skip navigation

Kaye, Canada Focused as Gold Cup Nears

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 07/05/17, 2:37PM EDT


Louisville midfielder and teammates open tournament Friday

Photo courtesy Canada Soccer

With the start of its 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup campaign only two days away, Louisville City FC midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye said the Canada Men’s National Team is focused internally on what it wants to accomplish ahead of its meeting with French Guinea at Red Bull Arena.

“I think we just need to really focus on ourselves considering it’s a big transition with the national team with a new coach coming in,” said Kaye. “We can’t worry too much about other teams. We kind of have to set the foundation for what we want to do. I think as long as all the other guys are motivated and, I would say, buy into what the coach is saying, I think we should have a great run in the tournament.”

Kaye and his teammates enter the tournament also drawn with regional power Costa Rica, and a team in Honduras that has held the upper hand in their recent meetings, eliminating Canada in the penultimate round of World Cup Qualifying each of the past two cycles. Led into the tournament by new Head Coach Octavio Zambrano, and with a good contingent of young talent including former USL standouts Raheem Edwards of Toronto FC and Alphonso Davies of Vancouver Whitecaps FC, the hope is the side can build a platform that will send the side to long-term success

With the mixture of experience and youth in the squad – from Davies at 16 years old to 37-year-old Montreal Impact veteran Patrice Bernier at either end of the spectrum – Zambrano believes there is a major opportunity for the team this summer to advance past the group stage for the first time since 2009.

“I think for any player that has had the opportunity to wear the national team jersey, they know what this is all about,” Zambrano told Canada Soccer. “It doesn’t get any better than that. It has to do with the pride of being selected as an elite player amongst your peers, and it has to do with singing the national anthem and feeling those indescribable feelings of hearing that song and what it means to you when you sing it, and ultimately when you play and defend the colors of your country, and you play to win. I think all these guys, they understand that, and they’re up to the task.”   

Photo courtesy Canada Soccer

At 22 years old, Kaye is among the next generation who is embracing the opportunity to make his mark on the international stage after making his full international debut last month against Curaçao.

“It’s been going well,” Kaye said. “Training has been going well. There’s a real sense of everyone wanting to get something out of this. It’s good to be around players that are very technical and have really good abilities that you can learn from.”

Among those are the likes of Burnley FC midfielder Scott Arfield, whose experience from the Premier League is offering Kaye to get as much from the tournament as possible as the young players within the group push forward both domestically and on the international front.

“He’s unreal,” Kaye said of Arfield. “He’s so clean technically — just all-around good player. It’s good to even play with him in training — have him on my team sometimes in training — because I can compare myself to him and I’m like, ‘He’s at the highest level.’ So it’s good to be around players like that because you know what standards you need to get to and how hard you need to push yourself to succeed.”

Follow the USL Championship

Most Recent News

Most Read News

Latest Videos