2022 World Cup: Canada Player Profiles


1. Dayne St. Clair

Date of birth: May 9, 1997

Place of birth: Pickering, Ontario

Club: Minnesota United

On a hot January Florida day back in 2019, St. Clair was playing goalkeeper in a game played in front of scouts at the MLS Combine. Known for being an athletic ‘keeper who is comfortable with the ball at his feet, St. Clair attempted to pass the ball out and made a key error on the way to conceding a goal. Some scouts may not have liked what they saw but Minnesota United embraced his bravery, selected him seventh overall and were rewarded, as he is now one of the best goalkeepers in MLS, a brilliant shot-stopper who was an MLS All-Star in 2022.

16. James Pantemis

Date of birth: Feb. 21, 1997

Place of birth: Kirkland, Quebec

Club: CF Montréal

Back in 2016 playing for CF Montréal in a youth tournament against Arsenal, Pantemis tore his ACL and his dream of being in Canada’s U20 camp to attempt to qualify for the U20 World Cup was over. “It’s a dream for me to go to a World Cup, I think about it every day,” Pantemis said during his recovery. Now number one for one of the best sides in MLS, Pantemis gets the call to go to Qatar as Canada’s third goalkeeper after Max Crepeau broke his leg in the MLS Cup final.

18. Milan Borjan

Date of birth: Oct. 23, 1987

Place of birth: Krin, Croatia

Club: FK Crvena Zvezda (Red Star Belgrade)

The emotional leader of the squad. No one is more vocal, both on and off the pitch, for this team and no one has more to say about past problems within the national team to show just how far this team has come. When handed a bottle of champagne to celebrate World Cup qualification, Borjan’s first thought was to seek out Herdman, who was on the pitch doing a live TV interview and soak him in celebration. “We owe this man everything,” he screamed. Herdman also had Borjan to thank for some remarkable saves in qualification, many coming late in crucial moments of games.


2. Alistair Johnston

Date of birth: Oct. 8, 1998

Place of birth: Vancouver, British Columbia

Club: CF Montréal

A self-confessed football nut, this boyhood Manchester United fan learned as a child that he had to dedicate himself to the game by saying no to sleepovers with his friends, so he could wake up in the middle of cold Canadian winters to watch Premier League games and kick balls in the basement of his parents’ house with his brother. Johnston only turned professional in 2020 but his versatility as a right back, right wingback and right sided defender in a back three has helped his meteoric rise for club and country, where his intelligence on and off the pitch has seen him become a leader for both teams. One of two outfield players – with David – to play all 14 games of their final World Cup round.

3. Sam Adekugbe

Date of birth: Jan. 16, 1995

Place of birth: London, England

Club: Hatayspor

The architect of one the most iconic images of qualifying. With snow all around the pitch in Edmonton against Mexico, the game dubbed as “Iceteca”, Adekugbe opted against joining his teammates’ celebrations after Cyle Larin made it 2-0 and, instead, leaped into a snowbank to showcase his joy at the goal. The lively left-back started World Cup qualifying with many people believing chances would be limited with Alphonso Davies in the squad. Gained his first start in the second game, a 1-1 draw away to the USA, and never looked back, producing consistently high performances, helping John Herdman settle on Davies becoming more of an offensive weapon.

4. Kamal Miller

Date of birth: May 16, 1997

Place of birth: Scarborough, Ontario

Club: CF Montréal

Another player who earned John Herdman’s trust at the 2021 Gold Cup, where he started every game and stood out against the best in the region. Miller is at his best as a left-sided centre-back in a back three where he can step forward and play the ball forward at key times. Arrives in Qatar playing the best football of his career after a standout season at CF Montréal where he was rightfully named as an MLS All-Star in 2022.

5. Steven Vitória

Date of birth: Jan. 11, 1987

Place of birth: Toronto, Canada

Club: G.D. Chaves

Growing up in Mississauga, Ontario with roots in his beloved Portugal, Steven Vitória used to go to his school on evenings and weekends, put up a small net and dream of playing in a World Cup. Friends played hockey and other sports and with no one else around him he used to kick balls, run and celebrate, looking at the trees and pretending they were the fans. “It seemed so far away for us, now what we have done means the kids of Canada today do not need to have a dream that never seemed to come true. For me it was far beyond a dream, yet we have it to the World Cup.”

22. Richie Laryea

Date of birth: Jan. 7, 1995

Place of birth: Toronto, Ontario

Club: Toronto FC, on loan from Nottingham Forest

Undoubtedly one of the best players in all of Concacaf World Cup qualifying, the versatile Laryea proved to be a difference-maker with pace coming from a deep position with his direct, upright dribbling style. Often deployed as a right-wing back, the former midfielder has worked hard on the defensive aspect of his play and can be trusted in a back four also. Moved back for a year to his beloved Toronto FC following a spell at Nottingham Forest in the Championship, an experience he described as “fantastic for me and my family”.

25. Derek Cornelius

Date of birth: Nov. 25, 1997

Place of birth: Ajax, Ontario

Club: Panetolikos FC, on loan from Vancouver Whitecaps

An elegant left-footed defender who started just one of the final 14 World Cup qualifiers, it proved to be special for him as it came in Jamaica, where most of his family are from, including his grandparents and mother. Cornelius was excellent leading Canada to a clean sheet and goes into the World Cup as a borderline pick for Herdman, who rewarded the former Vancouver Whitecaps player his first call-up in his first ever international squad back in 2018. Could get the nod over others as he is playing well in Europe while many others had their seasons end earlier in MLS.

26. Joel Waterman

Date of birth: Jan. 24, 1996

Place of birth: Langley, British Columbia

Club: CF Montréal

Waterman will be looking to become the first player to have played in the Canadian Premier League and make it to a World Cup. Canada’s domestic competition only started in 2019, where Waterman became a league runner-up with the Calgary-based side, Cavalry FC. Has since gone on to become part of the “successful six” Canadians to start regularly and impress for CF Montréal on their run to the Eastern Conference semi-finals.


6. Samuel Piette

Date of birth: Nov. 12, 1994

Place of birth: Repentigny, Québec

Club: CF Montréal

No player in this squad has benefited more from an improvement in talent around him than the reliable Piette. One of the longest serving players for Canada, Piette has seen days not too long ago that were not like this. The influx of talent has refocused the central midfielder to improve his work on the ball to be more of a complete central midfielder, rather than a true defensive stopper. Only started two of the 14 final rounds of qualifiers but is vital in any role he is asked to do on and off the pitch as a key member of the senior leadership team within the squad.

7. Stephen Eustáquio

Date of birth: Dec. 21, 1996

Place of birth: Leamington, Ontario

Club: FC Porto

When asked recently to describe his journey as a Canadian player Eustáquio, chose to use the word “crazy” four times. After sitting out an entire year as a result of an injury suffered while on loan with Cruz Azul, he made his debut in a tough 4-1 loss to the United States back in November of 2019. Eustáquio was the tactical leader of this squad, as he can cover like a No 6, pass like a No 8 and has the vision of a No 10. Brilliant delivery of a dead ball and arguably Canada’s best player in World Cup qualifying. Arrives in terrific form, scoring in the Champions League and playing regularly for Porto.

8. Liam Fraser

Date of birth: Feb. 13, 1998

Place of birth: Toronto, Ontario

Club: K.M.S.K. Deinze

In the second half of a tight game in hostile Honduras, Liam Fraser couldn’t stop thinking about just how high of line the opposition was playing. He felt he would get a chance to exploit it and with 17 minutes left, on the edge of his penalty box, he took one glance up and saw all the players were in his own half. One dynamic long ball later was all it took for a sensational Jonathan David to run on to the ball and score one of the greatest and most important goals in this country’s history.

13. Atiba Hutchinson

Date of birth: Feb. 8, 1983

Place of birth: Brampton, Ontario

Club: Besiktas J.K.

Achieving a dream he long thought had passed him, the 39-year-old completes his football journey with a trip to the World Cup and cements himself as one of Canadian sports legendary figures. A star who would still be far more recognisable in Turkey than in Toronto, as a double-winning captain with Besiktas, Hutchinson arrives at the World Cup after a lengthy absence due to injury, but still operates as a crucial central midfielder when fit. Can become the second oldest outfield player ever, behind Roger Milla, to play in a men’s World Cup. The all-time caps leader is also closing in on his 100th appearance.

14. Mark-Anthony Kaye

Date of birth: Dec. 2, 1994

Place of birth: Toronto, Ontario

Club: Toronto FC

Few despise losing more than Kaye, but for him one loss felt different. Mexico’s Hector Herrera’s 99th minute goal in stoppage time had just broke Canada’s hearts in the semi-final of the Gold Cup and as the team came together on the pitch to reflect, Kaye felt a feeling of peace and assurance. “I just turned to John Herdman at that moment and told him, ‘We are going to qualify for the World Cup’ because I knew how well we played against them,” he later said. Fourteen games later, he was proven correct. Back in his hometown with Toronto FC after spells with LAFC and Colorado Rapids.

15. Ismaël Koné

Date of birth: June 6, 2002

Place of birth: Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire

Club: CF Montréal

Canada’s next special talent. Sometimes big moments just find players and at 20 years old it is already clear this young man can handle the bright lights and some of the game’s biggest stages. Born in Ivory Coast, Koné emigrated to Quebec with his mother when he was just seven but was not discovered and signed by local MLS squad, CF Montréal, until 2021. He only made his professional debut in February but has already scored in the Concacaf Champions League and MLS playoffs. Linked with Sheffield United in the summer, he is destined for a long career in Europe.

21. Jonathan Osorio

Date of birth: June 12, 1992

Place of birth: Toronto, Ontario

Club: Toronto FC

It was late March and seconds after Canada finally clinched their spot in the World Cup at a freezing cold BMO Field in Toronto – a stadium where he had won many trophies for Toronto FC – the influential Osorio broke down in tears. As the intelligent midfielder fell to his knees and prayed with a Canada flag draped over his face, he screamed “I am going to a World Cup” and sent a message to kids across the country that anything was possible. Days later, Osorio, a lifelong Real Madrid fan, could only smile again when Canada was drawn in the same group as Croatia, giving him the opportunity to play against one of his idols in the game, Luka Modric.

24. David Wotherspoon

Date of birth: January 16, 1990

Place of birth: Perth, Scotland

Club: St. Johnstone FC

Most people point to Canada’s come-from-behind 4-1 win at home to Panama in World Cup qualifying as the moment people in this country believed they could make it to Qatar. Wotherspoon, like many players knew before, and played a big part in that victory that day and travelled back to Scotland believing he could get to a World Cup. A month later, however, it looked like his dream was over, when he suffered a serious knee injury for St Johnstone against Celtic. Now back after a 10-month absence, he is determined to prove to Herdman he can be a crucial depth player in Qatar.


9. Lucas Cavallini

Date of birth: Dec. 28, 1992

Place of birth: Toronto, Ontario

Club: Vancouver Whitecaps FC

Sometimes Cavallini just shakes his head in disbelief at how far this group have come. Few have come further than the striker who, alongside his roommate and one of his best friends Jonathan Osorio, reflects on a time when he was playing more minutes, but losing many more games. Cavallini is well liked and has adapted to a more peripheral role in the squad, bringing a physical threat and a keen eye for goal, usually as a substitute who wastes little time adapting to a game he enters.

10. Junior Hoilett

Date of birth: June 5, 1990

Place of birth: Brampton, Ontario

Club: Reading F.C.

Once tabbed as a potential England player, Hoilett finally made it to a World Cup when he fittingly scored for Canada against a Jamaica team that he was also eligible to play for. In a team blessed with young dynamic attackers, the 32-year-old still strikes a ball better than most and has improved his work without the ball, shown when asked to play wingback for club and country. Finds a way to look back positively on all four of his relegations from the English Premier League as he got to work under managers such as Sam Allardyce, Harry Redknapp and Neil Warnock, who he refers to as his favourite.

11. Tajon Buchanan

Date of birth: Feb. 8, 1999

Place of birth: Brampton, Ontario

Club: Club Brugge KV

In a team full of players whose stock has risen quickly, no one can rival the rapid rise of Tajon Buchanan, who was playing for the Under-23 Olympic qualifying team when World Cup qualifying began. Suddenly, with Jonathan David and Alphonso Davies out of the 2021 Gold Cup, a side in need of an attacking leader found one with the rapid Buchanan, who brought dominance from the pitches of MLS with the New England Revolution to the international stage. Shy and soft spoken off the field, he turns into a fierce competitor on it, as shown when he terrorised Mexico with his pace and goal in the semi-final, just one of many key moments that helped him get a move to Belgium.

12. Iké Ugbo

Date of birth: Sept. 21, 1998

Place of birth: London, England

Club: ES Troyes AC

When John Herdman missed players like Alphonso Davies, Junior Hoilett and Cyle Larin for crucial World Cup qualifying windows he hunted for more quality and depth in the forward line and found a gift when Ugbo, a young player he had watched since 2018, was convinced to commit to Canada, rather than Nigeria, who he had previously chosen his allegiance to. A true No 9 who can stretch the opposition’s line with a predatory instinct in the box, Ugbo, who is yet to score for Canada going in to the World Cup, has enjoyed a fine start to the season, scoring consistently in the topflight in France.

17. Cyle Larin

Date of birth: April 17, 1995

Place of birth: Brampton, Ontario

Club: Club Brugge KV

Larin became this national team’s greatest ever goal scorer during World Cup qualifying and at times saved those moments for when the team needed it most. A true poacher, who netted home and away against the United States, twice at home to Mexico, and at home to Jamaica to ease the nerves and start the party for qualification, the former Besiktas forward blossomed with other responsibilities, defending well from the front, either as a No 9 or a wide forward. Arrives in Qatar having struggled for minutes at the club level since moving to Club Brugge.

19. Alphonso Davies

Date of birth: Nov. 2, 2000

Place of birth: Buduburam, Ghana

Club: Bayern Munich

Close to the top of the list of things Alphonso Davies is looking forward to at the World Cup are the quality of opponents. In early parts of qualifying, Davies used to leave Bayern Munich and head into international windows with some of his closest teammates and friends at the club teasing him at the some of the countries he had to go play. “They didn’t know some of the teams, they didn’t really think of Canada as a football country. Now I get to a World Cup and play against [top] players and prove to people we have talent on this squad,” he told the Beyond the Pitch podcast. Still only 22, he has won four Bundesliga titles and one Champions League already. In 2022 he was diagnosed with an inflammatory heart condition called myocarditis after he contracted Covid and was out of action for several months. “I had doubts in my head whether I would play again,” he told ESPN.

20. Jonathan David

Date of birth: Jan. 14, 2000

Place of birth: Brooklyn, New York

Club: LOSC Lille

Dubbed the silent assassin by his manager, the quietly spoken David arrives in Qatar as one of the hottest strikers in Europe. Will look to benefit from playing a World Cup in the middle of a campaign as he normally starts seasons fast, scoring more goals in the months of September and October than any other. Went from playing as an amateur in Ottawa, Ontario, to become a champion with Lille in France in just over three years. The king of the one-touch finishing who is most people’s favourite to score Canada’s first ever World Cup goal.

23. Liam Millar

Date of birth: Sept. 27, 1999

Place of birth: Toronto, Ontario

Club: FC Basel 1893

Finding significant minutes in the attacking third proved difficult to Millar in a team blessed with dynamic forwards. Yet, he remains one of John Herdman’s favourites around camp and in substitute roles where he was tried as a wingback for part of the recent international game against Uruguay. Another player who benefits from the World Cup being played in November as he arrives playing often and in good form with his club.

The Canadian Premier League is proud to be part of the Guardian’s World Cup 2022 Experts’ Network, a cooperation between some of the best media organisations from the 32 countries who qualified.