TORONTO – With his first MLS start, first goal and first MLS Goal of the Week already to his credit, Toronto FC rookie midfielder Jonathan Osorio has already turned more than a few heads over the last couple of months. He’s now hoping that he has done enough to gain the attention of Canadian national team interim head coach Colin Miller.
Canada will face Costa Rica in a friendly on May 28, and the 20-year-old Toronto native is hoping to follow in the footsteps of fellow TFC young guns Ashtone Morgan, Doneil Henry and Kyle Bekker in earning his first cap with the senior national team.
“I’m hoping to get a call,” Osorio told MLSsoccer.com. "I haven’t heard anything as of right now, but that is the goal, to make it one day and to be playing for the national team. So hopefully I keep continuing to do well here and I will get a call-up."
His club coach believes a summons is overdue.
“I was very surprised when he didn’t get a call-up to the last camp," said TFC head coach Ryan Nelsen. "I would have thought that Earl Cochrane, our director of team and player operations, who also sits on the board of directors for the Canadian Soccer Association, would have been shouting out his name, because he has been really impressive.
"Hopefully it is only a matter of time before he gets his first call-up because he is a great kid and a fantastic talent.”
With Canada out of the running for the 2014 World Cup, the national team has been using its recent matches to run out and test a number of young players who could play significant roles in qualifying campaign for the 2018 World Cup, so Osorio certainly fits the mold of the type of young player that the national team brass have been keeping their eyes on.
In addition to Canada’s upcoming match against Costa Rica, Osorio, who is also eligible to play for Colombia at the International level, also has one eye on a tournament that would allow Canada to officially cap-tie the talented youngster to the nation of his birth.
“The Gold Cup is a big tournament and I want Canada to do well this summer,” Osorio said. "We haven’t done well in the last couple of tournaments, but we are getting better I believe. Hopefully I get a call-up because that would be a dream to be playing in that tournament.”
According to Nelsen, it is only a matter of time before his young midfielder earns his first call-up and makes his mark at the International level.
“Jonathan’s mentality is excellent and he works really hard," he said. "He is hungry and when he gets an opportunity he generally does everything that he can to take it. His physical stats in training are really high, which means he is working really hard.
“He will be one of our most important players in the years to come and he has all the tools to be an extremely good MLS player and a good International player for Canada. He just has to keep his feet on the ground and be patient and just keep working hard and developing. His time will come.”
While Osorio has already established himself as an important squad player for Toronto already, Nelsen would not be completely against Osorio suiting up for Canada against Costa Rica and at the Gold Cup in July.
“I support whatever is going to make him better and anything that will help both Toronto and Canada in the long run. I wouldn’t be too happy if he had to be away and missed games, as that would be a bit difficult,” Nelsen added. “But playing for your country is something special and I would never want to stop a player from doing that.”