Canada's Hart to meet with Jonathan de Guzman
TORONTO — The wheels are still in motion for Villarreal midfielder Jonathan de Guzman to eventually don Canadian national team colors, according to his brother.
Speaking at the annual Toronto FC media day on Thursday, TFC Designated Player Julian de Guzman told reporters that Canada head coach Stephen Hart will be heading to Spain to discuss the younger de Guzman’s possible integration into the Canadian program.
“Stephen Hart and [Canada assistant coach] Tony Fonseca are expected to visit him sometime this week,” the elder de Guzman said. “They’ll have some time to sit down and talk about what options or what possibilities or how they can work things out for him to be part of the national team.”
Possibly standing in the way of Jonathan de Guzman joining the Canadian set up is his Dutch citizenship, which he obtained as an 18-year-old. In order to further his career, the younger de Guzman moved to the Netherlands at age 12 and eventually moved up the ranks of the Feyenoord system, catching the eye of the Dutch youth national side.
After representing the Netherlands in a few U-21 games and at the Beijing Olympics, the now 24-year-old Jonathan fell off the Dutch radar. In the time since, he has moved on to the Spanish top flight and, according to Julian, he rediscovered his Canadian roots.
“As a brother, I’ve always supported him in his decision,” Julian said of Jonathan choosing to represent the Netherlands as a youth. “Finally, he considered the idea of playing for the Canadian national team.”
The possibility of both de Guzmans lining up together in Canada colors is an exciting prospect for Julian who, at 30, knows that he likely only has one more shot at making the World Cup as a player.
“This would be something great for us; for him, for myself and for the entire country,” Julian said. “He could be a big help as a Canadian, and he definitely feels Canadian himself, so he would like to step forward and make that opportunity happen.”
To that end, Hart and the Canadian Soccer Association have been looking into the legalities of getting Jonathan back within the Canadian fold, a process that has been underway for several weeks.
It’s a process that Julian hopes will be completed soon.
“I was with my brother throughout the holidays and he’s still keen on being a part of the Canadian national team,” Julian said. “[The CSA is] sorting things out right now and hopefully sometime next week or hopefully next month we’ll see a final answer.”