PREVIEW – Cyle Larin is the all-time leading goal-scorer for the CanMNT. He also led the goals in Concacaf World Cup qualifying and will be one of Canada’s X-Factors in this tournament.
Player Profile of CanMNT All-Time Goal-Scorer Cyle Larin
Cyle Larin’s Childhood
Cyle Larin was born on April 17, 1995, in Brampton, Ontario to Jamaican parents. According to Hale Hendrix of Life Bogger, the first-born son was born in a middle-class family. Larin credits his mother for a lot of success he achieved in his life and the struggles his mother faced to support him and his brother and sister according to Jonathan Synott of Daily Campus.
“She had to work, all the time, and take care of my brother and sister,” Larin said. “She sacrificed a lot for us and without her, I wouldn’t be where I am today. When I started getting serious [in soccer], I could see it was a way to take care of my family because we came from nothing… my mom said if I listen to these guys, I’m going to become a professional one day.”
Larin was the leading goal scorer in the high school he attended, which was St. Edmund Campion Secondary School according to Gilbert Ngabo, a sports reporter for the Toronto Star. Cyle Larin also won a lot of accolades with the University of Connecticut. He also joined a private soccer academy called Sigma FC in Mississauga. This is what former Sigma FC Technical Director (now Forge FC head coach) Bobby Smyrniotis said about Larin according to Paul Tenorio of the Orlando Sentinel:
“He looked over at me and he said, ‘My mom said if I listen to these guys, I’m going to become a professional one day,'” Smyrniotis recalled. “It’s always one of those moments you remember and it’s one of those moments you remember when you see him walk out on the field now.”
Cyle Larin’s Club Profile
Larin was drafted first overall in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft. He proved his worth in the draft in his three years for Orlando City SC. In only his rookie season with Orlando, he scored 18 goals with the club, with 17 of them happening during the MLS season itself. He then scored 15 goals (once in the national cup) and then 12 goals in the following two seasons. For a player like Larin, his accomplishments in MLS at such a young age were remarkable. He won the MLS Rookie of the Year Award in 2015 and also made the MLS All-Star Game in his sophomore season in 2016.
Cyle Larin then went to play for Beşiktaş J.K. His most notable season was the 2020-21 season, where he scored 19 goals in 38 appearances. He also scored three goals in the national cup and one goal in the Continental competition. He played an instrumental part in Beşiktaş winning lots of trophies in the 2020-21 season. He won the Turkish Cup, the Turkish Super Cup, and won the Süper Lig championship.
GOAAAL! 0-1! Larin met zijn eerste voor Club. 😍 #SERCLU pic.twitter.com/EKiMsOyz8i
— Club Brugge KV (@ClubBrugge) September 10, 2022
However, Larin was unable to get playing time with Club Brugge. There is concern about him having a lack of playing time. This should not distract fans from other countries from his importance with the national team.
Rise with the CanMNT
Cyle Larin’s start with the CanMNT did not start off well. He missed a clear shot on goal in the 2015 Concacaf Gold Cup against El Salvador. However, he has clearly stepped up a lot since then and has become the CanMNT all-time leading scorer.
First, he scored a hat trick against Bermuda on March 25, 2021, in a 5-1 victory. Larin also stepped up when he was needed the most. He scored two of the four goals in the two-legged games against Haiti in the second round of the Concacaf FIFA World Cup qualifying. In fact, Larin scored the game-winning goal against Haiti on the road for the Canadians.
CYLE LARIN. GOAL NUMBER 23. #CANMNT UP 1-0 OVER THE #USMNT at the 7-minute mark
🔴 https://t.co/7JFAUhgjL6 pic.twitter.com/gDkF8XJfMO
— OneSoccer (@onesoccer) January 30, 2022
Then, when looking at the final round of FIFA World Cup qualifying, he scored Canada’s first two goals, allowing Canada to earn draws against Honduras and the U.S. Most notably, he scored two goals at home including a game-winning goal to win at home 2-1. He then scored one of two goals against the U.S. in a 2-0 victory at Tim Hortons Field. That goal against the U.S. helped Larin become the all-time leader for the CanMNT in terms of goals.
Cyle Larin led Concacaf World Cup qualifying with 13 goals, four more than his teammate, who had the second-most goals in Concacaf World Cup qualifying, Jonathan David. Without Larin, Canada may not have qualified for the FIFA World Cup. That is how much of an impact Larin had on his national side within the last two years. Additionally, this is what Herdman said about Larin and what he means for the team according to Gilbert Ngabo of the Toronto Star:
“I think he’s just bought into this team, he’s bought into something way bigger than himself. He loves playing for Canada,” Herdman said.
Will Larin Play a Big Role against Belgium?
READ MORE: The 2022 CanMNT World Cup Preview: Looking to Make History
This is a big question for Canada as they face Belgium on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. ET. That game will be televised live on TSN in Canada and televised live on RDS in Quebec. The location of that game in Qatar would be Ahmad bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan.
There are other players though that could step up even if Larin does not play well. This includes players like Lille OSC’s Jonathan David, FC Porto’s Stephen Eustáquio, and also his fellow teammate, Tajon Buchanan of Club Brugge.