It’s the glimmer of hope for which all Canadian national team supporters have been waiting patiently: David "Junior" Hoilett and Jonathan de Guzman (above) could be closer to finally donning Canada uniforms.
According to current Canada international and Toronto FC midfielder Julian de Guzman, his younger brother Jonathan — who donned the famous orange jersey of the Netherlands at the 2008 Beijing Summer Games — was considering switching allegiances back to his birth country, and he may bring long on-the-fence Blackburn star Hoilett with him.
“I’ve been talking to my brother a lot about his international chances of playing for Canada, and this is the first time he’s felt more motivated to represent Canada,” Julian de Guzman told Canadian sports network The Score on Tuesday. “He’s actually given me the word to pass on to the coaches and the staff to really look into his chances of regaining his Canadian passport.”
Jonathan de Guzman gave up his Canadian passport when he became a Dutch citizen in 2008, while he was playing for club side Feyenoord. After spending five seasons with the Eredivisie giants, he moved to La Liga side Real Mallorca in 2010. This past summer he transferred to Villarreal, where he has since become a staple for the Yellow Submarine.
An attacking midfielder, de Guzman has earned a reputation for his creativity and ability to go forward. He was one of the few bright spots in Villarreal’s failed Champions League campaign this year, and scored his first goal for the club vs. Bayern Munich earlier this month.
In order to advance his career, the younger de Guzman moved to the Netherlands when he was 12 years old. He represented his adopted country at U-21 and U-23 levels, but has not been called up by the Dutch since 2008.
Sharing a similar story to de Guzman is Hoilett, who also moved to Europe as a youngster in order to maximize his soccer talent. Born in Brampton, Ontario, 21-year-old Hoilett has already made 60 appearances for Blackburn in the Premiership. He has grown into a guaranteed starter for the troubled club, and has attracted interest from bigger sides from within the EPL.
A speedy player who can play on either wing, Hoilett has scored eight Premier League goals in his young career so far, and is often the focal point of Blackburn’s attack. Unlike Jonathan de Guzman, Hoilett has yet to represent any country at the international level, although his Jamaican family ties could allow him to suit up for the Caribbean side.
Apparently, the younger de Guzman sees himself and Hoilett as players who could put Canada over the top.
“The funny thing is, at the time I talked to him and he felt strongly about playing for Canada, he had asked me for Junior’s contact number,” Julian de Guzman said. “His idea was to join forces and jump on board with the Canadian national team for the next round, knowing that it would be a very important round for the national team.”
Should Hoilett and the younger de Guzman choose to ultimately represent Canada at the senior international level, it would reverse a tide of Canadian players opting to wear other countries’ colors.
More importantly, it could give the Canadian side the boost needed to finally get back to the final Hexagonal round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying after a 15-year absence. The Canucks are in a tough group in the third round of qualifying that also includes Honduras, Panama and Cuba; they open at Cuba on June 8, 2012.