A pair of soccer players with Surrey roots are with Team Canada in Qatar for this month’s big World Cup tournament.
Midfielder Liam Fraser and defender Joel Waterman were among those named to the 26-man roster Sunday (Nov. 13), 10 days before Canadian men play their first World Cup game in 36 years, against Belgium on Wednesday, Nov. 23.
Fraser lived and played soccer in Surrey from 2005 to 2013, while Waterman was born in Surrey and grew up in Aldergrove.
Both players once wore Surrey United jerseys for home games at Cloverdale Athletic Park.
“Not one but two SUSC alumni have been named to the Canada Men’s Team 2022 World Cup roster,” Surrey United posted to Facebook. “Congratulations to both Joel Waterman and Liam Fraser who stopped to play with SUSC in their development years and will now play in front of the world. Well done boys!”
The Toronto-born Fraser moved with his family to Surrey when he was seven, and returned to Ontario eight years later, in 2013. According to a biography on BC Soccer Hall of Fame’s website, he played with Peace Arch AC and Surrey Guildford, and also with the Whitecaps Residency program.
Waterman’s early days in soccer included time with Langley United and Surrey United, and on B.C.’s provincial team at the 2013 Canada Summer Games. He played college soccer with Trinity Western University Spartans from 2014 to 2018, where he was team captain, won a Canada West silver medal and was selected to the Canada West All-Star team.
Fraser, 24, currently plays pro with KMSK Deinze in Belgium, while the older Waterman, 26, is with CF Montréal of the MLS.
Fraser’s 15 appearances for the senior men’s national team began in 2019. His caps include games in the CONCACAF Gold Cup in 2021 and six games in the successful 2021-22 qualifying campaign for the 2022 World Cup 2022.
Meantime, Waterman was called up to several camps and projects for the Canadian senior men’s national team from 2021, earning his first appearance earlier this month against Bahrain.
At the World Cup, the John Herdman-coached Canadians will face Belgium at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium. Four days later, they’ll face Croatia on Nov. 27 at Khalifa International Stadium, and then Morocco another four days later on Dec. 1 at Al Thumama Stadium, to close out the group phase.
The Canadian men are the reigning “Kings of CONCACAF,” having finished first overall in the regional round of FIFA World Cup qualifiers from September 2021 to March 2022. It marked the third time that the national team won a CONCACAF title.
In all, 39 different players represented Canada across FIFA World Cup qualifiers from March 2021 through March 2022.