Canada Should Welcome Naturalized Players

Multicultural Canada shouldn't ignore eligible players, regardless of how recent the passport is
by Henrik Lonne   |   Thursday, July 25, 2013

Made in Canada - coverage of the Canadian MLS, NASL & USL Clubs, CSL, PCSL, Canadian Championship & Canada National Teams

Recently, it has been suggested that Canada should naturalize players, such as Camilo Sanvezzo, in order to boost the national team.

Those against the idea should remember a bit of the national anthem: “From far and wide, O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.”

Canada is a nation of immigrants, of people who decided go there to make a new life for themselves. Canada welcomes them and the country takes pride in its new sons and daughters.

While naturalizing players neither could or should be a replacement for youth development, welcoming new citizens into society with open arms is what Canada is all about. And with the state of the current Canada team, they are sure to not be glory hunters!

Giving the current team a short-term boost could also infuse some new energy into a team, which seems to specifically lack that. This energy could help with results of and performance in the friendlies of the next couple of years and the Gold Cup in 2015.

In Denmark, I have witnessed how a national team, which lacks passion and energy, lose its public support. The next World Cup qualifiers are years away and in order to maintain and build support, the team need to show dedication and pride. If new Canadians can help with this, I welcome them to the team.

Remember, national team captain and proud Canadian Will Johnson has almost never lived in Canada, but his commitment isn’t doubted.

Another benefit of naturalized players helping to increase the popularity of the team is that that popularity can be channelled into a stronger focus on youth development, inspiring young players to play for the team and to show that all Canadians, regardless of how long they have been in the country, should be able to take pride in the team and support it.

Henrik LONNE

Copenhagen Business School
Club Domestic:
AGF Aarhus
Club Foreign:
Toronto FC
Born and raised in Denmark, the US performance in the 2002 World Cup dragged Henrik into the world of North American soccer. Subsequent trips to Canada made him a Toronto FC fan from abroad. The passion he now has for MLS outshines most European leagues.