The Canadian men’s national soccer team announced its roster for upcoming September friendlies Friday. The Canadians are set to play Qatar (Sept. 23) and Uruguay (Sept. 27) in Europe as the 2022 FIFA World Cup looms in November.
Forward Theo Corbeanu and central defender Joel Waterman have been named to coach John Herdman’s squad as relative newcomers. U.S.-Canada dual national Luca Koleosho is another name to note as an 18-year-old winger with La Liga experience.
Qatar and Uruguay are also set to compete in the World Cup, with Qatar serving as the host nation.
Corbeanu’s inclusion felt inevitable, given how well he’s been producing for Blackpool in the English Championship. The 20-year-old has three goals in his last five Championship appearances in just 265 minutes. While he may be something of an outsider to crack the final World Cup squad, he’s still one of 10 forwards listed on the roster. Canada is not short on attacking talent, but it feels like something will have to give within this group come November.
Herdman stressed in a Friday media availability that this was not a “do or die” camp for the players. Nevertheless, perhaps the most intriguing storyline in this camp is which forwards in the large group can separate themselves from the pack with their performance, and which can’t.
Herdman said that he’s looking for forwards who can show tactical flexibility in that they could provide cover at different positions than they’d be used to.
“So there’s a little bit of that testing going on this camp to see if certain players will buy into those roles,” said Herdman.
Waterman’s inclusion is also warranted given how he is currently second in minutes played on CF Montreal, an MLS Cup-contender, and his strength in moving the ball out from his own third of the field.
“Joel (Waterman) is a wonderful passer. He plays the game in the right way,” said Herdman.
To determine whether Waterman gets on the World Cup roster, Herdman seems intent on testing him against some of Canada’s better attackers in training to see if he can raise his level of play when needed.
Koleosho did not log any time for Canada when he was called into the previous camp in June. The match against Panama getting cancelled hurt Koleosho’s chances of seeing the field as he returned to Spain early to focus on his pre-season training. This camp could provide Herdman his first chance of seeing what Koleosho is capable of against his peers. Koleosho has made two substitute appearances for Espanyol in La Liga this season, but it’s clear Herdman believes in his potential.
“He’s starting to grow into that tier one player. And that’s exciting for Canada,” said Herdman.
Noticeably absent from this squad is Atiba Hutchinson, who is has yet to play for Besiktas in Turkey this season with a bone bruise. The 39-year-old Canada captain could end up being the oldest player at the 2022 World Cup, but there is clearly a level of concern at his readiness.
“It’s a tough situation, I can’t hide from it,” said Herdman.
Herdman said Hutchinson’s recovery has taken a “long time,” but they’re targeting a return for him at the end of October. The men’s national team’s sports science team plans to fly to Istanbul to aid in his recovery.
Canada announce their roster for September friendlies. As predicted, Joel Waterman and Theo Corbeanu join the team. #CanMNT pic.twitter.com/DvceApxs7N
— Joshua Kloke (@joshuakloke) September 16, 2022
Canadian men’s national team roster for September friendlies
- Milan Borjan
- Maxime Crépeau
- Dayne St. Clair
- Sam Adekugbe
- Derek Cornelius
- Alphonso Davies
- Alistair Johnston
- Scott Kennedy
- Richie Laryea
- Kamal Miller
- Steven Vitória
- Joel Waterman
- Stephen Eustáquio
- Mark-Anthony Kaye
- Ismaël Koné
- Jonathan Osorio
- Samuel Piette
- Charles-Andreas Brym
- Tajon Buchanan
- Lucas Cavallini
- Theo Corbeanu
- Jonathan David
- Junior Hoilett
- Luca Koleosho
- Cyle Larin
- Liam Millar
- Iké Ugbo
(Photo: Vaughn Ridley / Getty)