It's almost time to get excited about the Canadian men's national team again. In a little under two weeks, we play an absolute A-list friendly against Argentina, an opportunity so prestigious that even the Toronto FC stars are talking their club into letting them make an appearance. The eyes of the world will be on international soccer in the summer for obvious reasons, then in September come two exciting home friendlies. It's a fantastic set of opportunities, the sort we rarely get between World Cup qualifying campaigns, and they're chances that the national team will hopefully seize.
But what will the composition of that national team be? If there's one thing international soccer fans love, it's debating the composition of their national teams. For Canada, their national pool is smaller than some other nations, but it might get larger. For there are a surprising number of decent players out there with Canadian roots who aren't yet tied down to their home nations; players who might someday be lured into the Canadian fold. Some of them are household names, but not all of them.
More worryingly, there are a few Canadians who could yet be drawn to foreign pastures. Most of them have given no indication that they're ready to leave, but for the longest time neither did Asmir Begovic.
This is a (hopefully exhaustive) list of those notable Canadians.
Before the list begins, let's go over the ground rules:
- Players are only tied to a nation by playing in a full FIFA sanctioned tournament. This includes the confederational championships such as the CONCACAF Gold Cup, the Confederations Cup, World Cup qualifying, and the World Cup itself. Non-senior tournaments such as the U-20 World Cup do not count.
- The eligibility rules are somewhat complicated, but in general if a player is a citizen of a country that he's spent a considerable amount of time in, he can represent it. He can represent the country he was born in, and he can represent the country of his parents' origin.
- A player can only switch between nations once. This will henceforth be known as the "Jacob Lensky rule".
- A lot of the guys listed here probably won't actually switch (helllooooooo, Dominic Imhof). They are listed anyway for completeness's sake.
- If you have any notable additions or corrections, please make note in the comments!
May 14, 2010: added the mystery man Pedro Pacheco to the Canada list.
May 30, 2010: updated for the South American friendlies.
Currently in the Canadian mix, but could go elsewhere:
GK Haidar Al-Shaïbani (Nimes [Ligue 2]) - eligible for Canada, Algeria, Iraq, and Ukraine. One cap.
GK Michal Misiewicz (Sunderland [English Premier League, reserves]) - eligible for Canada, Poland, and Greece. Four U-20 caps.
GK Adam Street (unattached) - eligible for Canada and England. Seven U-20 caps.
DF David Edgar (Burnley [Coca-Cola Championship]) - eligible for Canada and England. Twenty-seven U-20 caps.
DF/MF Dominic Imhof (FC Tuggen [Swiss 1. Liga, which is actually the third division]) - eligible for Canada and Switzerland. One cap.
MF Jaineil Hoilett (1. FSV Mainz 05 [1.Bundesliga, youth]) - eligible for Canada and Jamaica. Five U-20 caps.
MF Pedro Pacheco (C.D. Nacional [Portugese Liga]) - eligible for Canada and Portugal. Two caps.
MF Carlos Rivas (C.D. Universidad de Concepcion [Chilean Primera Division]) - eligible for Canada and Chile. One cap.
MF Massih Wassey (FC Schalke 04 [1.Bundesliga, reserves]) - eligible for Canada, Afghanistan, and Germany. Two caps.
MF/FW Alex Semenets (Vancouver [USSF Division Two, Residency]) - eligible for Canada and Ukraine. Four U-20 caps.
FW Randy Edwini-Bonsu (Vancouver [USSF Division Two]) - eligible for Canada and Ghana. One cap.
MF/FW Junior Hoilett (Blackburn [English Premier League]) - eligible for Canada and Jamaica.
FW Teal Bunbury (Kansas City [MLS]) - eligible for Canada and the United States.
Appeared for other national teams but could come back:
GK Joe Cannon (San Jose [MLS]) - eligible for the United States and Canada. Two caps.
GK Daniel Fernandes (VfL Bochum [2.Bundesliga]) - eligible for Portugal and Canada.* Two caps.
DF Ugo Ihemelu (FC Dallas [MLS]) - eligible for the United States, Nigeria, and Canada.* Two caps.
DF Steven Vitória (FC Porto [Portugese Liga]) - eligible for Portugal and Canada. Thirteen U-20 caps.
MF Jonathan de Guzman (Feyenoord [Dutch Eredivisie]) - eligible for the Netherlands, Jamaica, and Canada. Six U-23 caps.
FW O'Brian White (Toronto FC [MLS]) - eligible for Jamaica and Canada. Capped at U-20 level.
* - Daniel Fernandes is on the Portugese World Cup roster and would be cap-tied if he appeared in a match. Ugo Ihemelu appeared on the bench for Canada during World Cup qualifying against St. Vincent and the Grenadines despite not being eligible at the time; he has appeared in two friendlies for the United States and is not cap-tied. There are some question marks over his Canadian citizenship but he is probably eligible for us.