Atiba Hutchinson Ready For Final Swan Song In Concacaf Nations League Final
Not only is tomorrow a big game for the Canadian men’s national team but also the last time we will see Atiba Hutchinson don the red and white.
On Saturday, just one day before the Canada-US rivalry squares off once again ,the Canadian met the media one last time to discuss his retirement from the game.
“Pretty much, this is it”, Hutchinson responded when first asked about his future for club and country. “It’s going to be my last kick at it, and these last two games were my main focus and playing for a trophy.”
“This one being my last run, tomorrow is my last time putting on that shirt and representing Canada. Obviously it’s a very big game, and I think that’s the most important – I am going to enjoy every moment of it.”
Hutchinson would love nothing more than to go out with a trophy in his hands.
“It’s a chance at us winning a trophy, and if that were to happen it would be an amazing accomplishment. I would be able to walk out with a very good feeling – that being my first trophy for Canada – so I am looking forward to it.”
He was asked about his emotions going into his final game tomorrow and the feeling from his family.
“There’s a lot of emotions, obviously. It’s been 20 years of representing Canada. I’ve enjoyed all of it, coming into camp and getting together with the boys, and a lot has been going through my mind the last little while.”
Hutchinson says his main focus right now is on the game tomorrow against the US.
“I want to do anything I can to help out the team and prepare and be ready for that game,” he says.
I asked him what was his most cherished memory over the past 20 years and one of them was the World Cup.
“It’s probably two of them, qualifying for the World Cup was the best feeling, and walking out onto the pitch with the team on the World Cup stage is something we had been dreaming about for many years. I dreamt about it since I was a little kid, and to know that moment is right there and to have the country behind you…that’s probably the ultimate for me.”
I followed up by asking if he has envisioned staying with Canada Soccer on John Herdman coaching or technical staff and he confirmed they have talked about it.
“Yes, we have spoken a little bit with John and he is always trying to see where my head is at on what I want to do in the future. We have been speaking about it for a long time now.”
Hutchinson was also asked about his own development and how he has seen his growth in the last 20 years.
“I was a different player,, and when you are younger you enjoy going out onto the pitch and you play free, I was a lot more off the hook and not as much experience and the older you get to understand what is expected of you.”
“I think I learned a lot playing here with the national team and with the different clubs I have played with have helped me along the way, gaining that experience of knowing what it takes to win games.”
Hutchinson believes this team and this squad have the chance to go very far and become one of the best teams on the planet.
“To be honest, I didn’t know that we would come to this time with so much talent on this squad. I felt like this would have been years from now and things just really came together very quickly. I am very happy where we are as a team and how the future looks.”
The Canadian confirmed that one of the main reasons he decided now to call it a career is mostly because his wife is expecting a child and he didn’t want to risk not being there for his family.
“To be honest, my wife is pregnant – we have a baby that is on the way and it’s getting really close, so I wanted to be a part of this…we’ve got a chance at winning a trophy and I didn’t want to be away at this time.”
He was asked about the game tomorrow against the US and what a win would mean for the rivalry going forward.
“We have been climbing the ladder getting better and better, and I feel like we closed the gap. Qualifying showed an example of where we can be and we set the bar high. We want to be the best in Concacaf, so to win a trophy tomorrow would be huge for us.”
Hutchinson also confirmed for now he will be staying in Istanbul for the next little while and he will take the time to make a decision on what to do with his future.
Canada will face the USA in Las Vegas at Allegiant Stadium with a kickoff scheduled for 8:30PM. It can be seen on OneSoccer.
Header Image Photo Credit: John Jacques