Canada Soccer Announces Men’s National Team Roster for FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ Qualifiers

The two matches will kick off the road to Qatar 2022

Canada Soccer have announced the Men’s National Team roster for the opening matches of its FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ Qualifiers campaign. Canada is preparing to host Bermuda on Thursday 25 March at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, FL, USA before facing Cayman Islands on Sunday 28 March at the IMG Sports Complex in Bradenton, FL, USA. The two matches will kick off the road to Qatar 2022 and mark a highly anticipated return to competitive match action for Canada Soccer’s Men’s National Team following an extended break due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

“The squad selection shows the commitment of the players, how they feel about these games, representing Canada and how important the games are for the country, said Head Coach John Herdman. “Having been apart for so long, we’re focused on being able to connect and ensuring we get the tactical clarity over the short window we have leading into the start of qualifying. It’s about the off-field connection and getting the guys comfortable being together again.” 

Both matches in the March FIFA window will be played in closed-door environments and will be broadcast live on OneSoccer with the Canada-Bermuda match set to kick off at 20.00 ET / 17.00 PT and Canada-Cayman Islands at 16.00 ET / 13.00 PT. Fans will find extended coverage across Canada Soccer’s digital channels on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube featuring the hashtag #CANMNT.

Canada Soccer recently announced that it would host the opening match of its Qatar 2022 qualifying campaign against Bermuda on 25 March at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, FL, USA. The venue is familiar to Canada Soccer’s National Teams as the Men’s National Team trained and played at the stadium in November 2019 as part of Concacaf Nations League A and most recently it was the site of the She Believes Cup featuring the Women’s National Team.

“While we would have loved to be playing at home where we have been very difficult to beat, what we’ve been able to do here in Orlando is control the conditions so that our players can impose our approach to the match,” said Herdman.

Canada has been drawn into Group B with Aruba, Bermuda, Cayman Islands and Suriname as part of the First Round of the Concacaf FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ Qualifiers and will face each nation once, playing a total of four matches in this stage, with only the group winner advancing to the Second Round. Following its March matches, Canada is scheduled to face Aruba on 5 June and host Suriname on 8 June. In all, 30 Concacaf nations are competing across six groups in this First Round.

From the First Round of FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ Qualifiers, the Group B winner will face the Group E winner in a Second Round, head-to-head series on 12 and 15 June 2021. The winner from that Second Round then advances to the Concacaf Final Round of eight nations scheduled to begin in the Fall of 2021.

“It is an opportunity for this group of men to do something special for their country that hasn’t been done for a long time,” said Herdman. “Our players do not need much motivation, they’re just really excited to play for their country again and every time we’re together we remind them that this team can change football in this nation.” 

In all, Canada Soccer’s Men’s National Team face a busy international schedule in 2021 that includes the four competitive matches in FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ Qualifiers in March and June. Also, in March, Canada Soccer’s Men’s U-23 National Team is competing at the Concacaf Men’s Olympic Qualifying in Guadalajara, Mexico. In July, Canada Soccer’s Men’s National Team are scheduled to compete in the Concacaf Gold Cup with group stage matches against Martinique, USA and a yet-to-be determined third opponent.

CANADA SQUAD
The Canada roster features a mix of established veterans and young players who will be embarking on their first FIFA World Cup Qualifiers campaign.

Canada Soccer’s 2020 Player of the Year Alphonso Davies is set to return to Canadian colours for the first time following an incredible year of personal and club achievements. With Davies playing a crucial role, FC Bayern München captured a historic six trophies in 2020 including the UEFA Champions League, FIFA Club World Cup, Bundesliga Title, DFB Cup, UEFA Super Cup, and German Super Cup. Individually, Davies was recognized for his outstanding play as he was named co-winner of the 2020 Lou Marsh Memorial Trophy as Canada’s outstanding athlete, the Lionel Conacher Award as the Canadian Press Male Athlete of the Year, and the Postmedia Canadian Male Athlete of the Year Award.

Veteran midfielder and six-time Canada Soccer Player of the Year, Atiba Hutchison, will return to action for Canada looking to build on his 84 appearances wearing the maple leaf on the international stage over his illustrious career. Hutchison is joined by his Beşiktaş teammate Cyle Larin with the duo combining to push their club to top of the Súper Lig table in Turkey.

Goalkeeper Milan Borjan of FK Crvena zvezda (Red Star Belgrade in Serbia), midfielder Sam Piette of CF Montreal (Canada), and forward Junior Hoilett of Cardiff City (Wales) are among the veterans who will bring previous FIFA World Cup Qualifying experience to the squad.

In total, the players named to Canada’s roster have made 343 appearances for their country. Returning members of the squad include goalkeeper Maxime Crépeau (Vancouver Whitecaps FC); defenders Steven Vitória (Moreirense FC), Kamal Miller (CF Montreal), Richie Laryea (Toronto FC), and Samuel Adekugbe (Vålerenga Fotball); midfielders, Mark-Anthony Kaye (Los Angeles FC), Stephen Eustáquio (F.C. Paços de Ferreira), David Wotherspoon (St. Johnstone FC), and Jayden Nelson (Toronto FC); and forwards Liam Millar (Charlton Athletic FC) and Lucas Cavallini (Vancouver Whitecaps FC).

Defender Ricardo Ferreira receives his first call-up to Canada Soccer’s Men’s National Team following his change of national associations in February, and will be joined by 18-year old Theo Corbeanu of Woverhampton Wanderers FC in participating in their first Canada camp. Including Ferreira and Corbeanu, there are a total of seven players in Canada’s squad who will be looking to make their first international “A” appearance. Other potential debutants are Dayne St. Clair of Minnesota United (USA), Frank Sturing of FC Den Bosch (Netherlands), Joel Waterman of CF Montreal (Canada), Alistair Johnston of Nashville SC (USA), and Cristian Gutierrez of Vancouver Whitecaps FC (Canada), all five of whom participated in Canada’s recent January training camp in Florida, USA.

Canada Soccer made every effort to secure all Men’s National Team players to participate in the March FIFA window. However, forward Jonathan David was unavailable for the upcoming FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ Qualifiers in Florida.

“It’s been tough behind the scenes to make sure that players could be available to us, but unfortunately it wasn’t possible with Jonathan,” said Herdman. “However, we’ll come through these times and see Jonathan back on the pitch for Canada in the near future.”

FIFA WORLD CUP QATAR 2022™ QUALIFIERS
Concacaf have established Canada’s pathway for FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ Qualifiers beginning with a First Round being played amongst the Concacaf Member Associations ranked 6-35 based on the FIFA Men’s Ranking as of 16 July 2020. From the first round of FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ Qualifiers, the Group B winner will face the Group E winner in a second-round, head-to-head series. The winner from that second round then advances to the Concacaf Final Round of eight nations in which each nation will play each opponent twice (once at home and once on the road).

CANADA
GK- Milan Borjan | SRB / FK Crvena zvezda (Red Star Belgrade)
GK- Maxime Crépeau | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC
GK- Dayne St. Clair | USA / Minnesota United FC
CB- Ricardo Ferreira |
CB- Frank Sturing | NED / FC Den Bosch
CB- Steven Vitória | POR / Moreirense FC
CB- Joel Waterman | CAN / CF Montréal
FB- Samuel Adekugbe | NOR / Vålerenga Fotball
FB- Cristián Gutierrez | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC
FB- Alistair Johnston | USA / Nashville SC
FB- Richie Laryea | CAN / Toronto FC
FB- Kamal Miller | CAN / CF Montréal
M- Theo Corbeanu | ENG / Wolverhampton Wanderers FC
M- Stephen Eustáquio | POR / FC Paços de Ferreira
M- Atiba Hutchinson | TUR / Beşiktaş JK
M- Mark-Anthony Kaye | USA / Los Angeles FC
M- Jayden Nelson | CAN / Toronto FC
M- Samuel Piette | CAN / CF Montréal
M- David Wotherspoon | SCO / St. Johnstone FC
F- Lucas Cavallini | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC
F- Alphonso Davies | GER / FC Bayern München
F- David Junior Hoilett | WAL / Cardiff City FC
F- Cyle Larin | TUR / Beşiktaş JK
F- Liam Millar | ENG / Charlton Athletic FC

CANADA A-Z
Adekugbe, Samuel | 26 | Calgary, AB, CAN | Manchester United Grassroots
Borjan, Milan | 33 | Hamilton, ON, CAN | Radnicki JP
Cavallini, Lucas | 28 | Mississauga, ON, CAN | Club Uruguay Toronto
Corbeanu, Theo | 18 | Hamilton, ON, CAN | Quinndale YS
Crépeau, Maxime | 26 | Candiac, QC, CAN | Ligue de soccer pour enfants de Candiac
Davies, Alphonso | 20 | Edmonton, AB, CAN | Edmonton Inter
Eustáquio, Stephen | 24 | Leamington, ON, CAN | Leamington Minor Soccer (house league)
Ferreira, Ricardo | 28 | Mississauga, ON, CAN | Dixie SC
Gutierrez, Cristián | 24 | Santiago, CHI | Escuela CSD Colo-Colo
Hoilett, David Junior | 30 | Brampton, ON, CAN | Mississauga SC
Hutchinson, Atiba | 38 | Brampton, ON, CAN | Brampton YSC
Johnston, Alistair | 22 | Aurora, ON, CAN | Lakeshore SC
Kaye, Mark-Anthony | 26 | Toronto, ON, CAN | Wexford SC
Larin, Cyle | 25 | Brampton, ON, CAN | Brampton YSC
Laryea, Richie | 26 | Toronto, ON, CAN | Club Uruguay Toronto
Millar, Liam | 21 | Brampton, ON, CAN | Brampton YSC
Miller, Kamal | 23 | Scarborough, ON, CAN | Malvern SC
Nelson, Jayden | 18 | Brampton, ON, CAN | Brampton YSC
Piette, Samuel | 26 | Le Gardeur, QC, CAN | Lionceaux de le Gardeur
St. Clair, Dayne | 23 | Pickering, ON, CAN | Ephinay Church Soccer League
Sturing, Frank | 23 | Nijmegen, NED | Oranje Blauw
Vitória, Steven | 34 | Mississauga, ON, CAN | Sudbury Lions
Waterman, Joel | 25 | Langley, BC, CAN | Aldergrove YSA
Wotherspoon, David | 31 | Bridge of Earn, SCO |

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