After a year-long layoff, the Canadian men's national team is finally back at it at January training camp, with a lengthy list of MLS players on hand in Bradenton, Florida eager to suit back up for their country.
Samuel Piette is among them, with the CF Montréal midfielder and longtime member of the program saying that he and his fellow countrymen are feeling energized at being back it after the long time away from international play. Piette has 49 career senior caps for Canada since making his debut in 2012.
"It's been a while, it's been too long since we've worn that red jersey," Piette said. "It's good to be back with the program, with the guys as well. Obviously there's some guys and faces that you've faced during the year in your clubs, but to have the chance to train with them and to play with them. It's always a pleasure, and especially an honor for the new guys here, I know everyone's happy to be back and especially hungry to show what everybody's able to do, especially over a year where we didn't have a chance to show ourselves to the staff."
"It's been too long since we've been able to put on the red jersey. All of the guys are excited for what's ahead of us." @SamuelPiette speaks to us from #CANMNT's January training camp presented by @AllstateCanada. pic.twitter.com/DuXmkA1SBR— Canada Soccer (@CanadaSoccerEN) January 16, 2021
"It was weird because over a year, yes, you have your own club and you have many games and different tournaments and competitions," he continued. "But you always have the national team in the back of your mind. You're always looking forward to getting to camp and getting to play games that have meaning to the program, to the country. I know there's massive games coming up this year so we're happy to have that and a lot of competition. But to have a year where you didn't have a chance to compete in that red jersey, it was weird, but good things are coming this year. 2021 is going to be a big year for us."
The list of MLS players joining Piette at camp includes Maxime Crépeau, James Pantemis, Dayne St. Clair, Derek Cornelius, Kamal Miller, Joel Waterman, Zorhan Bassong, Zachary Brault-Guillard, Tajon Buchanan, Cristián Gutierrez, Alistair Johnston, Richie Laryea, Mark-Anthony Kaye, Noble Okello, Jonathan Osorio, Ralph Priso, Jacob Shaffelburg, Theo Bair, Lucas Cavallini, Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty and Jayden Nelson.