Alistair Johnston Sees His First Start, First Assist and First Goal for Canada
BRADENTON, Fla. - Alistair Johnston, drafted 11th overall in the 2020 MLS SuperDraft out of Wake Forest University, opened his account for Canada Soccer's Men's National Team by notching an assist and scoring his first international goal during the latest round of Concacaf FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Qualifiers.
Canada faced Bermuda on March 25 during a match in which Johnston received his first international cap as a sub on the 69th minute. Canada won the match 5-1.
Johnston then got his first start on March 29 in Canada's 11-0 victory over the Cayman Islands. One of those 11 goals came off of a curling shot from Johnston's left foot in the penalty area in the 44thminute.
"Getting that first start was something that I've been looking forward to," Johnston said. "It's something I've been dreaming about for the past couple decades, actually." According to Johnston, Canada Soccer's Men's National Team planned to put the region of Concacaf and the rest of the world "on notice." He feels they have done that.
Johnston said the past 12 months have felt like a whirlwind to him. "Life is a roller coaster, and there will be a lot of ups and downs. It seems like there have been a lot of ups over the past 12 months or so, even with the pandemic. I've been looking at it glass half-full, not glass half-empty. That mindset has been really working for me," he said.
Prior to his recent international appearances, Johnston had a standout rookie season as the right back claimed a prominent spot on Nashville SC's roster. He started 18 of 21 appearances across all competition for the Boys in Gold, including all three of Nashville SC's Audi MLS Cup Playoff matches.
While Johnston says he has always been someone with "long-term aspirations" like being called up by Canada Soccer, he tries to focus on the steps that he must take along the way. "When I got to Nashville, I focused on making this team, being a part of this 18, and then earning a starting spot," he said. "I just thought, if I focus on those things and work at those smaller goals, then Canada will come calling." He was right.
Johnston has already re-joined Nashville SC as the club continues its preseason training at the campus of IMG Academy ahead of the 2021 MLS season.
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