Faces of Football: Canada – A letter to the national team

Faces of Football: Canada – A letter to the national team

Dear Canadian National,

I was 12 when I fell in love with this team, now you have fulfilled the dream that for most of the Canadian people seemed impossible.

My name is Aaron Hooper and I’m from Ottawa, Canada: since 2006 I have supported the Canadian national team, both men’s and women’s. I have to admit that, looking back on a kid who falls in love with Canadian soccer, it wasn’t an easy time. All the fans as well as all your football players (after all they are almost all my peers, or almost) remember the time when Canada didn’t have professional teams, at least until 2007 with Toronto FC, but even from then on things didn’t they were great.

Being a Canadian fan has never been “cool”, hockey fans often made fun of us at school, we had to beg people to train with you, dreaming that one day football could also become popular or, simply, that more respect was reserved for him.

I remember the moments with my teammates, even after school, imagining the World Cup and saying to each other: “Guys, imagine Canada playing a World Cup…that would be something, something I hope to be a part of“. The conversation, however, always ended in the same way: “Who knows when it will happen, probably when we have grandchildren“.

But for some reason, in my heart, I actually believed it. In short, I believed that, in life, I would have seen Canada get to play in a World Cup.

At the time of the 8-1 defeat against Hunduras it might have seemed impossible for this moment to arrive, at least before the 2026 World Cup, hosted by Canada. But, dear Nazionale, let me say that you have surpassed our dreams. You made all of Canada believe it. You made anyone who wore the Canada shirt proud, making dreams a reality and helping all those young people who want to become professional footballers to dream, perhaps even going as far as a World Cup. This time, however, not based on their parents’ nationality but playing for our national team, living the dream of playing in the main European leagues as a tangible reality. Just like Jonathan David, Alphonso Davies, Milan Borja or Atiba Hutchinson.

Having the national team at a World it’s already a dream, getting through the groups would even be surreal, and I know you guys and John Herdman (who deserves a statue) will give everything. There is no pressure and, therefore, there is no fear.

Never show fear on the field, against any opponent, and I understood this from the moment you had to deal with USA, Mexico and Honduras. You have always allowed us to believe it.

To have been a soccer-loving 12-year-old in Canada who was called crazy for his dreams, and to be at this point now is truly surreal.

We cried tears of joy but also of frustration, dreaming of this moment, believing in it even when others thought it impossible: now let’s enjoy the dream.

I’m sure you already know this, but don’t be afraid and live it game by game. Continue to transform the culture of soccer in Canada, making the future brighter than the past.

Allez Canada!

Aaron Hooper

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