Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Year-end stats: newly capped players

Coming as it did at the premature end of a world cup qualifying cycle, 2009 ought to have been a year for Canada to evaluate and develop some new talent for the national team. With 4 friendlies on the schedule, there was ample opportunity to try out new players.

How did Canada do? Well, these are the 5 players that earned their first senior cap for Canada in 2009:

Simeon Jackson (Gillingham, League One, England, 22 years old)

Jackson made the most of his first opportunity by scoring in the friendly in Cyprus in March. So much did he impress the then-interim gaffer, Stephen Hart, that he saw the pitch as either starter or substitute in each of Canada's remaining 7 matches in 2009. It certainly didn't hurt that he has continued to score at the club level. He clearly has a future for Canada, but as evidenced by his performance against Macedonia, has some work to do before he is of the necessary quality for CONCACAF qualifying.

Simeon was the only newly-minted national teamer to play in more than one match.

The rest:

Eddy Sidra (Energie Cottbus, 2. Bundesliga, Germany, 20 years old)

Of the other newly-capped players, Sidra was the only one to start and go 90 minutes, also in the Cyprus friendly. More or less an emergency callup because regular RB Paul Stalteri was unavailable, Sidra must have played well enough, considering the team maintained a clean sheet, and he wasn't pulled off by Stephen Hart. He may have a future, but for the time being he isn't even the most promising Canadian defender on his own team. He's been surpassed by 19-year old Adam Straith, who has lately been starting for the 2. Bundesliga side.

Tyler Hemming (Charleston Battery, USL-1 [last year, at least], 24 years old)

USL players don't generally get called up for European friendlies, but Hemming made his debut against Cyprus in May. I don't know where he'll end up playing next year (Charleston will be playing in USL-2 next season) but he'll need to make a move if he wants to remain even on the fringes of the national team picture. He has a useful skillset, if lacking a bit in quality: a central midfielder with defensive knowhow, perhaps in the mould of a Daniel Imhof.

Speaking of Imhofs . . .

Dominic Imhof (FC Tuggen, 1. Liga, Switzerland, 27 years old)

This younger Imhof brother is no Daniel. He plays in the Swiss second or third tier, and was likely the first player to answer the phone after an injury in camp leading up to the Cyprus match. We won't be hearing of him again.

Jonathan Beaulieu-Bourgault
(FC St. Pauli, 2. Bundesliga, Germany, 21 years old)

If you have memories of JBB, it's probably of him pulling on the goalie shirt after newly-minted asshole Asmir Begovic was red carded against Congo in the 2007 U20 World Cup. He was given a courtesy run-out in the late stages against Macedonia. He might have a future for Canada, but at his age should soon be moving into the starting ranks somewhere.

Players that should be capped soon: Nana Attakora (TFC), David Hoilett (Blackburn, if he'll have us), David Edgar (Benchwarmer FC), Marcus Haber (Whitecaps/West Bromwich Albion)

Who else do you want?


Jeff said...

Would it hurt to give a guy like Monsalve a run out in goal for a single friendly? I mean hell, he just won the Finnish 1st division, let's give him a shot.

Is it too early to look into players like Edwini-Bonsu or Gala (is he even a factor anymore?) to have at least an appearance?

Hart has mentioned he is open to trying new players, and I hope he comes through with it.

Lord Bob said...

Gabe Gala scored against Real Madrid!!!!!

Probably too early for Edwini-Bonsu, who has all the speed in the world but was a clear fourth behind Canadians Charles Gbeke and Marcus Haber and Phillips Bakeryman Marlon James on the Whitecaps depth chart.

J said...

Jeff, you're probably right. Monsalve deserves a run out, considering our current lack of goalkeeper depth. I think Hart should probably wait on the other two young guys he mentioned, at least until both become more established players with their club teams. Especially Gala.

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