Home Global Game CONCACAF Winter: Stinson, Morgan won’t miss TFC’s CCL action due to Olympic commitments

Winter: Stinson, Morgan won’t miss TFC’s CCL action due to Olympic commitments

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No alarm bells are ringing just yet but with the Olympics training camp just weeks away the Canadian Soccer Association has yet to announce its 30-man roster.

With the Olympics being a U-23 event, the CSA should not have too much trouble assembling a roster with the best available talent and generally has a good relationship with MLS clubs. So the lack of an announcement does seem strange.

Perhaps it may have to do with the length of time that players would miss from their clubs – up to five weeks if Canada qualifies for the Olympics.

Toronto FC Head Coach and Technical Director Aron Winter has not received official word from the CSA regarding call-ups for any of his players, but they are likely to be defender Ashtone Morgan and midfielder Matt Stinson. Winter has had discussions with the CSA and insists none will be absent from the biggest matches in team history – the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals.

“No, nothing official,” said Winter during TFC’s media day. “But those two guys (Morgan and Stinson) should be called up, but we have spoken also with the coach of the national team (Tony Fonseca) at the moment because they’re coming together I think in the beginning of March.”

“It should come together. We have spoken at least the games that we’re going to play against L.A. that they’re going to remain with us.”

The qualifying training camp runs from Mar. 13-20 in Ford Lauderdale and based on Winter’s comments, neither Morgan nor Stinson would join the camp until at least Mar. 15. Toronto FC will host LA Galaxy on Mar 7 and the return leg is on Mar. 14.

CONCACAF Olympic qualifying takes place in Nashville, Tenn. right after the Canadian camp would close.

NASL franchise FC Edmonton announced last week that three of its players have been confirmed as call-ups — Shaun Saiko, Kyle Porter and goalkeeper Michal Misiewicz. Going to the camp is not a guarantee that players will make the final squad.

Winter also stressed the importance of having deep roster as a result of his players being called up to national squads at different points in a season.

“You know that with the Olympics you have to play qualifying games, but not only Olympics, but also the FIFA days,” said Winter.

“Now we got a lot of international days probably going to lose a lot of them and that’s why it’s also important to have a big roster at each position and at least you see more players that you can play the games over here and get some good results.”

To complicate matters the CSA seems to be having a breakdown in communication as to who has and has not been invited to the camp. Winter said nothing was official and when Morgan was asked he said the same. However, Stinson said he was contacted and was invited to the camp.

“Nothing official yet,” said Morgan. “I’m hoping. I’m pretty sure that I’m going to get the call-up. We’ll see what happens. I’m not too sure.”

As for Stinson, not only was he invited, but he was upbeat about making the cut for final roster.

“Yeah, I have. I think they have a 30-man roster that goes to the preliminary camp right before leading into the qualifying,” said Stinson. “I’ve been invited to that and from that point I need to show what I can do to earn a spot on the team. I think they take 20 players so I’m looking to get one of those spots and hopefully go qualify for the Olympics.”

Somehow it doesn’t all add up. Maybe Stinson let the cat out of the bag and wasn’t supposed to make it known. Either way, the CSA has not responded to The 11’s questions about the roster and that inaction speaks volumes as well.

Although qualifying for the London will be tough task both are optimistic and would be excited to represent Canada on the world stage.

“100 per cent. It’s been one of my dreams, one of my goals,” said Morgan. “Hopefully I’ll get the opportunity to represent my country at the Olympics and qualify.”

Added Stinson, “It’s one of the most watched events in the world. Growing up I’ve watched the Olympics, Olympic soccer.

“It’s just another chance. I love representing Canada and to do it on the Olympic stage would be amazing. So that’s one of my goals this year to help Canada qualify for the Olympics.”

Stinson played well for TFC as the season came to and end and was rewarded as being a starter and received a call-up to the national team in November for World Cup qualifying matches. But a training injury cost him the chance of representing his country.

“Obviously, that’s life. That’s soccer. Injuries happen when you least expect them,” said Stinson. “Obviously, it was disappointing to me, but I think it just motivates me even more to keep working and trying to earn another call-up and then after that trying to start with the team and keep working.

“The only thing I can do is play my best at Toronto FC and hopefully the Olympics and Canada, the first team, will call me up.”


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