Some good news for four of the current Portland Timbers' squad as each will represent his country in upcoming international games. Even more important, three will represent their countries through FIFA World Cup Qualifying games. Not that representing your country for friendlies is bad, it's just that being called up for games that have a huge impact on whether or not you get to star in the world's largest soccer event is kind of a big deal.
Anyway, the players are:
Will Johnson will be the only player to not feature in a World Cup Qualifier. Instead, he'll be joining the Canadian national team in a pair of friendlies in the Middle East, the first on March 22nd against Japan and the second on March 25th against Belarus.
Ryan Johnson and Donovan Ricketts, of course, will be rejoining the Jamaican national team in the CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers. They'll play Panama on March 22nd followed by Costa Rica on March 26th. No doubt, both will feature prominently into the line up.
Finally, Futty Danso will join the Gambian national team in the African World Cup Qualifiers. He'll help The Gambia face off against the Ivory Coast on March 23rd. A very tough match, to say the least.
All four players are expected to return to normal club duties by March 27th.
What do you think about these four playing for their national team?
Full press release:
PORTLAND, Ore. - The Portland Timbers today announced that defender Futty Danso (The Gambia), forward Ryan Johnson (Jamaica), midfielder Will Johnson (Canada) and goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts (Jamaica) have been called up by their respective national teams for upcoming international competitions.
Danso has been called up by The Gambia National Team for a 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Ivory Coast on Saturday, March 23, at Stade Félix Houphouët-Boigny in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. He will join the team for a training camp in Niger prior to the match.
Ryan Johnson and Ricketts join the Jamaica National Team for 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers as the country continues the final round of CONCACAF qualification. The Reggae Boyz play host to Panama on Friday, March 22, at Independence Park in Kingston at 6:30 p.m. (Pacific). The team then travels to face Costa Rica on Tuesday, March 26, at Estadio Nacional in San José, Costa Rica, at 7 p.m. (Pacific).
Will Johnson joins the Canada National Team for a pair of friendlies in the Middle East, where they will play Japan on March 22 and Belarus on Thursday, March 25, at Khalifa Stadium in Doha, Qatar.
All four players will depart to join their national teams following Saturday's match at Seattle Sounders FC. Danso is scheduled to return to Portland on March 25, Will Johnson on March 26, and Ryan Johnson and Ricketts returning March 27.
Danso, 29, has seven caps and scored one goal for The Gambia National Team. He made his debut for the Scorpions on March 29, 2011, in a friendly against Equatorial Guinea. Danso, from Serekunda, The Gambia, has played in each of The Gambia's two previous 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, playing the full 90 in a 1-1 draw against Morocco on June 2, 2012, and a 2-1 loss to Tanzania on June 10, 2012.
Ryan Johnson, 28, has earned 24 caps and scored eight goals for the Jamaica National Team, making his international debut in 2006. Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Johnson has appeared in all seven of the Reggae Boyz's previous 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying matches, scoring a goal in a 2-1 win over Guatemala on June 8, 2012. He recently helped Jamaica earn a point on the road against Mexico in a scoreless draw Feb. 6.
Will Johnson, 26, has 31 caps with the Canada National Team. Born in Toronto, Ontario, Johnson made his senior international debut at the age of 18 in a 1-0 win over Luxembourg on Nov. 16, 2005. He earned seven caps in 2012, including five starts in 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers as Canada missed out on advancing to the final round of CONCACAF qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup by a single point. Johnson has also represented Canada at the U-19, U-20 and U-23 levels.
Ricketts, 35, has been a longtime member of the Jamaica National Team, earning 90 caps for the Reggae Boyz since making his team debut in 2000. The Montego Bay, Jamaica, native played in his second 2014 World Cup qualifier on Feb. 6, earning a shutout on the road against Mexico in a 0-0 draw. Ricketts has featured in Jamaica's qualifying bids for the 2002, 2006 and 2010 World Cups and was a member of the country's 1998 World Cup squad.