SPORTS

Floro assembles camp for first camp of 2015 ahead of friendlies with Iceland

01/09/2015 12:00 EST | Updated 03/11/2015 05:59 EDT
TORONTO - Benito Floro has called in 24 players, ranging from academy talent to veteran Dwayne De Rosario, for the first camp of 2015 for the Canadian men's soccer team.

With European seasons in full swing and without the benefit of a FIFA international window, Floro has summoned a predominantly North American-based squad.

The Canadians start training Monday in Florida ahead of a friendly next Friday against Iceland. The two teams will meet again Jan. 19. Both games will take place at the University of Central Florida.

"It's true that speaking of the physical condition, the players may not be fully fit. It is for that, as I've said before, that we need to learn how to play to win the game using our resources," Floro said in a statement Friday. "It means that they won't have a lot of energy but we need to control the situation in the game. We need to develop our plan and strategy and that's very important."

Other veterans in camp include goalie Kenny Stamatopoulos, defender Dejan Jakovic, midfielders Patrice Bernier and Julian de Guzman and forward Iain Hume.

The squad includes five players from Toronto FC and its academy, four from the Montreal Impact organization and three from the Vancouver Whitecaps and their residency program.

Canada is currently ranked No. 112 in the world, compared to No. 33 for Iceland.

"We always do things in order to win the game. However, it is true in a friendly game the aim is to play well in addition to gaining a result," said Floro. "We need to develop a good defensive structure. But it's true to that winning games is always a happy time so our intention is to play well and to win the games."

Canada, whose last outing was a 0-0 tie in Panama in November, is building towards this summer's Gold Cup.

Canada is 1-5-4 under Floro, having defeated Jamaica, lost to Colombia, Mauritania, Australia, the Czech Republic and Slovenia, and tied Panama, Mauritania, Bulgaria and Moldova. On the plus side, the Canadian men lost just once in 2014 (going 1-1-3) and that was a 1-0 defeat at the hands of third-ranked Colombia.

Iceland is coming off a 2-0 upset of the Netherlands in October Euro 2016 qualifying play and stands second in Group A with a 3-1-0 record.

Iceland, led by former Sweden and Nigeria coach Lars Lagerback, is closing on its highest-ever FIFA ranking (No. 28 in October 2014). The team was as low as 131 in April 2012.

The team came close to becoming the smallest country to ever qualify for the World Cup, losing 2-0 on aggregate to Croatia in a playoff to reach for the 2014 tournament.

Canada and Iceland have played once before — a 1-1 tie in Iceland in 2007.

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CANADA

Goalkeepers: Sean Melvin, Vancouver Whitecaps; Quillan Roberts, Toronto FC; Kenny Stamatopoulos, AIK (Sweden).

Defenders: Nana Attakora, unattached; Kevon Black, Toronto FC; Jonathan Grant, Sigma FC; Dejan Jakovic, Shimizu S-Pulse (Japan); Manjrekar James, PMFC (Hungary); Ashtone Morgan, Toronto FC; Karl W. Ouimette, Montreal Impact; Adam Straith, unattached; Maxim Tissot, Montreal Impact.

Midfielders: Patrice Bernier, Montreal Impact; Christoper Mannella, Toronto FC; Julian de Guzman, unattached; Jonathan Osorio, Toronto FC; Issey Nakajima-Farran, Montreal Impact; Samuel Piette, Deportivo la Coruna (Spain); Daniel Stanese, FC Augsburg II (Germany); Russell Teibert, Vancouver Whitecaps.

Forwards: Caleb Clarke, Vancouver Whitecaps; Dwayne De Rosario, unattached; Iain Hume, Kerala Blasters (India); Kyle Porter, unattached.

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