The 2015 Canadian U20 World Cup qualifying team was supposed to be different. That it was not was the continuation of a deeply troubling valley in Canadian youth national team soccer that’s continued without much substantive change through the present day.
The 2015 team entered CONCACAF World Cup qualifying in 2015 with no shortage of hyped players. Marco Bustos had already signed professionally with the Vancouver Whitecaps and was (and is) a rare attacking mind. Cyle Larin was less than two months away from embarking the single most productive rookie season in MLS history, and in fact he gave his MLS draft thank-you speech from the cloistered Canadian U20 camp in Jamaica. Sam Adekugbe, Marco Carducci, Jackson Farmer, Kianz Froese… the names stretched toward the horizon. This was, without much question, the best Canadian U20 team in living memory.
It also turned out to be the worst performance in a U20 World Cup qualifying tournament in Canadian history. C’est la vie.