Canada and Louisville City FC soccer player Mark-Anthony Kaye is keen to learn from and challenge his team mates for a regular starting mid-field spot on the national team.
The 23 year old Toronto native was selected for Canada’s 23-man squad to play El Salvador, in international friendly action at the BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston on Oct. 8.
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Even without first team regulars Atiba Hutchinson, Junior Hoillet, Alphonso Davies and Will Johnson on the current roster, Kaye believes such squad depth options available has created a great vibe in the national team since the Gold Cup and Jamaica friendly win.
“(Team chemistry is) very good since the (Jamaica) game. Ever since Octavio (Zambrano) came into fold, he has brought in a sense of confidence to the guys”, said Kaye on Wednesday after his United Soccer League match versus Toronto FC II.
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“He doesn’t want us to defend and be too worried about what other team will do, which I think is good because us young guys are relishing it.
“It’s going to be same mentality going into next camp, playing El Salvador – where it will be its just us continuing to grow and build on what Octavio has introduced so far.”
The mid-field competition has become a notable area of strength for Canada under Zambrano with established European based seniors and young talents in MLS and USL.
“To be able to look at players like my former TFC Academy team mate (Jonathan) Osorio, Scott Arfield, Junior Hoillet, Atiba Hutchinson who play at highest level – its unreal to go into a training session and just sit back, enjoy and watch what they do.
“Then of course take little things from them that I can add to my game. I’m just relishing the opportunity being around all these world class players.”
Kaye further highlighted how playing with the team European based duo Hutchinson and Arfield has benefited him in recent national team encounters.
“They are very clean on the ball and to make it to next level, its not just what you do with your feet but how you read the game,” said Kay.
“Those guys read the game like no one I’ve ever seen before in my career to date, so it does give me an added boost of confidence that one day I can be where they are.
“Just got to take it step by step – the more I can get around players like them, the better its gonna be for my development.
Dino Rossi, the Commissioner of League One Ontario where Kaye started his professional career in 2014, is happy to see how far he has progressed.
“Mark’s progression since his one season in League1 has been terrific to observe,” he said. “He is a fantastic young man, a very talented player and he has the very valuable ability to help a team at a variety of positions on the pitch.
“You could see those qualities when he played in our league but he has really refined his game over these past three years. I expect big things from Mark and it would not surprise me at all to see him sign with MLS at some point in the near future.”