Langley’s own Nathan Demian will be playing for Canada at this month’s 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Brazil.
On Saturday, Oct. 26th, Demian and his teammates will begin the hard way, playing the hosts and soccer powerhouse Brazil.
Going into the first game, Demian admitted he doesn’t know a “whole lot” about the Brazilian team.
“I know that Brazil is a perennial powerhouse in the international game. We have a player here who does play for the New Zealand national team (Whitecaps FC Development Squad striker Thomas Raimbault), so that also kind of gives us a little bit of a clue. “
He wants Canada to “make some big noise” at the tournament and show that it really is a soccer nation.
“For me personally, I go into everything trying to win,” Demian explained.
“I don’t go in saying ‘oh a quarterfinal finish, a group stage finish is good enough’. No I want to win. I look at other teams and I don’t think anyone is better than us when we go there.”
He described playing for Canada as “a huge honour.”
“When I was 12 years old old, I wrote a letter to my future self for an English project, and one of the things I wanted to achieve by the time I graduated high school was to represent Canada at the U-17 World Cup,” he recalled.
After his mother, a Canadian-Egyptian met and married his father in Egypt, they moved to Canada and Langley, where they raised seven children.
Demian said growing up in Langley “has really shaped me and all of my brothers and sisters into the people we are today.”
Demian plays centre back and has been in the Vancouver Whitecaps FC Academy since 2015.
He previously played with Surrey United SC in the EA SPORTS BC Soccer Premier League before joining Whitecaps FC Residency in 2015.
As one of six Whitecaps selected for Team Canada, Demian will have some familiar faces playing with him in Brazil.
Some, he noted, he’s been playing soccer with since he was 10 years old.
“It’s great to have some of your brothers who you’ve grown up playing with,” he observed.
“Now seven years on, we’re going to one of the biggest tournaments in the world together. It kind of gives a sense of familiarity when you go abroad.”
Not that he lacks a connection with his other teammates, Demian pointed out.
“After being with them now for about a year, you really get to know them and they become almost part of your Whitecaps family because you’re used to playing with them now and it’s almost the same. I definitely have some really close relationships here [in Vancouver] that I’ll be taking with me to Brazil.”