, Brampton, ON
- Tremaine Henry, Brampton, ON
The twelve girls who will complete as Team Canada are:
- Sabrina Bambozzi, Saint-Eustache, QC
- Jade Bordeleau, Terrebonne, QC
- Rosalie Olou, Blainville, QC
- Nellie Sigman, Mascouche, QC
- Anaïs van Doesburg, Pierrefonds, QC
- Katerina Vassilounis, Saint-Lazare, QC
- Victoria Godinho, Toronto, ON
- Ava Greco, Brooklin, ON
- Naomi Kato, Toronto, ON
- Angelina Kristic, Georgetown, ON
- Carmya Mastrangelo, St. Albert, AB
- Alexia Ntakos, Georgetown, ON
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