Sunday, December 18, 2016

Canada or Canadian-born Greatest All-time team

Canada at Mexico 1986

Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

This is my selection of a 23 member all-time team for players born or capped by Canada.  I am including players who chose to represent other countries. The number 23 was chosen because it is the official squad size for the World Cup Finals.

Canada's most significant achievements are winning the 1985 CONCACAF Championship to qualify for the 1986 FIFA World Cup and winning the 2000 CONCACAF Gold Cup to qualify for the 2001 FIFA Confederations Cup. Canada also won a gold medal in the 1904 Summer Olympics. The 1986 World Cup was their only successful qualification campaign in their history.
Canada's Gold Cup victory
GK: Joe Kennaway (Scotland, but also played for Canada)
Born in Canada.  He played in the American Soccer League between 1927 and 1931.  He moved to Scotland and joined Celtics in 1931.  He made 295 total appearances.  He represented Canada once in 1926.  In 1933, Kennaway represented Scotland to play against Austria.  Due to objections from other Home Nations, he never played for Scotland again.

GK: Craig Forrest 
Craig Forrest spent 12 years with Ipswich Town.  He also played with Chelsea and West Ham United, whilst also spending time on loan in the Football League with Colchester United. He was capped 56 times. He was voted the MVP of the 2000 Gold Cup as Canada won their first major international tournament.

GK: Asmir Begovic (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
The Begović family fled the Bosnian War to Germany and moved Canada when Asmir was 10 years old. He grew up in Canada and played for their youth team before switching to play for Bosnia and Herzegovina senior team. He helped Bosnia and Herzegovina to qualify for the WC in 2014.  Professionally, he started with Portsmouth. He spent most of his career with Stoke City in England. He was used as a backup for Chelsea.
Bergovic with Canada

RB: Robert Iarusci
In 2012, he was named to the all-time Canada XI men's team. He began his NASL career with Toronto Metros-Croatia. At the end of the 1977 season, he joined the New York Cosmos. They won consecutive Soccer Bowls. He was traded in the Spring of '79 to the Washington Diplomats and played there two seasons. Iarusci returned to the Cosmos to play 1981 through '83, and finished with the San Diego Sockers. He had 22 caps.

CM/RB: Atiba Hutchison 
Atiba Hutchison was six-time Canadian Player of the year in 2010 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. He was Danish Super Liga Player of the Year in 2010.  He was a central midfielder or a right wingback.  Between 2010 and 2013, he played for PSV Eindhoven in the Dutch Eredivisie. At the time of writing, he plays for Beşiktaş J.K. From 2003, he played over 78 times for Canada.
Atiba Hutchison 
CB: Bob Lenarduzzi
Lenarduzzi began his career with Reading in England. He then joined Vancouver Whitecaps in 1974 in the team's first season. He played 11 seasons for Vancouver until the league folded in 1984. Lenarduzzi holds the record for most games played in the league, with 312. Lenarduzzi played all eleven positions during his tenure with the team. He was also voted NASL North American player of the year in 1978.  The Whitecaps won the NASL Soccer Bowl championship in 1979. Earned 47 caps and went to Mexico 1986.

CB: Jason de Vos 
He is considered to be Canada's greatest center-back.  He captained Canada as it won the Gold cup in 2000.  He made the Gold cup all-tournament team in 2000 and 2002.  He spent most of his career in the UK, playing for Dundee United, Wigan Atletic and Ipswich Town. In 2012 as part of the Canadian Soccer Association's centennial celebration, he was named to the all-time Canada XI men's team.

CB: Frank Yallop 
Frank Yallop played in the Premiership before moving to play in MLS in 1996.  He spent 13 seasons with Ipswich Town and a brief loan move to Blackburn rovers.  With Ipswich Town, he relegated to the seond divsion im 1986.  In 1992, he helped the club to gain to First Divison. He played with Tampa Bay Mutiny between 1996 and 1998.  He capped 52 times for Canada from 1990 and 1997.
Frank Yallop 

CB: Randy Samuel
Samuel started his career with the Edmonton Eagles and Vancouver Whitecaps, before joining PSV Eindhoven in 1985. Playing just five Eredivisie games for PSV, he moved on to FC Volendam in 1987, becoming a key member of the team until he moved on to league rivals Fortuna Sittard in 1990.   He later played for Port Vale , Harstad IL(Norway),Vancouver 86ers, the Hampton Roads Mariners, and the Montreal Impact. He went to Mexico 1986 for Canada.

LB: Bruce Wilson 
Considered to be Canada's greatest player. He captained Canada at the WC Finals in 1986.  He was capped 50 times. He played for the Vancouver Whitecaps from 1974 to 1977, the Chicago Sting in 1978 and 1979, the New York Cosmos in 1980, and the Toronto Blizzard from 1981 to 1984. He was a six-time all-star selection, including three first-team selections (Vancouver in '77, Chicago in '79, Toronto in '84).

DM/RB: Paul Stalteri 
Paul Stalteri is Canada's all-time cap record holder with 84 caps.  He was a member of Canada's Gold Cup winning team in 2000. He played over 150 times for Werder Bremen winning the Bundesliga in 2003-2004. He also played for Tottenham Hotspurs and Fulham.  He was elected Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame.

DM: Mike Sweeny
In 1980, the Edmonton Drillers of the North American Soccer League signed Sweeney. He spent three seasons with the Drillers before moving to the Vancouver Whitecaps for the 1983 season. While he began the 1984 season with the Whitecaps, he was traded to the Golden Bay Earthquakes. The NASL folded at the end of the 1984 season. He continued to play indoor soccer.  He was capped 61 times and went to Mexico 1986.

CM/DMJulian de Guzman 
Julian de Guzman is one of the most successful Canadian player in Europe.  He is best remembered for Deportivo La Coruna between 2005 and 2009.  He was voted their best player for the 2007-2008 season. He also had a remarkable career with Hanover 96. For the national team, he is capped 76 times at the time of writing.  He was the MVP for the 2007 Gold Cup.

CM: Owen Hargreaves (England)
Born in Canada, Hargreaves began his career with Bayern Munich. He spent 7 years there, winning the Champions League. He joined Manchester United in 2007, winning the Premier League and Champions League in his first season.  He was capped by Wales on the youth level, but played for England as a senior.  In 2001, he became the first English international who never lived in England.  He played in the WC Finals of 2002 and 2006, and the Euro 2004.
Owen Hargreaves
CM: Jonathan de Guzman (Nethertlands)
Jonathan De Guzmán is the brother of Julian. He progressed through the Feyenoord Academy, making his first team debut in 2005. In 2010 de Guzmán signed with RCD Mallorca following a free transfer. The following summe.  he went to Villarreal.  He later played for Swansea and Napoli.  Born in Canada, he became a Dutch citizen in 2008.  He played for Netherlands youth side.  In 2013, he finally received his first senior cap.  He played at the World Cup Finals in 2014.
Jonathan de Guzman

LW: John van 't Schip (Netherlands)
Born in Canada, Van 't Schip began his career in the Jong Ajax youth academy. He would spend the next 11 seasons with the club. During this period he became league champion in 1982, 1983, 1985, and 1990, and cup champion in 1983, 1986 and 1987. He also helped Ajax win the 1987 European Cup Winners' Cup and the 1992 UEFA Cup. After Ajax's UEFA Cup victory, he was bought by Italian team Genoa, where he played four seasons.
John van 't Schip 
FW: Edward Hagarty Parry (England)
Born in Canada, Parry played 3 times for England in 1882. He scored once. He was captain (and goal-scorer) of the Old Carthusians team which won the 1881 FA Cup Final.   He was the first overseas-born captain of an FA Cup winning team. He was also a member of the Wanderers club as well as for Swifts of Slough, Remnants, Windsor, and Stoke Poges clubs.

FW: Tomasz Radzinski 
He played youth football in Poland and Germany before moving to Canada.   He began his career in Canada before he returned to Europe, joining Germinal Ekeren in Belgium in 1994. From there he eventually signed for Anderlecht. At Everton, Radziński scored 25 times in 91 Premiership outings before requesting a transfer, eventually securing a three-year deal with Fulham F.C. worth £1.75 million.  He played 46 times for Canada.
Tomasz Radzinski 
FW:  John Catliff
Catliff was an All-American at Harvard.  He was a Canadian Soccer League star, scoring the second most goals of anyone in the League's six-year history with 69 goals in total. He played with Calgary Kickers. He then spent the next six seasons with the Vancouver 86ers, who became the CSL champions in 4 consecutive seasons from 1988 through 1991. He was capped 44 times.  He missed Mexico 1986 through an injury.

FW:  Alex Bunbury
Born in Guyana, Bunbury started playing professionally in Canada. In 1993, after an unassuming season for West Ham United, he moved to Portugal's C.S. Marítimo, going on to become the club's all-time leading goalscorer in the Primeira Liga with 59 goals. In his second season, he won the Foreign Player of the Year award, and he scored a career-best 15 goals in the 1998–99 campaign. In early 1999, he joined Kansas City Wizards of MLS. Capped 65 times for Canada.
Alex Bunbury
ST:  Paul Peschisolido
Over 16 seasons, he played for 9 different clubs in England: Birmingham City, Stoke City, West Bromwich Albion, Fulham, Queens Park Rangers, Sheffield United, Norwich City, Derby County and Luton Town.  From 1992 onward, he played 53 times for Canada, scoring 10 goals, in a 12-year senior international career. On 1 June 2013, he was inducted into the Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame.

ST:  Dale Mitchell
Mitchell began his career with the Vancouver Whitecaps (1977, 1978), then played for the Portland Timbers (1979 to 1982) and for the Montreal Manic (1983). He was an original player with the Vancouver 86ers of the Canadian Soccer League and APSL for whom he scored 37 goals during seasons from 1988 to 1990 and 1992 to 1994. He was with the Toronto Blizzard for the 1991 season. Capped 55 times.  He played in Mexico 1986.

FW:  Dwayne De Rosario
He played for the Toronto Lynx, FSV Zwickau and Richmond Kickers early in his career. He came to prominence in the 2000s playing for the San Jose Earthquakes, Houston Dynamo, Toronto FC, NY Red Bulls and D.C. United. A four-time MLS Cup champion, he also won the 2011 MLS MVP award. He is the sixth-leading scorer in MLS history with 104 goals.  He was capped 81 times.  He was a part of the team that won the Gold Cup.
Dwayne De Rosario

Honorable Mention
Lydon Hooper, Lars Hirschfeld, Richard Hastings, Paul James, Mark Watson, Colin Miller, Norm McLeod, Wes McLeod, Mark Watson, Nick Dasovic, Carlo Corazzin, Colin Miller, Mike Stojanović, Kevin McKenna, Mark Watson, Pat Onstad, Ian Bridge, Paul Dolan, Paul James, Jim Brennan, Simeon Jackson, Sam Lenarduzzi, Lee Wilson,  Jimmy Douglas, Fred Whittaker, Geordie Campbell, Dave Turner, Errol Crossan, Mark Chung(USA), Daniel Fernandes (Portugal), Ricardo Ferreira (Portugal), John Little (Scotland), Alan Mannus (Northern Ireland), John Kerr Jr (USA), Ricardo Ferreira (Portugal), Jimmy Nicholl (Northern Ireland), Yassine Bounou (Morocco).

Squad Explanation
-- As titled, all players were born in Canada or capped by Canada.
-- Jimmy Nicholl (Northern Ireland) who was born in Canada went to the World Cup Finals in 1986, the same tournament where Canada qualified.  I decided to go with two Canadian rightbacks. Robert Iarusci is named by Canadian FA as its Best XI.  Atiba Hutchison probably would become one of the greatest Canadian players.
-- Asmir Begovic, Joe Kennaway (Scotland, but also played for Canada), Edward Hagarty Parry (England), John van 't Schip (Holland), Jonathan de Guzman (Holland) and Owen Hargreaves (England) were capped by other countries.  
-- John van 't Schip (Netherlands), Jonathan de Guzman (Netherlands) and Owen Hargreaves (England) had successful European club careers that none of the Canadian national team players could match.
-- Daniel Fernandes was born in Canada. He was capped twice by Portugal between 2007 and 2009. 
-- Julian and Jonathan de Guzman are brothers and represented different countries. Jonathan chose to represent Netherlands.
-- Landon Donovan's father was born in Canada, but Landon was born in the USA.  He is not Canadian. I don't think he should include in this blog.
-- Mark Chung was born in Toronto to Chinese Jamaican parents. His family moved from Toronto to Florida when he was twelve. He was one of the best players in MLS during the mid-1990's. He made my honorable mention.
-- Carlo Corazzin led Canada to the victory at the 2000 Gold Cup, but he only made honourable mention. The forwards who made this team were Catliff, De Rosario, Mitchell, Bunbury, Peschisolido and Radzinski.  They are all big names in Canadian football. Four of them were selected by the Canadian FA as their Best XI.  Both Radzinski and Peschisolido had one of the most successful club career for a Canadian international player.
-- I was reluctant to drop Kevin McKenna.  He was a part of the 2000 Gold Cup team and had a successful club career in Europe. The rest of the defensive corps was also outstanding. Iarusci, Wilson, Samuel and de Vos were selected by Canadian FA for their Best ever XI.  Bob Lenarduzzi holds the record for most games played in NASL. Frank Yallop is probably the most famous Canadian defender in the last 20 years. Hutchison is getting to be one of greatest Canadian footballer of all-time.
-- Dwayne De Rosario, Craig Forest,  Jason de Vos, Paul Stalteri,  Tomasz Radzinski, Alex Bunbury and Paul Peschisolido were on the 2000 Gold Cup winning team.  Six other players made the honourable mention: Pat Onstad, Kevin McKenna, Richard Hastings, Mark Watson, Nick Dasovic and Carlo Corazzin.
-- Bob Lenarduzzi, Bruce Wilson, Mike Sweeney, Randy Samuel and Dale Mitchell went to the 1986 WC Finals in Mexico. John Catliff missed the tournament because of an injury.  He contributed during the WC Qualifiers.
-- Except for the "foreign" players, Alex Bunbury, Atiba Hutchison and  Robert Iarusci are the only players who do not belong to the 2000 Gold Cup team or the 1986 World Cup team.
--Fred Whittaker, Geordie Campbell and Dave Turner played before the War.  Whittaker played for Notts County in 1946. Errol Crossan also played in England during the 1950's.  They only made honourable mention.
-- Fikayo Tomori also switched his international commitment to England at the youth level, but he has not played at the senior level.  He is an interesting prospect for this blog in the future.


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