Striker Iké Ugbo will represent Canada Soccer’s Men’s National Team starting in November 2021 after his change of associations to Canada. Ugbo will join Canada this coming week in Edmonton, Alberta for the Concacaf Final Round of FIFA World Cup Qualifiers.
“This is great news for Canada Soccer’s Men’s National Team Program and the country as he’s another young, top-level player with his best football years ahead of him,” said John Herdman, Canada Soccer’s Men’s National Team Head Coach. “He’s chosen to be part of this exciting journey starting with FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ Qualifiers. We are looking forward to finally see him in that Canada red jersey.”
Ugbo, who represented England at the youth international level and was also eligible to represent Nigeria, was a two-time UEFA Youth League winner with Chelsea FC (2014-15 and 2015-16). After playing for Brampton East SC and Woodbridge Strikers SC in Canada, he grew up in the Chelsea academy program in London, England and while on loan at Cercle Brugge scored 18 goals in 30 matches leading to a permanent move to KRC Genk. This season, he has already scored four goals in 12 matches across all competitions (Belgium’s Jupiler Pro League and Beker (Cup) competition as well as UEFA Europa League).
Ugbo is the latest player to switch national associations to represent Canada at the international level. Since 2018, other players that have chosen to represent Canada Soccer’s Men’s National Team include Ayo Akinola, Theo Corbeanu, Stephen Eustáquio, Ricardo Ferreira, Cristián Gutiérrez, Frank Sturing and David Wotherspoon. In all, 30 different players have made their international “A” debut for Canada since 2018 including youngsters Zachary Brault-Guillard, Charles-Andreas Brym, Tajon Buchanan, Derek Cornelius, Jonathan David, Liam Fraser, Alistair Johnston, Liam Millar, Jacob Shaffelburg.
For the upcoming Concacaf Final Round of FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, Canada will face Costa Rica on Friday 12 November and Mexico on Tuesday 16 November. Tickets sales for these highly anticipated home matches have been strong and fans are encouraged to join the Sea of Red with prices starting as low as $20 via Ticketmaster.ca. Both matches kick off at 19.00 local (21.00 ET / 18.00 PT) and will be broadcast live on OneSoccer, including TELUS channel 980, onesoccer.ca, Sportsnet and RDS, including a one-hour Match Day Live show. Fans will find extended coverage across Canada Soccer’s digital channels on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube featuring the hashtag #CANMNT.
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.