Posts Tagged ‘Junior Hoilett Canada Soccer’

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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.”

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VANCOUVER, B.C – Please visit Red Nation Online for my Canada Soccer feature story on Junior Hoilett.

http://www.rednationonline.ca/Articles2016/HoilettconfidentCanadacanpulloffmiracle.aspx

Canada Soccer's Junior Hoilett following training at BC Place on September 4.

Canada Soccer’s Junior Hoilett following training at BC Place on September 4.

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