Here’s The 26 Men Leading Canada Into The World Cup
Canada’s selection of 26 athletes for the 2022 FIFA World Cup is now official.
Head coach John Herdman has named the full 26-man roster who will represent Canada in Qatar, with Les Rouges placed in a tough group alongside Belgium, Croatia, and Morocco. It will mark Canada’s first World Cup since 1986, and is only the second time the country has qualified for the world’s biggest sporting competition.
Without further ado, here’s the Canadian national team for the 2022 World Cup:
GK: Milan Borjan
35-year-old Red Star Belgrade goalkeeper Milan Borjan won’t need his infamous sweatpants in Qatar, where he’ll be the number one goalkeeper for Canada. Born in Croatia but raised in Hamilton, Ontario, he’s been an ever-present goalkeeper for Canada and clocks in as one of the highest level athletes in the team. At the club level he’s enjoying an invincible period with Belgrade, collecting the Serbian SuperLiga five times in a row with two Serbian Cup wins to boot.
GK: Dayne St. Clair
Following an injury to Maxim Crepeau, Dayne St. Clair will enter the 2022 World Cup as Canada’s number two. The Minnesota United goalkeeper has impressed at the MLS level, where a breakout season in 2020 saw the young Canuck prove himself to be a starting calibre shotstopper. He recently suited up for Canada in a World Cup preparation match against Bahrain, and he’ll for action should Canada need him in Qatar.
GK: James Pantemis
CF Montreal shotstopper James Pantemis has yet to make a senior national team debut, though he’s been called up to the squad before. His big breakout camp with a stellar loan spell at Valour FC in 2020, and he used that momentum to launch himself straight into Major League Soccer heights. He’ll only see minutes if Canada is struck by multiple injuries, but this’ll be a great experience for the 25-year-old.
DF: Steven Vitoria
Clocking in at six-foot-five, 35-year-old veteran centre-back Steven Vitoria is an absolute brick wall at the back for Canada. The Toronto-born defender once played for Portugal’s youth team, but switched allegiance to Canada ten years ago. He hasn’t looked back since, becoming a big reason why Canada booked tickets for Qatar – and he’s one to watch on set pieces, too.
DF: Kamal Miller
With 28 national team appearances to his name following an international debut in 2019, Kamal Miller is a defender with a profile that’s quickly rising. The CF Montreal defender had a stellar year back home, with the six-foot tall centre-back now tasked to come up big yet again on the football’s biggest stage.
DF: Derek Cornelius
Another young defensive piece at the back, 24-year-old Derek Cornelius brings a sizable six-foot-two presence and a sturdy force to the Reds’ backline. Currently on loan from hte Whitecaps at Greek top flight side Panetolikos, he’ll be one of our best depth options at the back and will likely see time on the pitch in Qatar.
DF: Joel Waterman
The first Canadian Premier League graduate to crack a World Cup roster, Joel Waterman’s rise has defied the odds: he went from college ball to a starter at the pro level with Cavalry FC, then made history as the first CPL-to-MLS transfer to join CF Montreal just one year later. While he took time to adjust, he had a breakout season with CF Montreal and, having made his debut just last week to replace a heartbreakingly injured Doniel Henry, he might now take to the pitch on the world’s biggest stage.
DF: Richie Laryea
Right-back Richie Laryea has punished many a defense with his bursting runs into the box, with the tireless defender coming up big in his own defensive end, too. While his move to Premier League side Nottingham Forest may not have panned out, the 27-year-old Toronto FC full-back is a crucial piece to the fearless way in which Canada plays.
FB: Sam Adekugbe
The left-flank will have a fast and steady talisman in Sam Adekugbe, a perhaps undersung component of the squad: the Hatayspor full-back helps connect the dots on the left, where his link-up play with Alphonso Davies will be a crucial component for Canada. The 27-year-old has been a consistent performer at the national team level, and he’ll be hoping for more of the same in Qatar.
DF: Alistair Johnston
The last few years have been a whirlwind for right-back Alistair Johnston, who jumped from semi-pro side Vaughan Azzurri to becoming an instant MLS starter for Nashville SC. This year saw CF Montreal splash the cash to bring in the fast-footed engine, who made his first start for Canada just one year ago but hasn’t missed a chance to suit up for the side in the time since. He’s one other sides might underestimate, but they shouldn’t.
MF: Atiba Hutchinson
The heartbeat of the team, Atiba Hutchinson has aged like a fine wine: at 39 years of age, he’s still a crucial component at both the club and country level. The veteran midfielder pulls strings for Turkish side Besiktas JK, and his career hours includes trophies aplenty for them, PSV, and Copenhagen.
Herdman has relied heavily on the big leader, who made his international debut all the way back in 2003. Should he feature in all three group matches, the third will mark his 100th appearance for Canada.
MF: Stephen Eustaquio
The 25-year-old FC Porto midfielder arrives to Qatar in blistering club form, scoring in back-to-back Champions League matches and his last two club appearances, too. Once a U-21 prospect for Portugal, Eustaquio committed to Canada in 2019 and hasn’t looked back since, becoming a key architect in the middle of the park for Les Rouges.
MF: Jonathan Osorio
Toronto FC legend Jonathan Osorio has a knack for scoring on the biggest stages of his careers. The one-time MLS Cup winner has scored at the Azteca for both club and country, and John Herdman has always entrusted the MLS veteran to help guide the team through thick and thin. Osorio, now 30, enters the World Cup on an expiring country ahead of hopeful move to Europe – this’ll be a big, career-defining moment for the Brampton icon.
MF: Mark-Anthony Kaye
Toronto FC midfielder Mark-Anthony-Kaye can help control the tempo in the middle of the park, with the MLS veteran – named an All-Star in 2019 – being no stranger to what Herdman requires. Kaye has suited up for Canada 37 times, and – despite a rusty performance against Bahrain – is typically a consistent performer for club and country.
MF: Samuel Piette
An absolute bulldog in midfield, CF Montreal’s Samuel Piette brings a hungry tenacity to the middle of the park. The Quebecois defensive midfielder has completed 65 appearances for Les Rouges over the last ten years, and his contributions connecting midfield to defense can make or break a bid to get out of a group stage where he’ll likely see minutes.
MF: David Wotherspoon
Former Scotland U-21 prospect David Wotherspoon completed an allegiance switch to Canada back in 2018, with the St. Johnstone midfielder now earning a World Cup nod as a depth option in the middle of the park. At 32, he’s a veteran presence who can help guide some of the younger stars, though his minutes will likely be limited, if at all.
MF: Liam Fraser
While former Toronto FC midfielder Liam Fraser was a surprising addition to the final roster, the big 24-year-old has plenty of upside to his game in the middle of the park. He’s accrued 15 appearances for Herdman since 2019, suggesting plenty of faith from Herdman in young Deinze midfielder. A good showing here could help him net a move upwards at the club level, too.
MF: Ismael Kone
CF Montreal rising star Ismael Kone now follows a breakout season at the club level with World Cup call-up, with the 20-year-old having just scored in a World Cup tune-up against Bahrain. While he’s certainly one to watch for the future, it’ll be interesting to see what the Montreal teen can do right now – and to his credit, he blends in well with a squad enjoying a golden generation of attackers.
FW: Alphonso Davies
Household name Alphonso Davies is, without a doubt, the biggest star the country has ever had. The 22-year-old Bayern Munich superstar clocks in as Canada’s most important piece, with his dazzling runs on the flank and defense prowess making him the world’s most valuable left-back. The four-time Bundesliga winner leaves nothing in the tank when representing his country, and Canada’s success on the world’s biggest stage leans largely on his young shoulders.
FW: Tajon Buchanan
One of Canada’s best and brightest young stars, 23-year-old Club Brugge maestro Tajon Buchanan can dazzle defenders with his fast feet and danger runs from the wing. It was only one year ago when Tajon was the talisman for Canada at the U-23 level, and he’s jumped into the senior team without looking back after that. He’s already appeared for Les Rouges 24 times, and we expect him to add to the tally in Qatar.
FW: Junior Hoilett
Super Junior Hoilett will be bringing the experience of over 300 club appearances with him to Qatar, where the Reading winger – who can also double as a full-back – will hope to mark the occasion with a 50th cap. At 32, this will be the biggest stage of the Brampton-born left winger’s career. He won’t be a starter for Canada, but expect him to come in when a difference-maker is needed.
FW: Liam Millar
FC Basel’s Liam Millar comes in as a young depth option on the wing, with the 23-year-old having long ago bought in to what John Herdman is selling. Having completed 16 national team appearances so far, the former Liverpool youth prospect shows good technical prowess out wide, though he isn’t likely to see much action in Qatar.
ST: Jonathan David
Lille superstar Jonathan David will be one of Canada’s most important athletes at the World Cup, with ‘the ice man’ entering with 22 goals in just 34 appearances for the national team. Entering the competition as a 22-year-old reportedly picking up Premier League and La Liga interest, a good showing here could make him a household name – and Canada will largely rely on the Ottawa-born striker if they’re to escape the group, too.
ST: Cyle Larin
Cyle Larin has been a staple attacker for Les Rouges for years now, with the Club Brugge attacker having come up big on many big moments during Canada’s qualifying run. The 27-year-old catapulted himself from MLS to Besiktas years ago, establishing himself as a world-calibre forward with plenty of physical and, of course, a clinical finish that often comes in clutch.
ST: Lucas Cavillini
Another big, physical present at the top of the park is Whitecaps striker Lucas Cavallini, a 29-year-old veteran who not only knows how to lace in a ball, but has a great sense of tactical awareness too. He can be emotional on the pitch, but sometimes that’s when a player shines their brightest. Having scored 17 goals in 33 appearances for Les Rouges, he’ll be hoping to add to his tally in short order, though he probably won’t be a starter.
ST: Ike Ugbo
24-year-old Troyes striker Ike Ugbo only committed to Canada last year after featuring regularly for England at the youth level. The six-foot-one striker was a Chelsea prospect for years, undergoing multiple loans before moving to Genk and, now, Troyes. He’s still working on breaking in to John Herdman’s setup, but the Ligue 1 man has a technical flair that can certainly catch unwary opponents out.
With the squad now finalized, Canada will undergo one last World Cup tune-up against Japan on November 17 before the World Cup group stage officially kicks off. Les Rouges will take on Belgium first on November 23, with bouts against Croatia and Morocco following on November 27 and December 1, respectively.
How each of the 26 men detailed above will fare is anyone’s game. Canada enter the group as firm underdogs, but John Herdman’s side has a knack for upsetting the proverbial apple cart.