• Sat. Jun 19th, 2021

Canadian defender Scott Kennedy turns heads in debut with national team | CBC Sports


Jun 10, 2021

As first impressions go, Canadian defender Scott Kennedy hit it out of the park.

Canada coach John Herdman, who had talked up the uncapped Kennedy within the leadup to Tuesday’s essential World Cup qualifier towards Suriname, began the 24-year-old from Calgary in a again three with veteran Doneil Henry and Alistair Johnston.

He was not dissatisfied.

“That was as strong a debut as I’ve seen for this country,” Herdman mentioned after the 4-Zero win, which moved Canada right into a second-round playoff towards Haiti.

The 70th-ranked Canadian males play No. 83 Haiti on Saturday in Port-au-Prince with the rematch Tuesday at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview, Ill. Canada is 7-2-2 all-time towards Haiti however misplaced final day trip, blowing a 2-Zero result in lose 3-2 within the 2019 Gold Cup quarterfinals.

The Canada-Haiti winner strikes on to the so-called Octagonal, the eight-team ultimate spherical of qualifying in CONCACAF, which covers North and Central America and the Caribbean. The Canadian males haven’t made the ultimate qualifying spherical because the buildup to France ’98.

‘A particular second’

Kennedy, who performs his membership soccer for SSV Jahn Regensburg within the German second tier, isn’t any in a single day sensation. The six-foot-three 174-pound defender left residence at 18 to go to Europe, working his manner up from the decrease ranges in Austria and Germany to the Bundesliga 2.

Making his Canadian debut was a “special moment.”

“It actually hit me when we were singing the national anthem,” Kennedy mentioned in an interview. “The hairs on my arms stood up a bit because I realized how far I’d come. It’s altogether six years now that I’ve been working for it ΓǪ I just soaked it all up.”

His highway in Europe took him from SB Traunstein to FC Amberg in Germany after which SV Grodig and SK Austria Klagenfurt in Austria. He joined Regensburg in 2020.

“I’ve enjoyed my time there,” he mentioned of his European expertise. “I think it’s definitely shaped who I am as a person, being away from home and having those difficulties maybe. Not having the help from family or friends. Having to get through things on your own.”

Kennedy caught Herdman’s eye throughout Regensburg’s German Cup run this season. The membership made it to the quarterfinals, with Kennedy scoring in an upset win over top-tier FC Cologne earlier than dropping to Werder Bremen, one other Bundesliga staff.

“They were the moments that helped me understand that when he’s with better players and playing against better players, he can really rise up,” mentioned Herdman.

The win over Cologne marked Regensburg’s third consecutive penalty shootout victory.

Herdman describes Kennedy as a “no-nonsense guy” who will get the job completed.

“Just the way he’s handles himself from the day he came into this environment, [he’s] just a consummate pro,” Herdman mentioned.

Kennedy has two extra years on his contact with Regensburg, which completed 14th in Bundesliga 2 this season with 9-14-11 file.

“I’m very happy so far,” he mentioned of his time on the membership. “It was a great step in my career, especially this past year to get so many games in.”

Herdman talked to Kennedy about bringing him in to camp forward of March World Cup qualifiers towards Bermuda and the Cayman Islands. But Kennedy picked up a knee harm and was unable to go.

“That was when I realized that they were looking at me and were watching my games,” Kennedy mentioned. “So it was definitely a nice thing to hear and I definitely wanted to jump on the next opportunity, which was now. I’m happy it worked out this time.”

Regensburg usually employs a four-man backline however presses aggressively. He says that eased the transition to the again three with Canada.

“Doneil and Alistair played great. We had a good understanding of what we had to do,” mentioned Kennedy. “I felt comfortable.”

Earlier years

Good on the ball, Kennedy was a midfielder rising up. In his later teenage years he switched first to fullback after which centre again.

“I grew a little bit later,” he defined. “I wasn’t always 6-3, so I wasn’t needed back there. I just sort of grew into it and I love to defend. I love people needing to count on me. I love that pressure.”

He performed membership soccer for Calgary West, Calgary Chinooks and William Aberhart High School.

Kennedy began his European membership journey after his Chinooks staff went on tour in Germany. His coach had German connections, inviting a few of them to come back see his staff play.

One preferred what he noticed. The scout, Rainer Horgl, grew to become his agent. “We’ve worked together ever since,” mentioned Kennedy.

It wasn’t simple initially.

His first membership, SB Traunstein, was a semi-professional aspect in Germany’s sixth tier and solely skilled three or 4 instances per week. Kennedy did not converse the language. Back residence, in the meantime, his mates have been going to school “and having fun.”

“Of course there was doubt — and thinking that you’re missing out on things,” mentioned Kennedy. “But I just remembered why I was there, what I wanted. I’ve always had the idea if you want something, you have to sacrifice other things in your life. And I was willing to do that.”

While he labored to enhance his recreation on the sphere, he discovered German off it and is now fluent.

Regensburg is positioned within the southeast of Germany, some 125 kilometres north of Munich. Filled with historical past, it is a widespread vacationer vacation spot outdoors of the pandemic.

“I haven’t been able to investigate to much. but I love it there,” he mentioned. “The scenery’s nice. It’s got a lot of culture, a lot of history. But I’m still scratching the surface when it comes to figuring it all out, just because of the situation going on.”

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