The Canadian men’s national team return to action next week for the first time since their participation at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
On Thursday, Canada Soccer named head coach John Herdman’s squad of players responsible for taking CanMNT’s first step into their new post-World Cup landscape by facing Curaçao and Honduras in CONCACAF Nations League clashes later this month.
Among many of the usual suspects from World Cup qualifying and the final tournament in Qatar, the group includes several uncapped players as the national team looks to qualify for the 2023 Gold Cup and make it to their first Nations League Finals.
A trio of new faces – goalkeeper Tom McGill, defender Dominick Zator, and midfielder Victor Loturi – will aim to win their first Canada caps when Les Rouges face Curaçao on the road on March 25 and Honduras at BMO Field on March 28.
Alphonso Davies and Jonathan David headline a roster which contains 17 players who made the trip to the 2022 World Cup. Other regulars named include 40-year-old captain Atiba Hutchinson – despite his reported upcoming retirement plans – and CanMNT record goalscorer Cyle Larin. Alistair Johnston has also been called upon even though the right-back will miss the Curacao match due to suspension.
Among the notable omissions are forwards Ike Ugbo and Lucas Cavallini. Junior Hoilett is unavailable for selection due to injury, and recently named CF Montréal captain, Samuel Piette has also been left out while he contends with his own fitness issues. “He’ll be a big miss [but] he’s not currently fit enough for this window” Herdman told media later on Thursday. “That’s the same for Junior Hoilett, [Lucas] Cavallini.”
Piette, whose CFM teammate Kamal Miller is included despite being an injury doubt for his club this coming weekend, is replaced in the squad by 21-year-old Victor Loturi in what is the midfielder’s first call-up.
Herdman is likely looking to cement his interest in Loturi, after the Ross County midfielder received a call-up from the South Sudan Football Association for their upcoming Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers. According to FIFA eligibility rules, players who could represent more than one nation are only cap-tied after making three appearances for a specific country, with at least one appearance in a competitive match.
Alongside Loturi, Zator is one of two former CPL players in Herdman’s squad. The two were former teammates with Cavalry FC during the 2019 and 2020 CPL seasons before Zator made a switch to York United. The now-Korona Kielce defender was one of the first names known on the roster after the Polish club shared that the 27-year-old has been named to a Canada camp for the very first time earlier this week. Zator got the nod ahead of Mo Farsi, a player who had been touted as a potential inclusion after starting and impressing in all three games for Columbus Crew so far this season but was ultimately left out of the squad.
“I’m looking forward to seeing Victor in our environment, and Dominick Zator,” Herdman told media. “These are players who have come through our Canadian Premier League and taken a risk to go to Europe… and are getting consistent minutes in leagues where it’s not easy.”
Meanwhile, McGill, a 22-year-old who plays for English club Brighton and Hove Albion, will likely act as Canada’s third-string keeper in the absence of the injured Maxime Crépeau. The England-born keeper has appeared in four Premier League 2 matches for Brighton’s under-21 team this season. McGill has previous experience with the Three Lions at the under-20 level.
Toronto FC’s Jonathan Osorio, Mark-Anthony Kaye, and Richie Laryea are joined by club teammate Ayo Akinola. The striker will be making his return to the national team for the first time since sustaining an ACL tear against the United States in a July 2021 Nations League match. The dual-national has three caps to his name and is yet to score a goal for Canada.
Centre-back Scott Kennedy will also be making his return to the national team after missing out on World Cup action through a shoulder injury. The 25-year-old Calgary native has only made two appearances for Bundesliga 2 club Jahn Regensburg since returning from injury in late January.
It had been suggested that Nova Scotian Jacob Shaffelburg, who has scored twice for Nashville SC to start the 2023 MLS season, would be rewarded with a return to the national team, but that has not materialized. Nor was there a call-up for Kyle Hiebert, the St. Louis City centre-back who has had a similarly strong opening to the campaign.
Related read: St. Louis City’s Kyle Hiebert, Nashville’s Jacob Shaffelburg making strong cases for CanMNT selection
CanMNT will enter the clash with Curaçao on a record 15-match undefeated streak at home including a joint-record seven-match home win streak.
Canada’s full roster:
GK – Milan Borjan | SRB / FK Crvena Zvezda (Red Star Belgrade)
GK – Tom McGill | ENG / Brighton & Hove Albion U-21
GK – Dayne St. Clair | USA / Minnesota United FC
CB – Derek Cornelius | SWE / Malmö FF
CB – Scott Kennedy | GER / SSV Jahn Regensburg
CB – Kamal Miller | CAN / CF Montréal
CB – Steven Vitória | POR / GD Chaves
CB – Dominick Zator | POL / Korona Kielce
FB – Samuel Adekugbe | TUR / Galatasaray SK
FB – Alistair Johnston | SCO / Celtic FC
FB – Richie Laryea | CAN / Toronto FC
M – Stephen Eustáquio | POR / FC Porto
M – Atiba Hutchinson | TUR / Beşiktaş JK
M – Mark-Anthony Kaye | CAN / Toronto FC
M – Ismaël Koné | ENG / Watford FC
M – Victor Loturi | SCO / Ross County FC
M – Jonathan Osorio | CAN / Toronto FC
F- Ayo Akinola | CAN / Toronto FC
F – Charles-Andreas Brym | NED / FC Eindhoven
F – Tajon Buchanan | BEL / Club Brugge KV
F – Jonathan David | FRA / Lille OSC
F – Alphonso Davies | GER / FC Bayern München
F – Cyle Larin | ESP / Real Valladolid CF