February 13, 2015 3:28 pm

Canada won’t field best players at Pan Am games due to conflicting events

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TORONTO – The Pan American Games soccer competition finds itself in the middle of a busy summer soccer calendar, meaning Canada will not be able to field full-strength teams.

The Games, which run July 10 to 26, bump heads with the CONCACAF men’s Gold Cup (July 7-26) and come right after the Women’s World Cup (June 6-July 5).

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Both are more important in the soccer scheme of things. The World Cup is the showcase of women’s soccer while the Gold Cup is the regional championship of North and Central America and the Caribbean, with places up for grabs in the 2016 Centennial Copa America and 2017 Confederations Cup.

On the plus side, the Pan Am men’s soccer competition is an under-22 event so Canada will look to use it as a tune-up for the CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship, an under-23 event, to be played in the U.S. Oct. 1-13.

READ MORE: 80 per cent of Toronto Pan Am Games budget already spent

The Pan Am team will likely lose top players to Benito Floro’s senior side, however.

The Pan Am women’s soccer competition has no age restriction but a Canadian Soccer Association spokesman said a number of younger players will be involved because of the proximity to the World Cup.

The Canadian coaching setup for the Games will be announced at a later date. Floro doubles as both the men’s senior and Olympic coach so the CSA will have to draw up a Plan B.

The 2015 Pan Am soccer field will feature eight men’s and eight women’s teams.

Argentina has won the men’s soccer gold six times with four golds for both Mexico, winner in 2011 in Guadalajara, and Brazil.

Canada defeated Brazil four years ago to win the women’s tournament.

© 2015 The Canadian Press

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