Ex-cavalryman Joel Waterman named to Canada’s World Cup squad | Update News

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Joel Waterman’s football stocks seem to be constantly rising.

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In fact, his value has skyrocketed to the point where he suddenly finds himself in Qatar just days after his first appearance for Team Canada.

For the 26-year-old former Cavalry defender, this is a real World Cup fairy tale.

“The last few days have been crazy – the craziest days of my career,” said Waterman, who joined Calgary’s Sam Adekugba as Canada’s local quarterback. “One day you make your debut, and tomorrow you find out that you are at the World Championships. So many emotions, so many tears, so many phone calls…

“It’s been a whirlwind, but I’m very happy to be here.”

Here he is, in the Middle East, with his new Canadian teammates – The Brotherhood – going to the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Waterman’s ascension to the team seemed like a pipe dream, just like for a long time – more than three decades – it was believed that Canadians would someday return to the world’s biggest sporting event.

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But he’s still on the 26-man team named 10 days ago with the Canucks’ first game against Belgium on Wednesday (noon, CTV/TSN).

“I’ve always ended my career without expecting much,” said Waterman, whose first cap, in a 2-2 friendly against Bahrain, came just 48 hours before the team was selected. “I just try to play my best and take the opportunity when it comes.

“Obviously your thoughts go there and you wonder if you can do it and what it will mean to play in Bahrain and all that. But all this is secondary compared to just putting on this shirt and playing for your country. I wanted to be part of the team, but it was just a hope for three or four days (before the selection). But I knew I was close and I gave myself a chance and it worked out.

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“Honestly, playing in Bahrain seemed pretty average for me and for the team,” Waterman continued. “It was a really good game to test the guys on the bubble. It was a good game for us to put our feet under us, get together and start this journey. I don’t know if the game influenced my final choice. I do not think so”.

So what made the choice of the native of Langley, British Columbia possible?

“First of all, my talent and my abilities,” Waterman said. “I am here because of my ability to pass the ball. I am adding something else. I can give the team a different look – the X factor.

“Obviously the player injuries helped me too. It’s bittersweet – you never want to see it. But if I was bad, I wouldn’t even participate in the conversation.”

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Cavalry defenseman Joel Waterman (left) taps the ball from Forge forward Anthony Novak during the Canadian Premier League final at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton on October 26, 2019.  Forge won the two-match series 2-0.
Cavalry defenseman Joel Waterman (left) taps the ball from Forge forward Anthony Novak during the Canadian Premier League final at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton on October 26, 2019. Forge won the two-match series 2-0. Photo by Dan Hamilton /USA TODAY Sports

Plus there was the success he had not only for himself, but also with his Major League Soccer team, CF Montreal, last season.

“Le CFM” was an MLS force, thanks in large part to the defensive unit anchored by Waterman.

In fact, fellow Montreal defensemen Alistair Johnston and Kamal Miller were also named to Team Canada.

“I know the chemistry between us guys from Montreal helped too, and how well we did as a club,” Waterman said. “I thought I had a great year. I thought I got better. I’m just getting better every day, and that’s what you want to do. After all, I came here because of the way I played. I think I deserve this opportunity.”

Waterman is no stranger to sudden big improvements.

He did this throughout his entire career.

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After rising to the fore in U SPORTS football with British Columbia’s Trinity Western Spartans, he came to Calgary and began to make a name for himself first with the Calgary Foothills 2018 PDL championship team and then with Cavalry during its first Canadian Premier League campaign. before becoming the first CPL player ever sold to an MLS franchise.

“Joel is the perfect role model for a player who has gone through all the levels of the Canadian developmental system,” said Cavalry general manager and head coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr., who mentored Waterman at the Foothills and Cavalry clubs. “From minor football to U SPORTS and PDL and then being drafted by us to Cavalry FC before being sold to CF Montreal, he rose to the challenge and improved his game.”

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“Calgary blew me away,” Waterman said. “Tommy has had a huge impact on me and my career. I can’t thank him enough and the whole club. The players there helped me get better. I love the city and I love the people. I have only good memories of playing there, except that I didn’t win the (CPL) North Star Shield. I’m glad I settled on this in my short career.”

But for now, the only parking lot that matters is the one in Qatar.

While it was a surprise to see Waterman there, it’s so much like he made it possible.

“Of course I blossomed late — I didn’t hit it until I was 20 or 21,” Waterman added. “Obviously there were opportunities at every level and I think I exceeded all expectations at every stage of my journey. But in every footballer’s career, they have had to accept that things have to go their way, and that happened to me too.

“If it’s not minutes on the field, I will do my best for the team off the field – make sure I am the best in training to lift my teammates.

“Participate in the Brotherhood, because this is not a joke. We don’t lie about it. This is us all together. So I’m happy to play this role both on and off the pitch.”

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