Canada announces roster for Peru/Honduras friendlies

Head coach Stephen Hart has announced the players he’ll be taking into Canada’s upcoming friendlies against Peru (in Toronto, Sept. 4) and Honduras (in Montreal, Sept. 7) and they, without ado, are…

Goalkeepers Lars Hirschfeld, Haidar Al-Shaibani
Defenders Nana Attakora, Marcel de Jong, Dejan Jakovic, Paul Stalteri, Adam Straith
Midfielders Julian de Guzman, Will Johnson, Issey Nakajima-Farran, Jaime Peters, Atiba Hutchinson, Josh Simpson, Gianluca Zavarise, Iain Hume, Patrice Bernier
Strikers Simeon Jackson, Rob Friend, Dwayne DeRosario, Kevin McKenna (hey, it’s what he’s listed as)

Yeah, you read that right, Toronto FC fans. DeRo, JDG and Nana. As the team faces a stretch of three games in eight days. A whole blog post (or podcast, hint hint) could — and will — be devoted to the inevitable club vs. country debate (and “MLS respecting FIFA dates” complaints) that this will stir up.

For his part, Hart said “there’s always some wheeling and dealing” in negotiating with any club, and that he will consider limiting the playing time of the Toronto FC players in the Honduras game. He also said MLS’s refusal to respect FIFA international dates is “unfair” to both MLS and national teams, but that he and the clubs “will see how we can help each other on this.”

As for the rest of the roster…

It’s good to see a few young guys in the mix — Attakora, Jackson, Straith — as well as some new, if not necessarily young, guys — Zavarise, Al-Shaibani. But for the most part, this is the roster that Canada used in attempting (rather unsuccessfully) to qualify for World Cup 2010. The CSA describes the roster as “a mix of veterans and young players that are progressively making their way into the national program.” Hart says he “would like to use the core players and then introduce new players into the lineup slowly (to) see what variety we can play with that will give us a different tactical approach.”

All in all, this is a roster that gives us a good chance to win both games — and it provides some continuity ahead of next year’s Gold Cup, where the FIFA points (and potential of playing in the Confederations Cup) really matter.

This roster also brings with it some happy-smiley stories:

Stalteri, if he plays both games, will break Randy Samuel’s record of 82 caps for Canada. This will likely be his final hurrah with the national team, and it’s good that he gets a chance to do it on home soil. There will be a presentation made in Montreal if he’s on the roster for both games.

Iain Hume — damn is it good to see him back. He deserves a very warm welcome from the Canadian faithful, recovering as he has from a grotesque, life-threatening injury suffered on the field less than two years ago.

Simeon Jackson is on the roster. Simeon Jackson is freakin’ awesome. He will be presented with an award for winning 2009 Canadian player of the year prior to the game in Toronto (as will Attakora, for winning U20 player of the year).

As for who’s not there? Hart said he spoke to both Junior Hoilett and Teal Bunbury, but that both were more focused on establishing themselves with their club teams at this moment. On Hoilett specifically: “He’s not yet ready to commit to Canada.”

Hart spoke to Mike Klukowski, but he was unavailable. And as for David Edgar? “He has not answered the calls when called upon.”

In a general sense, he said it’s “exciting” to be playing at home, and hopes that the folks in Toronto and Montreal will create a strong pro-Canadian crowd.

Well, it’s up to us now.


11 Responses to “Canada announces roster for Peru/Honduras friendlies”

  1. David Edgar isn’t good enough right now anyway.

    • Even so, some people wonder if/when he’ll play for Canada. Though it seems to be more of an “if” than a “when”, at this point…

  2. Kevin Smith Says:

    Edgar worried me a year or two ago, but at this point he plays so little with his clubs that I feel he might never be worth calling up.

    He seems like the type of player who should have followed the Simeon Jackson path, starting low and working up.

    • Edgar’s name was invoked many times by those worried about Jackson’s ascension. But having a regular spot on Canada will likely only help Simeon’s club status… which, in turn helps his national status… which, well, you get it.

  3. We should sing this

    • Kevin Smith Says:

      I listened to that twice and couldn’t understand a word either time. However, since the title is “stand up for the Iain Hume!”, I’ll agree.

  4. So Bunbury declined? I guess getting more attention after scoring some goals, having a good game vs ManU and getting some post game praise from Sir Alex has him re-thinking his plan and now he’s back on the fence. let’s face it, this notion of concentrating on club football is really nothing more than a way for a player to buy time until it’s clear which national team will garner the best possible exposure and chance for a more lucrative career. Attakora and also needs to concentrate on club duties just as much as Hoilett or Bunbury and has also yet to get a St. cap, but he answered the call. I’m now getting nervous that these guys will fall through the cracks.

    • Kevin Smith Says:

      On the other hand, since Bunbury has games with KC on the 4th and the 11th, can you really blame him for choosing important club dates over a pair of semi-useless friendlies?

      • Yeah, Ramos, I’m definitely nervous too. But Kevin’s point is valid: it is MLS, and a rookie missing a late-season game (for a team trying to make the playoffs) would be shooting himself in the foot.

        And soccer players really need their feet.

  5. “Concentrate on club football” is how you say “No, I’m waiting for a better offer” in Traitorese.

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