PREVIEW – Dayne St. Clair, a Canadian goalkeeper born in Scarborough, Ontario, will be one of the 25 players to represent the CanMNT in the two Concacaf Nations League game this year. St. Clair started his career in League1 Ontario, which was a pathway that helped St. Clair make MLS.
Dayne St. Clair: An Exciting CanMNT Goalkeeper
Dayne St. Clair: Childhood and Growing Up in the GTA
St. Clair, like many of his teammates, has parents from different backgrounds. His father, Fabian St Clair, is from Trinidad and Tobago, and his mother, Julie, is Canadian and Scottish (source: Jelani Beckles of Newsday). The goalkeeper, St. Clair, in Brian McNair’s Durham Region article, said this about wanting to play the “beautiful game”:
“In grade school when you get the little sheet of what you want to do, people would be saying superheroes and things like that, but I had a professional soccer player,” he recalled. “Of course, I didn’t know what kind of path it would be, but it was something that I always aspired to be.”
St. Clair spent his primary school days growing up in Pickering and Scarborough. He was three years old when he started to play for the Ephinay Church Soccer League, and was four years old when he played for North Scarborough. He and his family then moved to neighbouring city of Pickering when he was seven years old. His favourite sports teams are Arsenal and the Miami Heat (source: Canada Soccer).
He then got a scholarship and went to Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School in Ajax as revealed in McNair’s article.
Moving to Play for the Maryland Terrapins
St. Clair went to university in the U.S. to play for the Maryland Terrapins. He was there for four years, including two years as a starter. In his first-ever game for Maryland, he recorded a shutout against St. John’s on August 30, 2015. It was in his third and fourth years though that St. Clair made his name known.
In 2017, he posted three consecutive shutouts and made six saves against Indiana. This is what St. Clair said of the reason to play for Maryland (source: Maryland Terrapins website):
“Rich tradition of winning and producing pros.”
He might have saved his best for his last year though, playing every minute in goal for his college team. St. Clair did not give up a goal in the final 500 minutes of the season and also the final five matches of the year. St. Clair talked about winning the national championship for the Terrapins and what it meant for him and his team:
“It’s a huge accomplishment, not only for myself but the team as well,” St. Clair said of winning the NCAA title, which culminated with a 1-0 win over Akron Dec. 9 (source: Maryland Terrapins). “Just winning a national championship, not many people are able to say that. That’s something I think will stick with me for life.”
Dayne St. Clair Senior Career and Playing for Minnesota United FC
While playing in college, St. Clair was also playing in Ontario. He first did this with Vaughan Azzurri (2014-15) and the K-W United (2016-17). St. Clair also played three games for the New York Red Bulls U23 team back in 2018.
He then said this when getting drafted in the MLS SuperDraft as one of the Generation Adidas Players in Jerry Zgoda’s Star Tribune article:
“I wanted to make a statement to the person I am, the player I am,” the 21-year-old St. Clair said. “This is my statement.”
St. Clair has been with Minnesota since the 2019 MLS season. In that time, he also played for Forward Madison and San Antonio FC on loan for five games each with each club. 2022 was his breakout year in MLS, as he made the MLS All-Star Game for the first time in his career 2022. Additionally, in that MLS All-Star Game, he won Most Valuable Player Honours.
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He also had some other big games, including his shutout against the New York Red Bulls on March 13, 2022, that got St. Clair MLS player of the week honours.
Dayne St. Clair: His Time with the CanMNT and What Others Have Said About Him
#CANMNT debut alert! 🚨 Dayne St.Clair makes his first CANMNT appearance. 🍁#WCQ pic.twitter.com/Bt3gG5rQEP
— Canada Soccer (@CanadaSoccerEN) June 5, 2021
When it comes to the senior national team, St. Clair is still a newbie. He has only played two games for the national team. His first game was when Canada won 7-0 over Aruba on June 5, 2021. He also recently played for the national team in a 2-2 draw against Bahrain as one of the preparation matches for the 2022 FIFA World Cup late last year. Saying that he was part of the CanMNT 2022 FIFA World Cup roster in Qatar.
This is what the current Minnesota United FC head coach, Adrian Heath said of St. Clair and his play with Minnesota (source: Pierre Noujaim and Jared Goyette of Fox Sports):
“He’s just starting out because the sky’s the limit today because there’s so much more growth, not only personally but physically, mentally as well,” he said.
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The article also noted St. Clair’s athleticism and long length as big strengths for him as a player and as a goalkeeper.
This is what Herdman said about the lack of experience of both St. Clair and James Pantemis, but talked about what both goalkeepers bring to the national team:
“I think it’s always a concern when the experience isn’t there,” said Herdman. “But when I look at Dayne St. Clair, James Pantemis, they’ve been with the team through a lot of these experiences. They’ve bought into the culture. They understand what it means to represent this new Canada (team). And they’ve earned the right to be here as well.
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St. Clair will be a valuable player for the CanMNT in the future. It is unclear whether he will get the start or Borjan will on the game on Tuesday. However, what is clear is that he has a great future.
The game on Tuesday will take place at 8:00 p.m. ET at BMO Field. If St. Clair gets the go-ahead to play, he will be playing in his hometown. With Borjan playing in the win over Curaçao on Saturday, while not definite, it definitely seems likely. That game will be shown live on OneSoccer and Telus.
Photo Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports on November 27, 2022, of Dayne St. Clair’s Headshot.