John Herdman has called upon a mix of veterans and youngsters for his debut as coach of the Canadian men’s team.
Herdman officially announced his roster on Monday for Canada’s friendly against New Zealand on March 24 in Murcia, Spain, a list that includes midfielder Atiba Hutchinson, a six-time Canadian Player of the Year.
Players are expected to start arriving in Spain this weekend ahead of the game against New Zealand.
Four TFC players were named to the team: Defender Ashtone Morgan, midfielders Jonathan Osorio and Jay Chapman, and forward Tosaint Ricketts. Michael Petrasso, Raheem Edwards and Samuel Piette of the Montreal Impact were also included in Herdman’s roster.
No members of the Vancouver Whitecaps were picked by Herdman – the Whitecaps have an MLS regular-season game against the LA Galaxy scheduled for the same day as the New Zealand match.
Three newcomers have been called up by Herdman: defenders Derek Cornelius and Marcus Godinho, and 18-year-old winger Liam Millar. Also, veteran defender David Edgar returns to the Canadian team after missing all of 2017 season with an injury.
Previously in charge of the Canadian women’s team from 2011-18, Herdman was appointed men’s coach in January, taking over for the fired Octavio Zambrano who was hired the previous March.
Herdman, a 42-year-old native of England, has never coached a men’s team. Prior to taking the Canadian women’s job, he managed New Zealand’s national women’s side from 2006 to 2011.
The Canadian women’s team enjoyed its greatest success under Herdman, who led the squad to bronze medals at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics. Canada also reached the quarter-finals of the 2015 FIFA World Cup held on home soil, the team’s best showing since finishing fourth at the 2003 tournament – the Reds bowed out in the first round of the 2007 and 2011 World Cups.
According to FIFA’s official website, Canada’s and New Zealand’s men’s teams have met before, with the Reds earning wins over the Kiwis in a pair of friendly games in September 1980 in Vancouver and Edmonton.
New Zealand is ranked No. 121 in the current FIFA world rankings. Canada is 89th, sandwiched between El Salvador and Armenia. The Kiwis are the reigning champions of the Oceania region, having won the OFC Nations Cup for a fifth time in 2016.
Canada has not played a game since losing 1-0 to El Salvador in a friendly held in Houston last October. That was Zambrano’s last match in charge.
Goalkeepers: Milan Borjan (FK Crvena Zvezda/Serbia), Jayson Leutwiler (Blackburn Rovers/England), Simon Thomas (FK Bodø/Norway).
Defenders: Derek Cornelius (FK Javor Ivanjica/Serbia), David Edgar (Unattached), Dejan Jaković (Los Angeles FC/MLS), Manjrekar James (Vasas/Hungary), Samuel Adekugbe (Vålerenga Fotball/Norway), Marcus Godinho (Heart of Midlothian FC/Scotland), Ashtone Morgan (Toronto FC/MLS), Michael Petrasso (Montreal Impact/MLS).
Midfielders: Tesho Akindele (FC Dallas/MLS), Scott Arfield (Burnley FC/England), Jay Chapman (Toronto FC/MLS), Raheem Edwards (Montreal Impact, MLS), Atiba Hutchinson (Beşiktaş JK/Turkey), Mark-Anthony Kaye (Los Angeles FC/MLS), Liam Millar (Liverpool FC/England), Jonathan Osorio (Toronto FC/MLS), Samuel Piette (Montreal Impact/MLS).
Forwards: Cyle Larin (Beşiktaş JK), Tosaint Ricketts (Toronto FC).