Over the past few days — and ahead of the league welcoming its second Canadian franchise, Vancouver Whitecaps FC, into the fold — MLSsoccer.com has explored the state of Canadian soccer — where it's been, where it's at and where it's going. Here, MLSsoccer.com contributor Peter Mallett picks his all-time Canadian Best XI team. It's a squad that spans generations that we think would give the world's best — from any place, any time — a run for its money.
Craig Forrest – Backstopped Canada to its first major international tournament title, the 2000 CONCACAF Gold Cup. Had a lengthy 17-year career in England with Ipswich Town and West Ham United.
Bob Lenarduzzi – The current president of MLS expansion Vancouver Whitecaps FC had an 11-year playing career with the club. He also represented Canada 47 times, leading them to a berth in the 1986 FIFA World Cup.
Randy Samuel – Held the record for most appearances for Canada (82) before Paul Stalteri passed him this year. During a 14-year international career, his rugged play made him one of the most feared and respected defenders in CONCACAF. Samuel played the 1998 season with Vancouver 86ers.
Bruce Wilson – Captained Canada to its first and only appearance in a FIFA World Cup (Mexico 1986). In 1988, he was the only Canadian named to the CONCACAF Team of the Century. Wilson played with Whitecaps FC from 1974 to 1977.
Paul James – Scored a crucial goal for Canada against Costa Rica during its Marching to Mexico 1986 World Cup campaign and represented the national squad 43 times between 1983 and 1993 as a defensive midfielder.
Julian de Guzman – The first-ever Canadian-born player to play in the Spanish Primera Division is currently Toronto FC’s designated player. Known for his solid defending and brilliant ball skills, he has 44 international caps for Canada.
Dwayne De Rosario – This clutch finisher is currently fourth on Canada’s all-time goal scoring list with 15. Toronto FC’s two-time MLS MVP has been named to the league’s Best XI five times.
Mike Sweeney – A pint-sized but hard-tackling ruthless midfielder who represented Canada more than 61 times during a 14-year international career. His quickness and pace made him a natural fit for both the indoor and outdoor game. Sweeney played with Whitecaps FC from 1983 to 1984.
Alex Bunbury – His 16 goals in 66 appearances put him third on Canada’s all-time scoring list. This clinical finisher was also voted the Portugal’s Top foreign player of 1994 while with Maritimo.
Dale Mitchell – His 19 career goals remain a Canadian national team record. He also had a lengthy career in the North American Soccer League (1977-1983) and the Major Indoor Soccer League (1984-1987). Mitchell played with Whitecaps FC from 1977 to 1978 and Vancouver 86ers in 1988 to 1990 and 1992 to 1994.
Branko Segota – Likely the nation’s most gifted goalscorer, he ranks 13th on the North American Soccer League’s all-time scoring list (73) and also has the second-highest goal tally (463) in the history of the Major Indoor Soccer League.
(GK) Tino Lettieri (Whitecaps FC 1982 - 1983); (D) Paul Stalteri; (D) Robert Iarusci; (D) Colin Miller (current Whitecaps FC assistant coach); (M) Wes McLeod; (M) Paul Peschisolido, (M) Lyndon Hooper, (M) Gerry Gray (Whitecaps FC 1980 - 1982), (M) Randy Ragan, (F) John Catliff (Vancouver 86ers 1988 - 1994); (F) Mike Stojanovic