TORONTO – It’s already been a life-changing month for Real Salt Lake midfielder Will Johnson, but he’s hoping it can get even better.
A week ago, Johnson welcomed his first child, a daughter named Arabella Capri, into the world. Now he wants to help Canada advance to the Hexagonal, CONCACAF's final World Cup qualifying round.
Johnson missed a few of the national team’s training sessions but arrived in Toronto in time for Wednesday's session at BMO Field, and was all smiles when speaking to the media afterwards.
While his club team beat the LA Galaxy 2-1 in California this past Saturday night, Johnson was given the weekend off so that he could be present for the birth of his daughter. Fortunately for Johnson, it seems his new daughter has been respectful of her father’s need for rest ahead of two massive World Cup qualifiers against Cuba (Friday, 7:30 pm ET, Sportsnet One), and Honduras on Oct. 16.
“She’s been great,” said Johnson after Canada’s training on Wednesday. “She’s been sleeping a lot so I’ve been able to catch a good amount of sleep. I’m hoping to follow up the best week of my life here with the national team with the biggest games of most of our careers. I’m just excited for the opportunity. I think we’re ready.”
Johnson has been chomping at the bit to get back into the squad after being suspended for Canada’s 2-0 setback in Panama for yellow-card accumulation. He didn’t relish having to watch his team sputter to their first loss of this round of the competition.
The Canucks will definitely benefit from the influential midfielder’s return. Johnson is expected to be an important part of Canada’s midfield in both games, as the road to the 2014 World Cup will either come to an end or continue into 2013.
“I think when you’re suspended for a game or if you miss a game for whatever reason or another, it’s always tough because those feelings you have that you wish you could help out your guys, your friends, your teammates,” he said. “That was a difficult game for me to watch. There’s no two ways about it.”