Canada coach Jesse Marsch has finalized his roster for Copa America, finding places for late call-ups Ali Ahmed, Tani Oluwaseyi and Jacen Russell-Rowe in his 26-man squad.

Missing out are defender Dominick Zator, winger Charles-Andreas Brym and forward Iké Ugbo.

Marsch and the 49th-ranked Canadian men are in Atlanta preparing for the tournament opener against top-ranked Argentina on Thursday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Canada will then complete Group A play against No. 32 Peru on June 25 at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City and No. 42 Chile on June 29 at Inter&Co Stadium in Orlando.

 “The high quality of this tournament and the teams in our group are exactly what we need as we continue our preparations for (the FIFA World Cup in) 2026," Marsch, who took over as Canada coach on May 13, said in a statement. "We feel strongly that this is the best group to help us be successful in Copa America.

"It will be a big challenge for us. However, we will take it day by day and opponent by opponent.”

Oluwaseyi was a late addition to the Canada camp ahead of friendlies earlier this month against the seventh-ranked Netherlands and second-ranked France. He won his first cap off the bench against the French.

It marked a first national team call-up for the 24-year-old who has turned heads this season with seven goals and four assists for Minnesota United. Born in Abuja, Oluwaseyi is also eligible for Nigeria.

Canada Soccer announced the addition of Ahmed, a wingback with the Vancouver Whitecaps, and Russel-Rowe, a forward with the Columbus Crew, on Thursday with Zator and Brym returning to their clubs in Poland (Korona Kielce) and the Netherlands (Sparta Rotterdam), respectively.

Ugbo, who plays in France for Troyes, did not see action in the 4-0 loss to the Dutch or scoreless draw against the French. Zator and Brym both came off the bench against the Dutch, seeing 36 minutes of action.

Marsch's roster includes 20 of the 23 players called up by the interim coach Mauro Biello, now part of Marsch's staff, for the 2-0 Copa qualifying win over Trinidad and Tobago in March.

Those not carrying over are goalkeeper Jonathan Sirois, defender Joel Waterman and Ugbo.

The other additions from the March roster are goalkeeper Thomas McGill, defender Kyle Hiebert, wingbacks Richie Laryea and Ahmed, and forwards Junior Hoilett and Oluwaseyi.

Other familiar faces includes Maxime Crepeau, Alphonso Davies, Jonathan David, Stephen Eustaquio, Alistair Johnston, Cyle Larin, Jonathan Osorio and Samuel Piette.

It's a young squad with 15 players aged 25 or younger. There are just three players 30 or over — Crepeau (30), Osorio (32) and Hoilett (34). The youngest player in the squad is 18-year-old Fulham defender Luc de Fougerolles.

The 48th edition of Copa América, co-organized by CONMEBOL and CONCACAF, features 16 teams playing in 14 stadiums across 13 U.S. cities.

CONCACAF has six guest teams entered — the four CONCACAF Nations League semifinalists (the 11th-ranked U.S., No. 14 Mexico, No. 45 Panama and No. 55 Jamaica) and two play-in winners (Canada and No. 52 Costa Rica).

It's Canada's first trip to Copa America.

The Canadian men were slated to take part in the 2001 Copa America as a reward for winning the Gold Cup in February 2000. But Canada Soccer decided not to attend less than a week before its scheduled start in Colombia.

CONMEBOL announced on the eve of the tournament that it would be postponed to 2002 due to security concerns. But five days later, it decided to go ahead with the event in Colombia.

Canada, which was slated to open play against Argentina in Medellin, had already sent its players back to their clubs so did not take part. Costa Rica subsequently took the place of Canada, joining Mexico as a guest team at the 12-country tournament.


Canada Copa America Roster

Goalkeepers: Maxime Crépeau, Portland Timbers (MLS); Thomas McGill, Brighton and Hove Albion (England); Dayne St. Clair, Minnesota United (MLS).

Defenders: Moïse Bombito, Colorado Rapids (MLS); Derek Cornelius, Malmö FF (Sweden); Alphonso Davies, Bayern Munich (Germany); Luc de Fougerolles, Fulham (England); Kyle Hiebert, St. Louis City SC (MLS); Alistair Johnston, Celtic (Scotland); Richie Laryea, Toronto FC (MLS); Kamal Miller, Portland Timbers (MLS).

Midfielders: Ali Ahmed, Vancouver Whitecaps (MLS); Mathieu Choinière, CF Montréal (MLS); Stephen Eustáquio, FC Porto (Portugal); Ismaël Koné, Watford (England); Jonathan Osorio, Toronto FC (MLS); Samuel Piette, CF Montréal (MLS); Jacob Shaffelburg, Nashville SC (MLS).

Forwards: Theo Bair, Motherwell (Scotland); Tajon Buchanan, Inter Milan (Italy); Jonathan David, LOSC Lille (France); Junior Hoilett, Aberdeen (Scotland); Cyle Larin, RCD Mallorca (Spain); Liam Millar, FC Basel (Switzerland); Tani Oluwaseyi, Minnesota United (MLS); Jacen Russell-Rowe, Columbus Crew (MLS).


This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 15, 2024