Photo by Greig Cowie/ISIphotos.com
By KURTIS LARSON
From Owen Hargreaves (Calgary, AB) to Jonathan de Guzman (Scarborough, ON), Canadian soccer players have repeatedly shunned their country of birth to play for other, more powerful soccer nations around the globe. A whole host of names comprise a list of promising young Canadians that have moved overseas to join more prestigious national teams.
That said, recent improvements to the Canadian set up may have lured a potential Premier League standout back to the Great White North. After signing a two-year contract extension at Blackburn Rovers, it seems Canadian David Hoilett is putting to rest claims that he is considering passing over his home nation for a chance to suit up for Jamaica.
Hoilett's father has gone on record stating "We are happy with the direction the national program in Canada is heading."
"Some of the concerns that we had and expressed are being addressed," he told the Lancashire Telegraph. "Junior hasn't 100 percent decided, but would consider attending a (Canadian) camp in the near future."
The benefits of capping a player of this stature are two-fold. First, he instantly improves the squad the minute someone with his top-flight English football experience steps onto the field. Second, an announcement like this will likely spur other prospects to keep their Canadian passports and take another look at what the Canadian Soccer Association (CSA) has to offer.
Altogether, it's a compliment to the CSA for the work they've put in over the last year to secure major international friendly dates, and show players in the Canadian camp the CSA is organized and ready to compete. In their build-up to the next Gold Cup and World Cup 2014, Canada is on the right track to becoming a potential contender for the third spot in the region.
Toronto FC – Coming off a 0-0 draw with Kansas City heading into the World Cup break, TFC announced their home CONCACAF fixture with CD Motagua of Honduras. The first leg will be played at BMO Field on July 27 with the return leg in Honduras Aug. 3. Should TFC get past Motagua, they've been drawn into a very difficult group with MLS Cup winners Real Salt Lake, Panamanian champion Arabe Unido and potentially Cruz Azul of Mexico. Toronto FC host the L.A. Galaxy following the MLS break.
Vancouver Whitecaps – Handed Tampa Bay just its second loss of the season in a 1-0 win as Martin Nash's spot kick right before the half held up. Vancouver had to settle for a draw Wednesday night with the visiting Carolina Railhawks. Four points from a possible six saw the 'Caps stay atop the NASL Conference on 16 points, three ahead of Carolina who sits on 13.
Montreal Impact – Came from a goal back to salvage a point against visiting Miami FC in front of 13,000+ at Saputo Stadium Sunday. Former MLS MVP Christian Gomez opened the scoring in the 9th minute while the Impact's Tony Donatelli converted a PK in the 23rd. The Impact then traveled to Minnesota Wednesday and dropped a 1-0 contest to NSC Minnesota Stars. That loss coming in the 87th minute when Melvin Tarley broke through for the home side.
FC Edmonton - Have announced ticket prices for their upcoming friendlies with Colo-Colo (Chile) and Portsmouth FC (England). The games will be played at the home of the CFL's Edmonton Eskimos (Commonwealth Stadium) and holds over 60,000.
Gianluca Zavarise – Received his first cap for Canada in a 1-1 start against Venezuela on May 29. Zavarise recently moved from VFL Bochum (Bundesliga 2) to Egaleo F.C. of the Greek second division.
Marcel de Jong – After four season with Roda JC of the Dutch Eredivisie, de Jong moved to German side FC Augsburg (Bundesliga II) late last month.