EDMONTON – Two FC Edmonton players will represent Canada at the U-20 Dale Farm Milk Cup in Northern Ireland.
Forwards Hanson Boakai, 17, and Sadi Jalali, 19, will line up for the red and white when the tournament kicks off July 28 against rivals Mexico at the Riada Stadium in Balleymoney, Northern Ireland.
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FC Edmonton’s Colin Miller
Jalali, born in New Delhi, India before moving to Canada at the age of one, previously competed in the 2011 CONCACAF U-17 Championships before playing in the 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Mexico, scoring in a 2-2 draw against England.
Boakai moved to Edmonton at the age of seven from Guinea, and has represented Canada at the U-15 level and most recently the U-17 level for the 2013 CONCACAF U-17 Championship. Boakai scored twice in the tournament against Costa Rica and Jamaica.
Boakai is excited at the prospect of being named to the U-20 at the age of 17, giving him the opportunity to impress in a significantly higher bracket of competition.
“This is a big achievement for me,” said Boakai. “Being one of the youngest on the team, I’m just trying to go there and hopefully do well.”
Boakai has already collected accolades for his age with FC Edmonton after being the youngest player ever signed by a North American Soccer League team – at the age of 16 – and being the youngest player ever to play in an NASL match at 17.
FC Edmonton assistant coach Jeff Paulus has watched Boakai and Jalali develop over the years, and is proud of the players being named to the Canadian U-20 side.
“I think it’s a fantastic achievement for the boys.”
“It shows the commitment that owner Tom Fath has put into the academy, and we’re starting to see the dividends now,” said Paulus.
Canada will face Mexico, China PR, and Northern Ireland in the group stage.
The tournament runs July 28 – August 1, and is one of the few tests the U-20’s have before attempting to qualify for the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup.