Julian de Guzman Seeking Dream Of World Cup Qualification, All-Time Caps Mark With Canada

The Ottawa Fury FC midfielder is just one cap shy of tying the all-time caps mark, while Canada is in the midst of a World Cup qualifying campaign
Matthew Levine (@NASLInsider} | Sep 16, 2015

The Canadian men’s soccer team is chasing its first berth in a FIFA World Cup since 1986. At the same time, its captain, Julian de Guzman, is pushing to become the nation’s most-capped player. To accomplish both would be priceless for the Ottawa Fury FC midfielder.

“It would be a dream come true on how I would leave my mark with the national team,” de Guzman told “It’s still a long journey.

“I’ve been a part of the last four World Cup qualifying campaigns, and we haven’t made it to the Hex, so that’s the ultimate goal right now: getting the team prepared for this tough group stage. If we can make the Hex, I believe it shows we’re capable of making the top three or at least the playoff spot for Russia 2018.” He was referring to the final, six-team round of qualifying, the Hexagonal, in the CONCACAF region.

De Guzman, 34, is one cap behind Paul Stalteri’s 84. He had to miss the second leg of Canada’s series against Belize after having to leave early in the first half of the first leg because of an injury. Tightness in his calf came from trying to compensate for a previous injury he was getting over, but is rounding back into full fitness and should be ready to get back on the pitch with Ottawa soon.

Canada, though, went on to advance, 4-1 on aggregate, to the fourth round of qualifying. Canada’s captain, however, is remaining patient.

“The most important thing is we got the result,” de Guzman said. “I wasn’t too concerned with getting the cap, but making sure the team did well and took care of what we needed to take care of.

“Now, we get to the next round and are guaranteed another six games and a couple of friendlies here and there, so my feeling and objective was always to continue to play with the national team having a chance to push for the World Cup. That’s why I knew the result was more important than anything else.”

And the captain of Canada who plays his club ball in the nation’s capital with Fury FC is hoping to push the total caps mark well past Stalteri’s.

“It would be a huge honor for me to clinch that,” de Guzman said. “Hopefully bring the record to a higher number and set the standard for other Canadians to look forward to and to eventually break that record.”

When Stalteri reached his leading total, de Guzman noted he had about half that number, and once the current captain hit 50 caps, it was the moment he felt he may just be able to move past 84.

“When I hit 50 caps and at that point I felt really good and told myself, ‘Why can’t I get another 30 or 40 caps?’”

De Guzman is in his 15th season as a professional, with stops around continental Europe and North America – playing for Deportivo La Coruña, Hannover, and Toronto FC, among others – and feels there is plenty more tread left in his legs, for club and country.

“I see myself involved with the national team for another year or two, if I stay fit,” de Guzman said. “Personally I still have not just national team, but club games up to 50 to 75 games left in me.”

And de Guzman will remain ready, willing, and able to don his nation’s colors.

“It’s always been a special moment in my career to put on that red jersey,” de Guzman added. “Being involved in the national team has helped my career overall, and the goal is to at least set the bar and have something for Canadians to strive for in the future.”

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