June 12th Edition

CanMNT Concacaf Nations League Preview & CanWNT roster drop

CanMNT Concacaf Nations League Preview & CanWNT roster drop

It could be a historic week ahead for the Canadian men’s national team as they get sit for their first appearance in the Concacaf Nations League finals.

Meanwhile, the women’s team prepares to take on the World in Australia and New Zealand this summer — naming their preliminary squad that will travel to Australia for final tournament tune up.

Get caught up with everything you need to know from this week in Canadian soccer ahead in The Northern Pitch.

CREDIT: Hanin Mazri / DARBY Magazine


The Canadian men’s national team will be looking to make history in the City of Lights this week, as they make their first appearance in the Concacaf Nations League Finals. The goal is clear, win the first trophy for CanMNT since lifting the Gold Cup in 2000.

The action starts on Thursday, June 15 (7:00 p.m. ET, Onesoccer) when they take on Panama in the semifinals. Catch a W, and they are off to the finals against either the United States or Mexico, while a loss would see them play one of those two opponents in the third place game.

All matches will be played at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada. Coach John Herdman said in a media call this week that despite being in one of the most destracting places on the planet, he believes his side as focused as they have ever been on their mission for 2023: lifting a trophy.

The defence of the Concacaf crown begins now, and here is the squad that is set to do it.

CREDIT: Mélanie Antoine / Canada Soccer

Speaking of roster drops, the CanWNT/CanXNT revealed their squad for a World Cup prep camp and it features 25 players, a number that will have to be cut down to 23 ahead of the tournament proper on

Coach Bev Priestman referred to those extra players as ‘clutter’, which whether she meant it that way or not sounded really brutal.

As for who will make the final squad, there are fitness questions surrounding a few players on the roster as Deanne Rose just recently returned from injury while Nichelle Prince and Desiree Scott are also question marks ahead of Australia. If they are healthy enough, they are all but locks to make the team.

Canada also announced that they will play a behind-closed-doors friendly against England on July 14. They open the World Cup seven days later on Friday, July 21 against Nigeria.

Olivia Smith — Courtesy: Canada Soccer

Highlights of the Week

💶 Highly rated Canadian women’s national team prospect Olivia Smith is set to sign with a top European club, per a report from our boy Benedict Rhodes, that she is set to sign a contract with a top team in Europe. Smith recently had four goals at the Concacaf U-20 Women’s Championship as Canada qualified for the U-20 World Cup.

🇨🇦 This week, Canada men’s roster has been announced for the Nations League finals. Notably, Aidan Morris and Derek Cornelius have been excluded from the list. The exclusion of Morris has been surprising given his incredible form with Columbus Crew. However, his “delay” in opting for Canada seems to be a a conscious decision. For Morris, it will come down to choosing between Canada or the US for a variety of reasons. Meanwhile, Derek Cornelius has been left out due to his hamstring injury. In his stead, Herdman as called upon the 23-year-old Montrealer Moise Bombito. The Colorado Rapids defender will be given the opportunity to play alongside experienced World Cup players such as Kamal Miller, AJ, Richie Laryea and Steven Vitoria. Also, Bombito will be joining fellow CS Saint-Laurent alumni Ismael Koné.

🇨🇦 Phil Neville has joined John Herdman’s coaching staff ahead of the Concacaf Nations League finals. The former Manchester United defender was recently fired from his position as head coach of Inter Miami. However, within a week of being fired he almost immediately finds a new job as assistant coach to Herdman. He may have left Miami in last place, but he enters this Canada side as an individual with world-class experience. Neville formerly coached with Canadian women’s national team head coach Bev Priestman with the English women’s national team. CanMNT also announced Richard Shaw as a defensive coach, an experienced manager and player in England.

☀️ Messi to Miami, to play alongside Kamal Miller. For those who are still on flip-phones and still use a DVD player, here’s a link to that transfer saga. This may not be Canadian news per-se. However, this is a major moment in which Canadian football fans will benefit. It is not every day the greatest player of our generation will be gracing the pitches of Canada. In particular, TFC and CF MTL will be hosting their East-coast counterparts. CF Montreal will more than likely hold this match up at the Stade Olympique, just like they did for Beckham. If Miami even venture out to Vancouver, maybe the upper bowl of BC Place will finally open up? One thing is for sure, Kamal Miller will be playing with Lionel Messi. Kamal’s move to Miami just got that much sweeter for the 2022 All-Star Player.

🏆 Vancouver Whitecaps retain Voyageurs Cup versus CF Montreal. The Whitecaps walk away with the cup winning 2-1 at BC Place. First things first, Vancouver continue to be the only Canadian team with a real attacking plan. Despite their two goals coming from Montreal’s mistakes, the constant attacking pressure forced Montreal into making a mistake. Realistically, Vancouver could’ve repeated another five goal smashing against the visitors. Meanwhile, Montreal’s only saving grace are Jonathan Sirois and their backline. Despite making that one mistake leading to a goal, Sirois is an absolute beast. He’s a big game player making big game saves. CF MTL’s defence was no nonsense but their midfield and forwards lacked creativity or any real danger in the box.

🔵 After losing at the final against Vancouver, CF Montreal took out their frustration against Minnesota United. CF Montreal defeated Minnesota United 4 - 0 while wearing their new home jersey (finalement). This game featured one major moment, a brace from Mason Toye. The forward has been plagued with injury but when in form, he has demonstrated serious attacking prowess. Perhaps this is the missing part of Montreal’s attack? Either way, this is Jonathan Sirois’ 5th clean sheet in a row, at home in MLS.

🙌 Halifax Wanderers have finally won a game. The Wanderers hosted Valour at Wanderers Ground, walking away with a 2-0 win. Halifax have been struggling to gain three points all season, now they have finally got a dub. The win has propelled them from last place to 6th place. It’s a start.

🔱 Pacific FC have defeated Forge 1-0 at Tim Hortons Field. Pacific FC’s win over Forge has placed the Victoria team in first place of the league. With a game in hand, Pacific are two points ahead of second place York United and now third place Forge. Here’s the link to the game’s highlight.

👎 Alphonso Davies was rejected by Barcelona because he’s Canadian. Phonzy was featured recently on the Say Less Podcast, which he shared that he heard he was rejected by then Barcelona president, Josep Bartomeu, because he was “Canadian.” This is all hear say according to Phonzy, the rejection did affect him tremendously. Nonethless, the Barca rejection has led Phonzy to Bayern Munich where he won everything and grew into one of the best fullbacks in the world. Moreover, he would go on to emberass Barcelona in Champions League matchups. Karma is beautiful.

🗣️ For any football-loving Canadian, Bartomeu’s statement is not surpising. For a very long time, Canadian footballers were not even considered seriously. If American players were ridiculed in Europe, Canadians were invisible. That is why Canada’s rise in football is taking the world by storm. A country that no one looked at, has now garnered the attention of scouts, pundits, and fans across the world. Through Davies, the men’s game has earned its respect and open the doors for more talent to venture out to Europe. Canadian football is growing and it will be respected where no club owner will foolishly say “not him, he’s Canadian.”


⚽️ Want to see banger of a goal? Jordyn Huitema’s header for OL Reign is a monster. Great cross and and a world-class finish. This goal marked her fourth goal in seven games in NWSL.

🏆 Concacaf Champions League rebranded to Champions Cup. Let’s be honest, Champions League is the hardest name in sports competition. However, Champions Cup was its original name in the past. Along with the name change, the prize money has increased to 5 million and the compeititon will now feature 22 teams in a five round tournament..

💰 GE Appliances promises funding for CanWNT. GE Appliances have promised to fund $100,000 to the Women’s National Team and have further expressed their promise through an open-letter. The funding will be directed towards sports science and medical innovation.

🧵 CF Montreal unveils new home jersey. Finalement. Many people were scratching their heads as to why MTL doesn’t have a new jersey. They finally do. The new kit was featured in CF MTL’s home game versus Minnesota United.

🐎 Cavalry defeated Vancouver FC 3-1 at ATCO Field. If you want to watch really good attacking football, this is the game. Cavalry conceded goal early in the game but responded with clinical attacking prowess. The build up to goals were clean and tidy. Also credit to ATCO field being one of the most unique stadiums in the CPL. On a cloudy day, the stadium really does look like a classic English football venue.

⚽️ Former TFC lad Jayden Nelson has two goals in the last two games for Rosenborg in the last two games. Rosenborg currently sit in 9th place in the Norwegian league.

🏟️ York United hosted Atletico Ottawa in a Ontario Darby. With the home side defeating Ottawa 2-1. York United now sit in 2nd place and Atletico Ottawa are in 7th place.

🔴 TFC hosted Nashville at BMO on Saturday. Toronto FC walked away with a 1-1 draw against Nashville. It seems like Insigne has finally decided to step up and ball out. Despite his performance, Sean Johnson pulled a Karius moment towards the end of the game.

🌊 Hot off their CanChamps final win, Vancouver Whitecaps walk away with a 1-1 draw at home versus Eastern conference leader Cincinnati. Luciano Acosta’s goal is class. Vancouver Whitecaps are establishing themselves as Canada’s best team and play with real character.

CREDIT: Hanin Mazri / DARBY Magazine

Northern Picks

Gems from at home and across the pond.
This week’s picks come from Toronto FC striker Jordan Perruzza (@JordanPerruzza)

📺 What to watch

I just finished watching Ted Lasso, what more do I have to say, it was an amazing series and I hope it won’t end after season 3.

🎧 What to listen to

In my car on my way to training I’ve been listening to ‘That Peter Crouch Podcast’ to put me in a good mood to start my day. He tells amazing stories about his playing career and some of the funny things that went on behind the scenes as well.

📚 What to read

I’ve recently read W1NNING by Tim Grover, it’s an amazing book that talks about the mental side of sports and how to become a mentality monster.

✅ Who to follow

@trekuartista95 they’ve got some of the best content I’ve seen in a while 😂