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Canada Corner: De Guzman brothers keep CANMNT guessing on Jonathan

JulianDeGuzman (Getty)


TORONTO — Julian and Jonathan de Guzman are polarizing figures -– two of Canada’s most gifted players who continue to pull Canadian supporters in opposite directions.

Following CONCACAF’s second round of World Cup qualifying, Julian acknowledged that his brother, Jonathan, who is currently under contract with Spanish side Villarreal, was looking to take steps to become eligible for selection by head coach Stephen Hart and the Canadian national team.

All that changed following Canada’s goal-less draw against Honduras in Toronto on Tuesday night.

“I know that I could be a very big impact on the Canadian national team,” Jonathan told The Score at BMO Field. He went on to say he now hopes to earn a call from the full Dutch side.

The 24-year-old attacking midfielder currently holds a Dutch passport and competed for the Netherlands at the under-20 and under-23 levels.

“If (I) did play for the Canadian national team it would be a lot stronger than now,” he continued. “But then again, that’s the choice I’ve made … and I stand by that choice.”

In an effort to talk the younger de Guzman into joining his brother in the center of Canada’s midfield, Hart traveled to Spain in advance of the current round of CONCACAF qualifying to personally invite Jonathan into the side.

The Canadian Soccer Association confirmed earlier this year the ball was rolling to hopefully ensure Jonathan’s Canadian eligibility at some point during the 2014 qualifying cycle.

But as a result of his comments earlier this week, Canadian supporters are once again shaking their heads and wondering if Jonathan’s most recent comments will bring closure to what has been a four-year ordeal.

That is, until Julian told a small group of reporters he’s not buying his younger brother’s controversial words.

“I know him best and I want to say it’s a bluff,” Julian said following Thursday’s Toronto FC training session. “I still have hope that he will be part of the Canadian national team.

“He has yet to put on a Dutch jersey so I haven’t given up hope for him to finally join us. I hang with him now every day that he has been back (visiting Canada) and I still try to get in his head to put on the red jersey so we’ll see what happens.”

A source with knowledge of the situation told SBI the CSA will continue to pursue clearance for Jonathan to become eligible for selection. But with Villarreal relegated to the Spanish second division ahead of next season, Jonathan’s club concerns could take precedent for the Toronto-born midfielder, who continues to burn bridges every time he opens his mouth.

Canada is in a similar struggle to convince Blackburn midfielder Junior Hoilett to choose the Canadian national team over both the English and Jamaican national teams.

“He wants to make sure he’s settled in a (club) sense,” Julian said. “In terms of international (play) nothing has been confirmed. He hasn’t been called up to the Dutch national team … and I’m still doing my best to bring him to the Canadian team.”


  1. 1. He is staying with his brother in Toronto and borrowed his jacket for the game. He did not expect to be interviewed by James Sherman so it is not like he did it on purpose. He was jsut being honest and to be frank his brother spoke for him, whenever he spoke he said dutch all the way.

    2. I understand people being peeved if your Canadian (hey I am) but to be honest he has 2 nationalities he can play for, growing up there since he is 12 I can definetly see him feeling and being dutch. Heck he grew up there from teens onwards when you do your most growing up. This is not an Owen Hargreaves case.

    3. He has ties to both countries and probably feels alliegience to both but Dutch is just where his heart lays at the momment, it could change but that is his decision. Also, like someone said earlier, dutch passport is important for club career and that is where he makes his money.

    I feel for the guy and pissed at same time but hey gotta deal with it. PS Julian is putting him in a tough spot, should just let it be.

  2. He could barely find the field for a relegated team…if anyone bothered to translate this garbage, the Dutch would be laughing.

  3. As a CONCACAF supporter, I want Canada to do well. But as a US supporter, I’m a little afraid of them, if they bring in both Jon DeGuzman and Jr Hoilett.

  4. I doubt he’d be kissing his club career goodbye, there’s plenty of Americans playing in Europe that occupy international spots. It just makes it an extra complication in bringing him to your club if he were to revert back to Canada.

    Either way, I really doubt the Netherlands, even with their current struggles, are falling overthemselves to bring in a attacking mid/winger playing in the Spanish second division.

  5. Just to play devil’s advocate for a moment, perhaps his cosmopolitan upbringing means that *none* of those national anthems brings his blood to a fever pitch. I’m not making a judgment about it, just trying to understand his perspective.

    For Giuseppe Rossi, the idea of playing for the Azzurri clearly moved him, but JdG’s background isn’t as simple as that.

    In such a situation, I suppose the loyalty *might be* (might, because again, I don’t get his mindset) to play with the best possible team, as it means suiting up alongside more world-class players and getting more exposure. But his comments definitely make him seem like a self-absorbed mercenary.

  6. Whatever Benny’s alleged attitude problems, I don’t recall him ever being THAT arrogant. JdG, on the other hand…

  7. It’s a matter of passports and eligibility – plain and simple.

    In order to get his Dutch citizenship, JDG2 had to give up his Canadian citizenship (Holland requires you to give up your other nationalities to become a citizen).

    So as it stands, he is not currently eligible to play for Canada.

    If he wants to play for Canada, he will have to get his Canadian citizenship back, which will likely mean that he loses his Dutch citizenship.

    It’s the Dutch citizenship that opens up avenues across Europe. No work permits, no occupying a limited international slot. Especially important when your team just got relegated and it’s time to find a new club.

    Essentially – he can either play for Canada and kiss his club career in Europe goodbye, or focus on his club career and have no international one (it’s not like the Netherlands will call him up)

  8. Whatever. Those guys are overrated and overpaid. Good luck getting selected for the Dutch national team, in your dreams.

  9. Have you watched them recently? The CMNT would be improved with the addition of Julian LENNON, for god’s sake. They ain’t good.

  10. But for some athletes, it will always be about career, rather than country. I’m sure there are players on the US men’s basketball team, who see the Olympics as a way to raise their profiles rather than national pride.

    He has the passports, he has the right to make the decisions however he wants (just as the federations have the right to not bother with him).

  11. WTF???? I think you mistook Canada for Mexico when you said third largest country and second largest economy in the federation

  12. Pretty arrogant, that’s for sure. He makes it sound as though, if he were to play for Canada, it would be “Jonathan De Guzman” that would qualify for the World Cup. He’s very good but not that good.

  13. England will never happen no matter how much he wants it… or how much England wants it for that matter.

    The home nations (England, Scotland, Wales, N. Ireland) have an agreement in place that they will not cap players unless they have a direct bloodline linking them to a given nation. I’m not sure how that applies to immigrants. It just means that they won’t give Brazilian “B” team players a call if they’ve lived played for a club in Britain long enough to be eligible.

    See Nacho Novo (Scotland), and Arteta and Almunia (England)

    Unless Hoilett has some distant, British relative, England will never happen which is a relief.

  14. So he has family ties to Canada (nation of birth), Jamaica and the Philippines (parents), and plays professionally in Spain, yet he most identifies with the Dutch national team? Hmmm… I get that he moved to Holland when he was 12 and came through the Feyernood academy but it seems like he’s trying to leverage whichever team best suits his interests. Playing for the national team shouldn’t just be about which team can further your personal interests the most, but which country’s national anthem brings your emotions to a fever pitch. I’m not saying I can’t imagine that he’d say that the Netherlands is the country that he most personally identifies himself with, but that really doesn’t seem to be the message he is sending. I wish he would just answer the question: “What country do you most see as a part of yourself?” because that is really what international football should be about. The frustrating thing for countries like Canada/Jamaica is that I’m sure they would be many players’ answer to the preceding question, but they end up being strung along/often times ditched in favor of more prestigious footballing nations.

  15. Some similarities to where Tim Chandler may find himself with the US. On another note, just getting to the Hex may not be enough for the fence sitters to commit to CNT. Use the US as a proxy and there are players like Rossi and Subotic (played for US U-20) who chose other countries, even knowing they would have more chances at a World Cup roster slot if they played for the US. My hope is that Canada can make a significant rise up the CONCACAF food chain. It would be good for the region, good for MLS, good for USMNT and good for MNT to have the third largest country and second largest economy in the federation pulling its weight. Everyone rises with the tide.

  16. what a tool – if I was Canadian or a CANMNT supporter, I’d be PO’d.
    That being said, they need him, if they had him and Holiett patroling on the wings, they’d easily be good enough to earn that 3rd spot.
    Even with just the younger de Guzman they’d be pushing Honduras, Panama and Costa Rica for the 3rd spot.
    I get the feeling Holiett is holding out to see who is closer to a WC, Canada or Jamaica, than will make his choice. But if England came calling he’d put on the Three Lions jersey in a heartbeat.

  17. To add insult to injury he was wearing a 100th Anniversary UmbroCanadian national Team jacket at BMO Field when Janes Sharman from The Score interviewed him.

    What an arrogant jackass

  18. I can’t believe Canada sometimes.. so many duel nationals that don’t want to get involved with the CNT. I really hope they pull themselves together and become a strong north american rival.

    i wonder if they make it to the Hex if these fence sitters will join the team? it would be even better if they knocked Honduras out!

  19. Also bears noting that JdG’s Dutch Olympic experience was 5 years ago, and his pro experience there was over 3 years ago, and so you have a player who’s been in Spain 3 years and basically worked the Dutch immigration angle while playing soccer there, getting into this weird, backward-looking game when it’s neither his place of birth nor his brother’s country nor his current placement of employment nor his current residence. Even more tangential a connection than the German-Americans and yet he continues the games.

  20. JdG, your Dutch ship has sailed and yet you are still shouting ultimatums at it. Yes you played Dutch youth ball but they are playing in Euro 2012 without you, didn’t call you in for senior friendlies, qualifiers, or the tournament itself. Holland is not going to call you in because you threaten to defect to Canada. They will wave if they even care.

    For that matter, if JdG needs to apply for a Canadian switch, he doesn’t even have time for this posturing. Unlike the US, who can expect to be in the hex, Canada is in a three way dogfight for advancement, with perennially tough Honduras chasing them. Canada’s qualifying run might be over by October and he’ll have switched to a team that will be playing little more than Gold Cups for meaning until 2016. All he can rely upon is 6 semifinal games 2 of which are already gone. Do something or quit wasting our time.


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