The suburb that powers Canadian football

Osorio, who has long known Larin and Doneil Henry, another Brampton player who did not make the World Cup list after suffering an injury in a reconnaissance game, said he and his friends all play soccer because it’s more accessible than hockey , Canada’s most popular sport.

“There was a point where I wanted to try hockey and baseball but my parents honestly wanted to do whatever they could to give me the opportunity but it would have been very, very difficult. he said. “Luckily for everyone, for her and for me, football was my passion anyway.”

While cricket is also popular in Brampton, football has a more formal developmental system. There are many public facilities where you can play soccer, including the multi-million dollar Save Max Sports Center, which has indoor and outdoor soccer fields. There is the Brampton Soccer Club, which is the largest local youth soccer league. There are other football academies and the nearby club scene – where Osorio has thrived – has exploded.

And there are also top high school programs like St. Edmund Campion, which has won the state title for Ontario five times since 2009, with Larin winning it three times in a row in that span. Highlighting the region’s strength, Spagnoli said nine of the last 10 provincial championships played (the pandemic has wiped out 2020 and 2021) have come from schools in Brampton or Mississauga, a neighboring city that’s slightly larger and also diverse.

“It’s interesting for me because of these six, seven players, the oldest is 39 years old,” said Osorio, adding later: “It’s no coincidence at this time. This is something that has bred over time. There have been so many talented players at Brampton for a while.”

Like his national teammates from Brampton, Osorio had to leave his homeland to turn pro. At 17, he went to Uruguay to train at Club Nacional, eventually ending up with Toronto FC in Major League Soccer, where he won a title in 2017.

When Osorio returns home, he sometimes visits his favorite restaurant, Tonino’s Pizzeria and Panini, where his autographed jersey hangs on the wall. He is close to his owner, Danny Caloiero, who sponsored one of Osorio’s youth teams and would take him, his teammates and their families out for pizza after practice or games. Osorio said what he enjoyed most was going from Italian food one night to Brampton’s many different cuisines another night.