VANCOUVER, BC - Vancouver Whitecaps FC confirmed today that Homegrown players Sam Adekugbe and Russell Teibert have been called up to the Canadian men's national team for the third round of 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ qualifying in a two-leg series against Belize.
The team begins training in Toronto on August 31 and will play the first leg at BMO Field on September 4, before the scene shifts to FFB Field in Belmopan, Belize for the second leg on September 8.
- SCHEDULE: 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers
“We need to maintain our concentration against Belize,” said Canada head coach Benito Floro. “It is very important to score goals and continue our strong play at the back. We consider that this is a good team and we must treat them with respect because in eliminatory games like this there are no small teams."
This will be the first meeting between the two national sides since the FIFA World Cup Qualifier in June 2004. Canada won the two-game series with an 8-0 aggregate win with both matches taking place in Kingston, as Belize didn’t have a suitable facility to host a game at the time.
The winner of the series moves into the fourth round that gets underway in November. That will be a four-team group that includes Mexico, Honduras, and the winner of another third round tie between El Salvador and Curacao.
Adekugbe, 20, will be making his third appearance at a Canadian men’s national team camp, after being invited last March but was unable to join due to injury. He most recently saw international action for Canada's U-20 men's national team when he played the full 90 minutes in four of five matches during the 2015 U-20 CONCACAF Championships, picking up an assist in Canada’s 3-1 win against Haiti on January 10.
Adekugbe was named to the MLS Team of the Week earlier this year after making his first start of the season against Chicago Fire. The Calgary-based defender went on to start six of the following seven matches for Whitecaps FC before being sidelined with a right ankle injury in the first leg of the Amway Canadian Championship semifinal versus FC Edmonton on May 13. He made his first appearance back from injury in the 1-1 draw versus Seattle Sounders FC in the 2015-16 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League opener on August 5.
Teibert, 22, rejoins the national team after making three appearances for Canada at the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup and scoring his first international goal in Canada's 2-0 win over Dominica in World Cup Qualifiers on June 11. The Niagara Falls, Ontario-born midfielder has earned 17 caps with the Canadian senior men’s national team after making his debut in August 2012 at the age of 19 years old.
Teibert has made 10 starts in 18 MLS appearances for Whitecaps FC this season, highlighted by MLS Team of the Week selections for his performances in the 2-0 win over LA Galaxy on April 4 and in the 1-0 victory at Real Salt Lake two weeks after. On Wednesday, Teibert was presented the George Gross Memorial Trophy as the tournament MVP after Whitecaps FC won their first-ever Voyageurs Cup in the Amway Canadian Championship.
Adekugbe and Teibert will join Canada following Whitecaps FC’s August 29 match at Houston Dynamo and will be back in Vancouver on September 9, when the 'Caps host Colorado Rapids at BC Place.
CANADIAN NATIONAL TEAM ROSTER:
GK - Milan Borjan | BUL / Ludogorets Razgrad
GK - Maxime Crépeau | CAN / Impact de Montréal
GK - Kenny Stamatopoulos | SWE / AIK
D - Samuel Adekugbe | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC
D - Luca Gasparotto | SCO / Glasgow Rangers (on loan at Greenock Morton)
D - Manjrekar James | HUN / Diosgyori VTK
D - Karl W. Ouimette | USA / New York Red Bulls
D/M - Marcel de Jong | USA / Sporting KC
D/M - David Edgar | ENG / Birmingham City FC (on loan at Sheffield United)
D/M - Nik Ledgerwood | GER / Energie Cottbus
D/M - Adam Straith | NOR / Fredrikstad
M - Tesho Akindele | USA / FC Dallas
M - Kyle Bekker | CAN / Impact de Montréal
M - Atiba Hutchinson | TUR / Besiktas
M - Will Johnson | USA / Portland Timbers
M - Issey Nakajima-Farran | MAS / Terengganu
M - Michael Petrasso | ENG / Queens Park Rangers
M - Samuel Piette | ESP / Deportivo la Coruna (on loan at Racing de Ferrol)
M - Russell Teibert | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC
M/F - Tosaint Ricketts | TUR / Boluspor
F - Marcus Haber | ENG / Crewe Alexandra FC
F - Cyle Larin | USA / Orlando City SC
Be a part of the best sporting atmosphere in Vancouver! Whitecaps FC Season Tickets are now on sale. In addition to Season Tickets, Whitecaps FC offer a flexible range of ticket products, including Half-Season Packs, 5-Packs, a Youth Soccer Half-Season Ticket, and single match tickets. For more information, visit whitecapsfc.com/tickets.