Home Canadian Soccer Men's National Team New Whitecap Adekugbe called up to Canada camp, but still waits on passport

New Whitecap Adekugbe called up to Canada camp, but still waits on passport

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Wednesday was quite the busy day for Sam Adekugbe.

The England-born Canadian resident was named to coach Benito Floro’s roster for the national men’s team camp, which goes Sept. 1-11 in Spain. And, he was also confirmed as a member of the Vancouver Whitecaps’ MLS roster.

The defender joined the Whitecaps’ Residency in 2011, and was recently a part of Canada’s U-18 team that played in the COTIF U-20 tourney in Spain. Just last week, he received his permanent residency card. Now, Adekugbe — who came to Canada as a nine-year-old, where his family settled in Calgary — won’t take up a precious international spot and can be designated a Homegrown Player. But, to play for Canada in a FIFA sanctioned match, you need to have a passport. Adekugbe was able to play at COTIF as the tournament is a private one.

The Whitecaps confirmed that while Adekugbe is in the process of getting his citizenship, the passport is not in his possession yet. The 11 has asked the Canadian Soccer Association for clarification on Adekugbe’s status: If the passport doesn’t come, does that mean Adekugbe can only appear in the camp, but not cross the lines for the Mauritania matches? (UPDATE: The Whitecaps’ staff has indicated that Adekugbe would be OK for the Mauritania games.)

Sam Adekugbe

For example, permanent resident Mallan Roberts, who came to Canada from Sierra Leone as a refugee, is champing at the bit to play for this country’s national team, but is waiting for the passport to arrive. Colin Miller, who coached the Canadian national team on an interim basis before Floro started on the job in August, wanted to call up Roberts for the friendly against Costa Rica in May, but couldn’t do so because the big FC Edmonton central defender hadn’t completed the citizenship process. And FCE fans know there can be months of waiting between the granting of permanent residency and the granting of citizenship.

So, the fact that Adekugbe can play while Roberts couldn’t is a sign of how differently the Mauritania games are sanctioned than the Costa Rica match was. The Mauritania matches are training-camp matches, which will likely be played in front of few, if any, spectators.

But, until the passport arrives, Adekugbe can’t play for Canada’s U-20s or senior team in official competitions.

“Sam is a fantastic young talent and someone we’re all very excited to bring into the first team,” said Whitecaps’ head coach Martin Rennie in a release issued by the club. “We’ve watched him closely over the past few years as he developed with our Residency program and we’re very confident that he has a bright future ahead.”

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