Gold Cup: Canadian national team veteran Will Johnson to guide young squad as team captain

Will Johnson with the Canadian national team

Photo Credit: 
Courtesy of CSA

Already captain at the club level, Portland Timbers midfielder Will Johnson can now add the captaincy of the Canadian national team to his résumé after being interim head coach Colin Miller handed him the armband prior to the team's disappointing 1-1 draw with the Ventura County Fusion on Tuesday.

As one of the elder statesmen of a young Canadian team, Johnson was already going to be relied on heavily by Miller to provide guidance to the youngsters who are learning the international game.

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“We’re trying to identify a young, core group of guys who can take the reins, be the next generation, and improve upon what the last group did,” Johnson said in an interview with CanadaSoccer TV on Monday.

“I think there were a lot of good positives that all went away and blew up in one game so we just have to continue to fight, be positive, and expect this young group of guys to perform at a high level for multiple years," he added. "This is just the beginning of it.”

Johnson will lead Canada into the Rose Bowl on Sunday as Canada play Martinique in the opening game of the Gold Cup (5:30 pm ET, Fox Soccer, Sportsnet). In Group A play, Canada will follow the Martinique match with matches against Mexico – at CenturyLink Field in Seattle on July 11 – and Panama – at Sports Authority Field in Denver on July 14.