Start of new era for Canadian men’s national team

It was the start of a new chapter for the Canadian men’s national team on Saturday, when its first camp under a new coaching staff culminated in a 1-0 victory over New Zealand, thanks to a goal from Tosaint Ricketts. 

The Reds had a strong tint of Bleu-blanc-noir in Murcia, Spain, with Samuel Piette, Michael Petrasso, and Raheem Edwards all making the trip for the first camp under the new coaching staff, as the Impact readied itself for a week without a game due to the international break.

“It went well,” said midfielder Samuel Piette, who started the game against New Zealand. “He’s a very methodological coach, with very clear ideas. There are little things we’ll need to slowly improve on for when the serious games start in September and so on. But a win in our first game, there’s no better way to kick off the new coaching staff’s era.”

Building an identity

Although Canada started 2018 on the right foot, earning a hard-fought victory against the All Whites in less than stellar conditions, this was just the start of a new plan, concocted by the new coaching staff and optimized for the national team’s long-term success.

“It’s a good coaching staff, very sorted out and organized,” said midfielder Raheem Edwards. “They want to build a relationship with us and our respected clubs. They’re going to hold us to standards and limitations and we’ll have to exceed those. It’s a little bit of pressure but it’s good pressure, the kind we need to succeed.”

The theme that came back the most, however, was identity. With a core of young and talented players, including the Bleu-blanc-noir trio, the national team wants to work towards an identity that will mark the way Canada approaches the sport in the future.

“After our first meeting, he was clear on what he wanted, and he got the boys on it,” said defender Michael Petrasso. “It’s important to have our own identity and impose. We want to be able to go into games and have the other team fear us. We want to earn our spot in the next World Cup and show the country that we’re able to be here, that we want to be here.”