Felipe: Needs to be in Canada for 1,095 days over four years. Should declare every day he is working for Impact outside of Canada.
Canadian national-team coach Benito Floro says he is listening.
If players like the Vancouver Whitecaps’ Camilo and Gershon Koffie, along with the Montreal Impact’s Felipe and Hassoun Camara want to play for Canada as soon as they get their citizenships, Floro said he would consider them. Of course he would. Any Canadian coach would.
But, this is where it gets tricky. In a lot of places, it’s being reported that the players, once they are in Canada for five years, can play for Canada. That’s the FIFA regulation; that a player be in his naturalized country for five consecutive years. So, if these players make Montreal and/or Vancouver their permanent homes, that’s the soccer-body requirement.
FIFA, though, isn’t the most important part of the equation. To play for your country, you need to be a citizen. You need to have a passport. And Canadian citizenship isn’t that cut and dried.
And, really, in any story that’s written about the possibility of these players wearing the Canadian uniform, the first call has to go to Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
First off, to apply for Canadian citizenship, you need to have spent 1,095 days in Canada over a four-year period. If you hit 1,095 days after three years, you can apply.
So, to apply after three years, you can not leave the country for a single day (save for a leap year) as three x 365 days = 1,095 days. Did any of these players go home for a single day? Go on road trips or training camps to the United States? Of course they did. So they’d need to wait till they hit 1,095 days in a four-year period.
But it gets even trickier. We asked CIC if it considers foreign road trips under a Canadian employer as days spent in Canada. If Felipe is in Guatemala playing in the CONCACAF Champions League, or in Florida for training camp, or is in Columbus for a weekend road trip, can these days count as days spent in Canada?
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