Julian De Guzman Interview
|Stars in the Community|
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By Aldwyn Mc Gill (Caribbean Camera Newspaper)
2007-12-14: In lieu of the World Cup qualifying draw, I thought I should hear from one of Canada’s top soccer players and MVP of the CONCACAF Gold Cup 2007 Julian De Guzman. The 26 years old Julian De Guzman is of Jamaican and Filipino decent and was scouted while with North Scarborough Youth Soccer Club in Toronto. He is the first Canadian player to play in Spain’s La liga with Club Deportivo de La Coruña and became only the second Canadian to play in the Bundesliga with Hanover 96 in Germany.
Q: Hey Julian! What’s up?
A: I’m fine! I’m in Barcelona preparing for a match tonight. It’s gonna to be tough but it would be an experience to remember. I am playing tonight and Camp Nou Stadium in Barcelona is one of my favourite stadiums that I’ve played in in my career.
Q: Did you hear about the World Cup qualifying draw? What you think of the match up with you and St Vincent and the Grenadines since Canada has never played them before? If you defeat SVG more than likely Canada would have to face Mexico, Honduras and Jamaica. With Jamaica hitting stride, I think you guys would have to hit your Gold Cup form to be competitive. What do you think?
A: I did hear about our match against SVG in June. I’m pretty excited about the start of the WC Qualifier campaign. It will be a group of death if we make it to the next round. We are still trying to gel together with the next two friendlies ahead of us. We will have a committed and competitive squad ready by summer. I would even add that the quality of the national team could result in a better team than our CONCACAF team. It’s just a matter of getting the right guys involved.
Q: I guess by now you may know that most people call me “midget” in the Caribbean Community in Canada and in the Caribbean, because I used to be short, but back then I did not let it hold me back from making it to the T&T national squad amongst other accomplishments as a player. Obviously you have had the same size challenges as I did but you took your game to another level. Is there any specific incident or situation in regards to your size that you encountered which you used to motivate yourself?
A: I’ve had my rough sides in trying to make it because of my size. I’ve been cut from provincial and national teams and at some point I wanted to give up because of the constant criticism of my height. But my main push was to pave the way for my younger brother and prove to him that if you want something in life, you gotta fail to succeed. And the only person who can stop you is God and yourself.
Q: I realize that you are close to your Canadian teammates but which player are you the closest with and which player, when he is having one of his rare bad games, would trigger you to step up and give 110% to pick up the team?
A: I’m pretty close to a lot of the boys. But Dwayne (De Rosario) for me would have to be the bigger brother I look up to whenever we meet up. I grew up in Scarborough following him. I even played against him when he was with GS United. He’s a pioneer to the game and an example I looked up too back than and today. He’s also a great guy off the pitch which makes him special.
Q: Julian I think you still have a lot to offer with your skill and talent. Is there anything you would like to accomplish before your playing career is over to add to your CONCACAF Gold Cup 2007 MVP award?
A: Most definitely take Canada to a World Cup. That would be the ultimate goal for me. Putting Canada on the football map would save a lot of talented Canadians who struggle to get a fair chance overseas. Winning titles would also be in my plans. Gold Cup or Domestic League Titles are beautiful things to have in anybody’s career”.
END-NOTE: Julian De Guzman’s FC Deportivo team lost to host FC Barcelona later on that evening after taking an early lead on a goal scored by Cristian at the second minute mark. Ronaldinho equalized on a penalty kick just before the half and Xavi scored at the 70th minute to give Barcelona a 2-1 win.