Rudi Schuller: Canada can say goodbye to Junior Hoilett

With Canada out and Jamaica still in contention for one of CONCACAF's 3.5 spots at Brazil 2014, the chances of Junior Hoilett ever wearing the Maple Leaf went from slim to none.
Normally, a player with multiple international options would have to decide which country to pledge his allegiance to before pulling a jersey on.

That's not the case for David "Junior" Hoilett. He's one of the rare players that has had the decision made for him.

Canada's untriumphant exit from World Cup qualification leaves Hoilett with one clear option if he wants to play in soccer's biggest showcase within the next few years: Jamaica.

A week ago, the odds suggested the opposite. Canada needed only a draw at Honduras to keep Mission 2014 alive, while Jamaica was in the unenviable position of having to let other teams decide its fate. The Jamaicans were three points back of both the U.S. and Guatemala, and a draw between those two sides would spell the end for the Caribbeans no matter what they did in their final match vs. Antigua & Barbuda.

Even a Jamaican victory wouldn't assure its entry into the Hexagonal, as Guatemala held the goal differential advantage and could have moved on with a slight loss. All Jamaica could do was win big against Antigua and hope for the best, while Canada had its fate firmly in its own hands.

Well, we all saw how that turned out. The gods were smiling on Jamaica, which squeaked through by the narrowest of margins, while Canada imploded in San Pedro Sula and was eliminated by a single point.

How all of that relates to Hoilett is simple - the 22-year-old starlet qualifies for Jamaica through parentage, so if he is harboring any positive feelings toward international play, he really only has once choice to make. He could jump in with both feet now and try to help his father's homeland into its first World Cup since 1998, or wait four more years to try to do the same with his birth nation (which hasn't been to the big dance since well before he was born).

There is the much talked about third option, where Hoilett gains British citizenship and tries his hand with England, where - aside from a loan stint to St. Pauli a few years back - he's lived since the age of 13. But that's an unrealistic option for many reasons that are far too complex to go into here.

No, young Junior only really has one choice to make. The burning question for Jamaican fans has to be when, if ever, he'll take the plunge. Hoilett hasn't exactly exuded an outward desire to play internationally for anyone, although one has to think that the lure of football's biggest stage will grow stronger as 2013 approaches.


Of course, I could be completely off-base, and Hoilett may still be looking to pull on the red and white of Canada despite the lack of big-game opportunities in the near future. I mean, hey, the Gold Cup may not be the biggest tournament in the world, but it's something.

Then again, if Junior's nationalistic pride burned so brightly, he surely would have jumped at the numerous chances to represent Canada in the now-failed World Cup qualification campaign, right?


For the purposes of Canada, we'll still consider him Canadian until he is definitively out of grasp. The domestic game is nothing if not built upon hope, eh?

But in all realistic scenarios, he's as good as gone, at least where the Maple Leaf is concerned.

It's time to say goodbye to Junior Hoilett, Canadian soccer fans. It's not like he was much of a familiar face, anyway.

Rudi Schuller is the Chief Editor of Canada.