Canada's Hutchinson says the World Cup team has already returned home

Canada’s Hutchinson says the World Cup team has already returned home

Finally at the World Cup, captain Atiba Hutchinson is getting his 19 years of service in a Canadian shirt. And so is Canada.

“I’ve already seen it generate a lot of interest in young players – seven-, eight-year-olds, some in my family, teammates, kids,” the veteran midfielder said of Canada’s return to the men’s soccer show after 36. said about – Absence of the year. “The interest that has been brought to our country is truly unique to see.

“I’ve been with the national team for a long time and I’ve never seen it get to this level. So it’s great to see and I think it’s going to keep getting bigger and bigger from here.

Hutchinson, who was 39 years 285 days old at the official start of the tournament, is the oldest World Cup player. He is also the only Canadian player alive when Canada last won the World Cup in 1986.

Hutchinson said the 1994 World Cup in the United States was the first time he realized how big the event was.

“I was in it. I followed it a lot and my team was Brazil and they finished,” said the native of Brampton, Ont. “Just to see all the emotions and what it means to the countries, the fans in the stadium, around the stadium. It was special to watch and it kind of gave me a big boost, it made me feel that Maybe one day I will play in the World Cup.

It took time.

Hutchinson, Canada’s all-time men’s cap leader with 98, made his senior debut against the United States in January 2003 as a 19-year-old.

Since 2013, he has been plying his trade in Turkey where he is the captain of Besiktas, whose fans treat him with respect.

The six-foot-one midfielder is known as the Octopus, for his long legs and ability to hang onto the ball.

“Otaiba is our best player,” then-Canada coach Benito Floro said in 2014. “He is the best player of Besiktas.”

Hutchinson worked his way up the ranks and through Europe, carefully starting his career in Scandinavia with Osters and Helsingborg in Sweden and FC Copenhagen in Denmark.

He joined Dutch side PSV Eindhoven in 2010 before moving to Turkey.

His path to the World Cup was threatened by a hamstring injury he suffered in the pre-season with Besiktas. But he returned earlier this month in a Turkish Cup match and played in Canada’s 2-1 warm-up win over Japan last week.

Coach John Herdman said his captain was “brilliant” in the Japan game.

“He’s in a good spot,” Herdman said.

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