Canada’s Carducci targets U-20 World Cup

Marco Carducci (pictured) is hoping to lead Canada to a place in the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup. (Photo: Mexsport)

SUNRISE, Florida – Canada’s Marco Carducci is mature beyond his years.  So, too, has been his soccer experience.

The 18-year-old was in net for the Vancouver Whitecaps in the Amway Canadian Championship semifinals and competed for Canada at the 2013 FIFA Under-17 World Cup.

And, now, he is hoping to guide Canada into the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup via the CONCACAF Under-20 Championship, which starts next week in Jamaica.

“That’s something I want to be able to use going forward to these January games,” Carducci said.  “It’s going to be a different experience this time around, but I’m going to try to use the things I learned from those opportunities going forward so we can have success there as well.”

Carducci, who was part of head coach Rob Gale’s final training camp of 2014 in Florida, has been playing soccer since he could walk and first stepped into the net about 10 years ago.

“Right away I knew it was for me and it was something my dad helped push me into as well because he was a goalkeeper,” enthused Carducci.

In March, Carducci signed his first professional contract with Vancouver.  Two months later, he made his debut in the first leg of the Canadian Championship’s semifinals on May 7, a 2-1 loss at Toronto FC.

A week later, the second leg was played in front of 20,000 fans at BC Place.  The host Whitecaps won 2-1, but were eliminated on penalty kicks.  For Carducci, the result was the evening’s only disappointment.

“You couldn’t really ask for a more exciting debut at BC Place,” Carducci expressed.  “The first leg the week before was really exciting for me and I was really looking forward to the opportunity and was obviously thankful to have that opportunity.”

Carducci has also impressed internationally, recently playing in a 2-2 draw with England and a 2-1 win over Russia in a pair of November friendlies.

“The great thing about Marco is his maturity,” said Gale.  “He’s wise and mature beyond his years in his professionalism and his approach.  I’ve had him since he was 14-years-old and he’s just continued to meet every challenge that has been put in front of him with a great deal of maturity and professionalism.  That should bode well for him in the future.”

And in a position where players regularly mature in their 30s, that future for Carducci could be very long.

“Something I’ve always focused on is taking it day by day and trying to reach the highest level I possibly can,” Carducci finished.  “Having the opportunity to play in the Under-17 World Cup was fantastic and now hopefully looking forward to potentially being involved in the U-20 World Cup and it would obviously be a dream come true to be able to play in the World Cup with the men’s national team.”