Archive for the ‘Canada Men’s National Soccer Team’ Category

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Canada Soccer vs French Guiana at B.C. Place Stadium in Vancouver, B.C. on Sunday, March 24, 2019. Photo: Har Journalist

VANCOUVER, B.C – The only way is up, and that’s exactly where Canada Soccer is trending after a convincing 4-1 win over French Guiana at B.C. Place on Sunday afternoon. A youthful Canadian squad was in form and off to the races as Jonathan David, and Lucas Cavallini wowed the crowd of 17,124 on hand.

Not to be out done, Cardiff City FC winger Junior Hoilett set the tone early with his 4th international goal in the 11th minute. Hoilett’s link up play with Cavallini, and David helped the trio combined for 4 goals, and 3 assists as Canada dominated the match.

What’s next for 75th ranked Canada Soccer?

The red and white have finished CONCACAF Nations League qualifying with a 4-0-0 record, 12 points, and second spot. Canada also qualified for the 2019 Gold Cup in the United States, which will run from June 15 – July 7.

The likes of Cavallini, David, Alphonso Davies, and Ballou Tabla have brought an exciting wave of young Canadian talent never before seen with the national team. There’s a sense of pride, and joy when you put on a Canadian kit, and that wasn’t always the case.

“I think with the young generation on this team, there’s a lot to be excited about,” Jonathan Osorio explained to Har Journalist. “There’s a lot of players playing at really good clubs, and playing, which is the most important thing. It’s great, it’s very exciting. We’re much more exciting now, and I think we have a lot of talent.”

“I think it’s the development of football in general in the country,” Osorio continued. “We’re still a very young nation when it comes to football. We’re still catching up to the rest of the world, but slowly we are. You see it in our development, our youth keeps getting better. That’s the biggest thing.”

In an era where dual citizenship is at play, Canada was previously thought of as an afterthought, but that’s not the case. Canada is quickly becoming a country where talented footballers want to stay, instead of exploring other roots.

Bayern Munich, KAA Gent, Besiktas JK, and Cardiff City FC, are all first division top flight clubs that feature prominent Canadian internationals. They’re not just bench warmers either. Canada is growing, and developing young talent that European clubs want.

“We have a really young team and this is what the coach wants,” Goalkeeper Milan Borjan told reporters post-match. “There’s a couple of us veterans who are leading this team. This is the future of Canada, and this is looking very very good. There’s a lot of young guys playing in different countries, and not just sitting on the bench, they’re actually playing. This is really good, and like you can see, we’re improving a lot on the field, and we just have to continue like that.”

This is by far the brightest Canada’s future has looked in the past decade.

“I think yes,” Borjan agreed. “I think this is the best national team, I’ve seen in the last nine years that I’ve been here.”

If Canada Soccer’s future is as promising as it appears to be, there should be an eye on qualifying for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Canada hasn’t qualified for a World Cup since 1986. If there was ever an opportunity for Canada to qualify, Qatar is it.

It won’t be easy, but Canada Soccer has the talent, skill, and coaching, to make history. We all saw how united Canada was from coast to coast during the 2015 Women’s World Cup. If Canada Soccer wants to be seen as a top country in CONCACAF, they must qualify for 2022.

“It would be amazing,” Osorio beamed. “It would be a dream come true for sure. That’s all we think about right now, is 2022. That is our goal, that’s our objective. 2026 is not even in my head, ever. When that comes, that’ll come, but for now my head is solely on 2022.”

While skeptics might say that Canada Soccer hasn’t played the CONCACAF heavyweights of U.S.A, Mexico, Costa Rica, and forever nemeses Honduras. They haven’t lost to those teams during Coach John Herdman’s tenure. It’s a new chapter, with new belief.

“Yeah for sure, it’s definitely achievable,” Osorio said. “We have a team, structure, and we have the system to achieve that goal. Even with the other nations such as the U.S., Mexico, and Costa Rica. We think we can go at the level of them, but obviously we have to prove it, and those games are coming to do that. We’re excited and we think we can do it.”

It’s a bright future for Canada Soccer with talent they just haven’t had before. Qualifying for the 2022 World Cup would be a massive stepping stone ahead of united hosting duties at the 2026 World Cup. You simply can’t count out Canada Soccer like you could before.

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Canada Soccer’s Junior Hoilett at training at B.C. Place in Vancouver.  Photo: Har Journalist

VANCOUVER, B.C – Canada Soccer is back in business as they prepare for a crucial match at B.C. Place on Sunday, March 24 vs French Guiana in a pivotal CONCACAF Nations League qualifying match. The 79th ranked Canada were hit a huge blow earlier this week when teenage phenom, Alphonso Davies, was replaced on Canada’s roster.

The Bayern Munich product picked up a knee injury while celebrating his first Bundesliga goal on Sunday vs Mainz. Davies won’t suit up for Canada, but his presence is still a possibility. Canada Soccer Coach John Herdman provided an update.

“I think Thursday’s training, we’ll have absolute clarity,” Herdman told reporters following training. “I think Bayern are going to let him come back to Vancouver, whether that’s to play, we’ll let the fans know on Thursday. The kid was devastated. As a coach you’re upset, you can look up and down this roster and there’s some really good players to step through. I’m just gutted for him. He was so excited to come back. He had some tears on the phone, he actually couldn’t finish his sentences. You feel for him because this meant a lot to him. There’s a glimmer of hope there, but it’s only a glimmer at this point.”

The loss of Davies isn’t the end of the world. This is a Canada squad that has enough talent up top to be able to earn a result against FIFA unranked French Guiana.

Cardiff City FC’s Junior Hoilett is someone who Canada will look to lead the way. The lone Premier League player on Canada’s roster is in form, and ready to contribute. Hoilett scored the match-winner vs West Ham on Saturday, March 9.

While Canada are certainly favourites, Hoilett isn’t expecting an easy victory.

“Of course we’re going to be favourites,” Hoilett told Har Journalist. “It’s not going to be a walk in the park. I’m sure they have a lot to fight for. They’re trying to make the Gold Cup, and they’re going to be ready for us. We just have to defend our home court, put up a performance and we’ll be fine.” 

The Brampton, Ontario native, is finding himself leading as much as he does on the pitch, and off the pitch. It’s not all about the time you put in during a training session. Hoilett is making a difference by helping the next wave on Canadian talent. He’s committed, locked in, and determined to help improve Canada Soccer for years to come.

“I’ve been watching Junior over this period,” Herdman explained. “To be fair, I’ve been saying go deeper into this. This is a guy that’s getting on conference calls with other people around the world twice monthly before camps. That stuff never happened, and they weren’t really committed to that process. He’s in deep now, and I think Junior in deep is exactly what this country’s been waiting for.”

“You’ll see that flash of brilliance once every 45 minutes in a game or every two games. This is a guy that now, that you see in training, he’s giving it his all in every moment of training. He’s driving the culture, and I think that journey is what this country has been waiting to see, and I’m excited to see him in this game.”

The 28-year-old Hoilett comes into the Canada Soccer environment with 20 appearences, 3 goals, and 6 assists for Canada. As someone who is able to set an example for the next generation. Hoilett isn’t old by any means, but he is no longer a young pup.

He is happy to embrace his new role.

“I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing,” Hoilett explained. “I’m one of the older guys now, so I can bring leadership to the team and be a role model to the young guys, and help them on the pitch, and off the pitch. Of course they already know what I can bring to the table, and I just have to keep providing it.”

“I’m a veteran to these guys. We’ve got a young team, but I’ve been around the way, they consider me a veteran.”

It’s never easy flying across the pond during an international week, but the time spent with Canada Soccer allows Hoilett some time to get away from the battle that Cardiff City is in. The Bluebirds are in a massive relegation battle to stay in the Premier League.

Cardiff City’s 8-4-18 record have them 18th in the table with 28 points. As Cardiff City look to earn safety with eight-matches remaining, Hoilett knows he is going to have to play a big part if Cardiff City is to stay up and avoid a trip to English Championship.

“When you’re fighting relegation, it’s not a lot of happy days,” Hoilett admitted. “Of course coming in this environment with the players is a fresh environment and you don’t have that stress of fighting relegation. You can just be free, and show your abilities.”

As the creative winger looks to dazzle fans at B.C. Place this weekend he is still a kid at heart. You won’t find this in his pre-match meal, but even Hoilett has a guilty pleasure.

“(Laughs), I don’t know. I’d say Oreo. Oreo’s are kind of my weakness. The originals.”

VANCOUVER, B.C – Please visit Daily Hive for my story on Canada Soccer’s Alphonso Davies.

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Team Caleb with Toronto FC’s 6th overall selection Griffin Dorsey from Indiana University at the 2019 MLS SuperDraft in Chicago. Friday, January 11 – Photo: Har Journalist

CHICAGO – The picks are in and the first two rounds of the 2019 MLS SuperDraft are in the books. Toronto FC, Whitecaps FC and the Montreal Impact all added talented young players to their rosters, but it was Griffin Dorsey and Team Caleb that stole the show.

Toronto FC’s 6th overall selection gave them the highest pick among the Canadian trio. The Reds selected midfielder Griffin Dorsey from Indiana University.

The 19 year-old Dorsey, immediately showed his leadership, compassion, and character as he shared his special moment with his 8-year-old friend, Caleb from McCourtsville, Indiana.

Caleb is a devout Indiana Hoosier soccer fan who has faced a variety of challenging illnesses in his young life. He loves soccer, but isn’t able to play the sport. It was a no brainer that Dorsey wanted to invite his biggest fan to the MLS SuperDraft.

“I met him through IU,” Dorsey said of Caleb. “He started supporting us and we got him into the locker rooms and he moved our whole team. He moved me, and it’s an honour to be able to share this with him.”

“I think he wanted to be here, but I also wanted him to be here. It was an honour.”

“He’d come to all the home games. He ended up coming to the college cup in California, and he was with us all the way through the season. He was in the locker room, around the team. He was doing everything with us. It was awesome to have him around.”\

In Dorsey, Toronto FC is getting a footballer that is much more than the beautiful game. Dorsey cares, and he wants to use his abilities on and off the pitch to help others. The hard work begins now, and Dorsey will be ready to show Toronto FC what he can do.

“I can’t wait to get started, get to work, and meet the guys on the team that I’ve looked up to. I want to be a professional soccer player. Here we are living the dream, and I can’t wait to start the hard work.”

When the Colorado native does crack TFC’s lineup, you can be sure Caleb will be there supporting him just as he did during Dorsey’s time at Indiana.

“I would hope so,” Dorsey smiled. “I definitely hope he comes up for sure.”

Vancouver Whitecaps FC had a bit of a wait until they made their only selection of the day. The Caps selected  Georgetown University centre-back Brendan McDonough.

In 63 appearances and 52 starts for the Hoyas, McDonough contributed two goals and two assists in four years at Georgetown.

“Brendan is a centre-back that has a good margin to progress,” Whitecaps FC Coach Marc Dos Santos told reporters at the SuperDraft. “He’s a player that catched our eye when we were looking at the combine, and even before. He’s a centre-back that has the ability to play in back-four or a back-three. We like speaking with him to also learn about the person. He’s comfortable on the ball, he’s aggressive defensively, so we’re proud to have him.”

“We knew at the 35th pick, we had to pick the best player possible, and he was always number one for us in that type of round. We’re happy with that pick.”

The 22 year-old McDonough was not in attendance at the MLS SuperDraft. Whitecaps FC fans can expect to see him when training camp begins in Vancouver on Monday, January 21.

“He’s very happy to come to Vancouver” Dos Santos echoed.

Although Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal did not stock pile draft picks, it was a strong MLS SuperDraft for Canadian born players as three were chosen among the first 10-picks.

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FC Dallas 4th overall selection Callum Montgomery from the Victoria Highlanders at the 2019 MLS SuperDraft in Chicago on Friday, January 11 – Photo: Har Journalist

Victoria, B.C. native, Callum Montgomery was the highest Canadian selected. The former UNC-Charlotte centre-back went 4th overall to FC Dallas. After meeting with FC Dallas at the MLS combine. He had a bit of an inkling that Dallas might be his destination.

“I was a late bloomer,” Montgomery admitted. “My career developed at different times. I wasn’t part of Whitecaps residency program or their residency team. Growing up, I played for the Victoria Highlanders which was a great success and a great team. I had a wonderful experience with the Victoria Highlanders. I’m just really excited to be with FC Dallas and hopefully contribute.”

“I hear Dallas is a great city. New coach coming in. It’s an exciting time for the club. I think it’s going to be an unbelievable experience. They have some centre-backs I can learn from and grow my game every single day. That’s my mentality. I want to get better every single day. I’m really excited and just looking forward to the home opener.”

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The 2019 MLS SuperDraft in Chicago on Friday, January 11 – Photo: Har Journalist

In a year where we saw a Union dissolve all of their MLS SuperDraft picks, it just goes to show that the MLS SuperDraft is still an important day for the next generation of MLS footballers. You only have to see the generosity from Griffin Dorsey.

Notes: The Montreal Impact selected Maryland’s Amar Sejdic 34th overall. Toronto FC also took Adam Wilson 39th overall from the University of Louisville. Vancouver and Montreal did not make a first round MLS SuperDraft selection.

 

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VANCOUVER, B.C – Please visit Red Nation Online for my Canada Soccer men’s national team story.

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Canada Soccer Coach John Herdman and Russell Teibert in Vancouver, B.C. on Monday, November 26 Photo: Har Journalist 

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VANCOUVER, B.C – Please visit Red Nation Online for my Vancouver Whitecaps FC Alphonso Davies farewell story.

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