Gasparotto Hoping To Catch Herdman’s Eye In 2020
2019 was a big year for Luca Gasparotto: after an eight-year stint playing overseas, the 24-year-old centre-back returned to Canada to sign for York9 FC and take part in the inaugural Canadian Premier League season, where he solidified himself as the top defensive choice under club gaffer Jim Brennan.
The Canadian Premier League gave him ample opportunity to pick up playtime at the professional level, with the six-foot-two figure of Gasparotto becoming an ever-present figure for the Nine Stripes: he was the only player to play every possible minute from the inaugural season, earning himself the Iron Man moniker as he played 3,060 minutes of action across all competitions, even donning the armband when Manny Aparicio was off the pitch.
Now that he’s signed on for another season, Gasparotto has set a few goals for himself: keep healthy, continue to fight for every possible minute, and catch John Herdman’s eye in an effort to break back into the national team setup.
During his time overseas, Gasparotto received two national team call-ups, but never got to make his debut for Les Rouges. The 24-year-old is hoping that consistent playtime in a league closely watched by the national team coaching staff will lead to new opportunities at the national level:
That’s one of my goals as well. I’d like to get back into the national team set up. It’s encouraging to see players from the CPL being recognized and being part of the national team. It’s definitely something I’m working towards, to try to be more consistent and play at the top of my game every week, and hopefully that will help me get a sniff in the national team pool again and that’s what I’m working towards. First and foremost, I’m trying to stay healthy, that’s my main thing, and to build on what I did this year and then hopefully that next step will come.Luca Gasparotto
The inaugural season of Canadian Premier League action saw two defenders of similar ages get national team recognition: both Amer Didic and Dominick Zator received national team call-ups under John Herdman, though neither ultimately got to make their debut. With Canada having been firmly trounced by the USA in its last match, it’s clear that the national team still needs to find a way to put consistent defensive performances together.
Prior to turning 22, Gasparotto made several appearances at various levels of the national youth team setup, with his last competitive appearances coming for the Canada U-23s at the 2015 CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying tournament. Aged twenty at the time, he was also called up by Benito Floro ahead of a World Cup Qualifier against Belize, though he didn’t get to debut for the senior side.
Gasparotto’s last call-up to the national team came in 2017 during a friendly against Scotland. He stayed on the bench for that match, though current CPLers like Ben Fisk, Marco Bustos, and Nik Ledgerwood saw playing time in the 1-1 draw.
When 2020 does arrive and Gasparotto gets a chance to put in more performances, York9 FC fans will be happy to see the centre-back pair up with the likes of Nathan Ingham, Morey Doner, and Diyaeddine Abzi once again next season.
I think it’s key to keep the guys together and not change it too much, especially if you’re playing well and you’ve built that chemistry and understanding together. It’s important to keep that going as long as it’s working, and I thought it worked quite well. Obviously, we’d like to keep more clean sheets and win more games, but I think we were very solid defensively and to keep that group together for another season and to build on what we did last season, that’ll be really important for us, so I’m looking forward to getting back and playing with the guys, and like I said just trying to get better and improve on what we did this season.Luca Gasparotto
If the York Region side can improve upon its third-place overall finish, it’ll be in with a shout for the Canadian Premier League Finals – and that means another big opportunity for Gasparotto to impress. Still, there’s a lot of work to be done to catch up with the likes of Cavalry FC and Forge FC, both of whom dominated the spring and fall seasons on their way to the finals.
Whether Gasparotto’s consistent playing time in Canada’s professional domestic league can lead to an opportunity under John Herdman remains to be seen, but it’s clear that breaking back into the national team pool is one of Gasparotto’s key objectives for 2020. If the next season unfolds like 2019 did, he’ll have ample minutes to prove his worth.