Soccer dream dies hard

Canada's national soccer team member Jason de Vos will be concentrating on his club career,...

Canada's national soccer team member Jason de Vos will be concentrating on his club career, effectively retiring from his national duties. (File Photo)

MORRIS DALLA COSTA -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 7:25 AM ET

Jason de Vos's career with Canada's national soccer team is over.

The 31-year-old native of Appin, who is the captain of the Canada's national soccer team and has fought many battles in many countries, wants to concentrate on his club soccer career. De Vos also believes Canada should invest time and money on the young players who will be around when Canada looks to qualify in the 2010 World Cup and beyond.

"I don't think I'd ever come out and say I'm going to retire, but I can't see myself ever playing for Canada again," de Vos said from England, where he had just finished a League Championship season with Ipswich. "It's disappointing. I love playing for my country. My dream was never to play in England or play professionally or make a lot of money playing football, it was to play for my country.

"If we'd gotten through to the next stage, I'd still be playing for Canada because I'd sacrifice everything to try and get to the World Cup. As soon as we were eliminated I knew that that dream was over for me, that I had to deal with that and accept that. Frank Yallop (the national coach) was brilliant with me. We had a nice chat. He needs to go in another direction. He needs to give the guys who are going to be playing in 2010 and 2014 the experience. They aren't going to get it with me playing."

Canadian players who play abroad face hardships when it comes to playing for their national team. They face more travel miseries than other national team players. The club sides they play for aren't particularly pleased about all the time spent playing for Canada. The grind has taken its toll on de Vos both physically and emotionally.

"Our fitness coach said, 'You played way too much football over the two years. You need a break, your body needs time to recover because of jet lag and various injuries. You're killing yourself.' From July onwards I played something like 55 games. It's a lot of football. I was really pleased to get through that without breaking down or suffering major injury. In hindsight I shouldn't have played with some injuries."

De Vos and his wife Rachael just had their second child, a boy Jake. Daughter Ella is two.

"At this stage in my life, with two young kids, my club career, the two don't go hand in hand any more," he said. "It's unbelievably difficult to pack your bags for three weeks and leave while your two-year-old daughter is standing at the front door saying 'Please don't go.' It pulls at your heartstrings. I hate every minute I have to be away from my kids."

De Vos moved from Wigan Athletic to Ipswich at the end of this season. Wigan won promotion of the English Premiership. Ipswich finished third in the league, barely missing automatic promotion forcing it into a playoff.

"It was a real heartbreak for us," de Vos said. "A lot of reporters ask if I regret leaving Wigan. I don't regret for one second leaving Wigan. Hindsight is a wonderful thing but I left because I felt they weren't treating me very well. Everyone at Ipswich from the owners to the manager to the people who cut the grass have been brilliant.

"It's been a great move for me. A lot of the enjoyment of being a footballer is the journey and not the end product."

It's a journey that will continue for de Vos, but without his national team commitments, there won't be as many trips to make.


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