Training for World Cup underway

BOB MACKIN -- 24 Hours Vancouver

, Last Updated: 11:47 AM ET

Call it the calm before the storm.

Canada's under-20 World Cup soccer team is training in Bradenton, Fla. Sessions began Monday and wrap-up with a friendly next Wednesday against the U.S.

The team will reconvene in January for monthly training camps to prepare for the June 30 to July 22 FIFA 2007 U-20 World Cup in six cities, including Burnaby and Victoria.

"[Players] are very fortunate they have the opportunity to go to a world youth championship without really having to qualify for it, and it's in their home country," said head coach Dale Mitchell. "There are a lot of kids motivated to be part of this team."

Mitchell has 20 players at the camp, including five British Columbians: Vancouver's Brandon Bonifacio and Alex Elliott, Chilliwack's Adam Lang, North Vancouver's Kent O'Connor and Richmond's Masumi Turnbull.

Canada's last match was a 2-1 comeback win Oct. 6 against the Czech Republic in Prague. Canadian Soccer Association announced a pair of friendlies against Scotland March 24 at Swangard Stadium in Burnaby and March 27 in Victoria. Scotland was second among the six qualifying European teams.


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