It’s no secret that goalscoring is a bit of a problem for the Canadian men’s national team.
While Les Rouges have never been offensive juggernauts, the team reached historic depths – even by their own standards – in 2013, scoring just once in 13 games. So are there any players willing to step up and lay claim to being part of the solution in the years ahead?
Well, there’s definitely at least one.
“I hope to become what Canada needs up front,” striker Jordan Hamilton told MLSsoccer.com by phone over the weekend from CanMNT camp in Florida. “I’m a different player than the strikers [the national team has] now, or have had in the past. I’ve so far proven on every level that I can score goals.”
Indeed, Hamilton led the way for Canada at last year’s FIFA U-17 World Cup (two goals in three games) and in the qualifying tournament (three goals in five games). The 17-year-old also scored nine goals in 10 appearances for Toronto FC’s Senior Academy Team in 2013, impressing the club enough that he signed a contract with the first team earlier this month.
Hamilton is especially excited to play alongside De Rosario, who grew up in the same part of Toronto as he did. And as De Rosario told MLSsoccer.com last week, the feeling is mutual.
“Dwayne even mentioning me is a big thing,” said Hamilton. “He’s done so much in his career that I can only dream of doing right now. He’s such a role model.”
Given Hamilton’s desire to score for Canada, De Rosario – the team’s all-time leader in international goals – is a fitting role model. And Hamilton, like De Rosario, is confident and unafraid of a little self-promotion, regularly interacting with fans via Twitter (@jayhams) and other platforms.
But Hamilton knows he’s a long way away from being any sort of savior for club or country. For now, he has other targets he’s working toward in 2014.
“Score some goals for TFC and the national team, and just be myself at all times … and just learn as much as possible from DeRo, Defoe and [Brazilian striker] Gilberto.”
He also knows that when it comes to bringing Canada back to respectability, he’ll need to have a solid team alongside him. After his first week in national team training camp, he’s confident in that regard, too.
“Preparing for the Olympics [in 2016] and also the U-20s coming up [in 2015], everyone’s hungry,” he said. “I feel like, especially the Olympic team, it’s going to be a real special thing. Everyone’s very hungry to put Canada on the world stage.”