By Neil Davidson
THE CANADIAN PRESS
Canada was drawn alongside Brazil on both the women’s and men’s side of the draw for the Pan American Games soccer competition Friday.
The Canadian women will open July 11 against Ecuador before facing Costa Rica on July 15, and the Brazilians on July 19. Canada Soccer plans to enter an Olympic developmental (under-23) side.
The men’s competition at the Games is for under-22 teams. Canada will kick off July 12 against Brazil before facing Panama on July 16 and Peru on July 20.
Canada Soccer will use the Games as a chance to test out talent ahead of Olympic (under-23 qualifying). National men’s coach Benito Floro doubles as Olympic coach.
The Canadian women will be coached by Danny Worthington, who is Canada Soccer’s women’s Excel under-23 program director.
Worthington, who assists John Herdman with the senior side, noted that all three teams the Canadian women will be facing at the Games are also in the World Cup. So he will get a taste of how they play prior to the Games.
The unknown will be what kind of squad they will bring to the Games.
Worthington expects his 18-woman roster to be finalized in late May after an under-20 camp. Herdman will be an assistant coach at the Games.
The Pan Ams are part of a crowded soccer summer, which also sees the June 6-July 5 Women’s World Cup and the July 7-26 men’s CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Games will be played at Hamilton’s Tim Hortons Field which will be rebranded the CIBC Hamilton Pan Am Soccer Stadium during the competition.
Mexico won the men’s gold at the 2011 Games in Guadalajara, ahead of Argentina and Uruguay. Canada won the women’s gold in Mexico, ahead of Brazil and Mexico.
There are eight teams in both the men’s and women’s competition.
The top two teams in each group advance to the semifinals.
The U.S. did not enter soccer teams in the 2015 Games.
Argentina has won the Pan Am men’s gold six times, while Mexico and Brazil winning times each.
Canada has never won a men’s soccer medal, losing twice in the bronze-medal match in 1967 and 1999.
The Canadian women also won silver in 2003 and bronze in 2007.
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