BURNABY, B.C. – One of Canada’s brightest young talents will now get his chance at the senior level.
Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder Russell Teibert is one of four new faces in head coach Stephen Hart’s 18-man squad for Canada’s upcoming international friendly with Trinidad and Tobago on August 15 in Lauderhill, Fla.
“Every young kid playing soccer when he’s younger dreams of playing for his national team,” Teibert told MLSsoccer.com. “It’s been a dream of mine since I was a young boy. To finally have it come true – to be with them, to train with them – it’s surreal, and I can’t be more honored.”
The 19-year-old has been a star in Canada’s youth teams for years, winning Canada’s U-17 Player of the Year award in 2008 and 2009. Most recently, Teibert was part of the Canadian Under-23 squad which just missed out on a berth at the London Olympics, falling 3-1 to Mexico in the CONCACAF qualifying semifinals.
When he got the word from the Canadian Soccer Association, the first person he called was his father.
“I’ve been training with him, playing with him, ever since I was a young boy,” Teibert said. “I think it’s been a dream of both of ours, so I’m sure he’s just as proud of this as I am.”
Teibert is listed on Canada’s squad as a midfielder, but he’s played at left fullback in addition to his traditional left wing role in reserve action this season, and insists he’ll play wherever he’s asked for club or country.
“I’m happy to play both positions,” Teibert said. “If I can play as a left back, it’s even better for me. I’ve been getting some time at the left mid position. Wherever the coach decides to put me, I’ll be happy to play.”
The call-up must surely come as a boost for Teibert, who has been left on the periphery of the Whitecaps squad this year after looking impressive in his debut seasonin 2011 in his five starts and 11 appearances.
Despite not touching the pitch so far this campaign, Whitecaps head coach Martin Rennie insists Teibert is in his plans.
“He’s actually been coming on a lot recently,” Rennie said. “He’s only 19 years old. He’s making perfect progress and we’re really happy with how he’s doing. He did really well in the last reserve game and we think he’s going to be a good player.”
Martin MacMahon covers the Vancouver Whitecaps for MLSsoccer.com.