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Canadian midfielder Ismaël Koné has joined Championship side Watford FC in their race for a spot in the Premier League. Koné from Montréal, Québec joins the English club after the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 via a transfer from his hometown CF Montréal of Major League Soccer.
Koné featured in all three group matches for Canada at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. The youngest player in the squad at age 20, he made his international “A” debut on 24 March 2022 in FIFA World Cup Qualifiers. Over the course of the year, he scored his first goals in Concacaf Champions League, Major League Soccer, MLS Playoffs, and at the international “A” level with Canada.
Watford FC are currently in fourth place in the Championship after 21 matches, currently eight points back of leaders Burnley FC and five points back of second-place Sheffield United FC midway through the campaign. Just one season removed from the Premier League, Watford FC hope to return to England’s top division in 2023-24 through one of three promotion spots. To do so, they will need to finish first or second in the Championship or win the four-team playoff for teams that finish third through sixth place.
Koné was seven years old when his family moved to Montréal from Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. After playing his youth football at AS Notre-Dame-de-Grâce and CS Saint-Laurent, Koné signed his first professional contract with CF Montréal on 13 August 2021.
“II like to get on the ball, I like to create as much for my teammates and just be that turning point in the game whereby I can bring the game forward and win the game,” said Koné in his first interview with Watford FC.
Canada Soccer outlines return to soccer guidelines. The return to soccer guidelines provide member organizations with a five-step process, including a checklist of weighted questions known as the Return to Soccer Assessment Tool.