In what has been a historic four months, TJ Tahid adds another milestone to his young soccer resume by receiving his first international call-up for Canada’s U17 men’s national team. The 16-year-old from Maple Ridge, BC, will be joining the upcoming camp in Brazil at the end of the month.
“I am so honoured and excited to earn my first call-up for my country,” said Tahid.
The young star has been setting records in the Canadian Premier League (CPL) from day one when he signed his first professional contract with Vancouver FC on May 6th and became the youngest player in history to sign a standard player contract. He inked the deal just 16 days after he turned 16-years-old and marked another milestone the following day when he became the youngest player to make an appearance in a CPL match as a second half substitute in VFC’s inaugural home opener on May 7th.
Tahid became a triple threat for the CPL history books when he notched his first professional goal in Vancouver’s first derby match against Pacific FC at Willoughby Park on June 2nd, celebrating the milestone with his friends and family in attendance.
“It has been a whirlwind season with many amazing moments, but this is certainly one of the most special so far,” continues Tahid. “I hope I can take what I’ve learned from Vancouver FC and make it count on the international stage.”
Tahid will join Canada’s U17 men’s national team for a two-match international series against defending FIFA U17 World Cup champions, Brazil, with the games scheduled for September 29th and October 1st. Andrew Olivieri, Canada Soccer’s Men’s National Youth Excel Director, has called this upcoming series, “the test that can serve as a foundation for the FIFA U17 World Cup,” which Canada qualified for through their 3-0 victory over Puerto Rico in the Quarterfinals of the Concacaf U17 Championship in February of this year. The FIFA U17 World Cup will be hosted in Indonesia from November 10th to December 2nd.
Back in Langley, the now-Grade 11 student has made six starts in 18 appearances for Vancouver FC this season, registering 520 U21 Domestic minutes – which VFC leads the league in – and scoring two goals. Head Coach Afshin Ghotbi has seen significant improvement in Tahid in this short time and recognizes him as a tremendous competitor.
“It is difficult to image that [Tahid] is only 16-years-old with the football IQ and temperament of a seasoned professional,” says Ghotbi. “I’m incredibly excited for TJ and believe he will be a great contributor for the Canadian National team at the U17 level and beyond.”
Tahid will head to Brazil for training following Vancouver’s away match against Valour FC on Wednesday, September 20th. He will be ineligible to participate in VFC’s home match against Halifax Wanderers FC on Saturday, September 23rd and Vancouver’s final derby against Pacific FC on Saturday, September 30th. Tahid could return for VFC’s final game on Friday, October 6 when the BC-side hosts York United FC.
Keep making history TJ and good luck in Brazil!
Vancouver’s inaugural season is winding down but it isn’t over yet! With just two home matches left to play, make sure you get in on this history season before it’s too late. Tickets for VFC’s next home match, Indigenous Culture night, on Saturday, September 23rd are available for purchase online here or in person at Gate 1 of the Langley Event Centre.