It's the Canada Day long weekend at long, long last, and the Canadian Premier League will be celebrating the big occasion with one final round of Spring season action on July 1 before resetting the table and kicking off the Fall portion of the 2019 campaign. In the spirit of our national celebrations this weekend, CanPL Editorial asked one Canadian player from each CPL team what being Canadian meant to them. Here's what they said:
Zachary Sukunda, HFX Wanderers FC

It's pretty sick being Canadian! Being in Canada, being Canadian, when you see what's going on around the world, to be in a country that feels secure and safe is a blessing. Being here, even if it's a bit cold sometimes, it's still the best country in the world, and it's where home is. I'm super happy to be living here again. The countries I've lived in were never super foreign – Australia and Sweden were also pretty safe – but the one thing about Canada is the friendliness of the people, the kindness. I can walk around in Halifax, any time, and it's always pleasant. Now that I'm back, I realize I missed being closer to my family, the language – I get to speak English and French, so that's amazing – and also, my teammates. We have a real team chemistry here, and that's part of Canadian culture. We have four guys from Trinidad, one from Germany, from France, from Peru and Colombia, from all over the world, and the fact is, we're just one unit. There's no groups, or cliques. It's one team. That's something we only get from Canada, because of our culture of being welcoming. It's nice to be on a team that's so friendly with each other.
Luca Gasparotto, York9 FC

It means a lot. I'm a very proud Canadian. I love this country, I'm glad to be back home. That was always my plan (to come back) and hopefully play in Canada one day. There's not a bad word to say about Canada and I'm very proud to be Canadian. I'm able to spend Canada Day here for once which is nice, I missed out on a whole lot so hopefully we get a win on Canada Day and then celebrate a bit after. My favourite thing about being Canadian? The people, how nice we are, the cities. We actually have four seasons which is nice, you can get prepared for that. The diversity and the respectfulness for the country as a whole. It's a great place to live, a great place to grow up, and to now be playing in. It's been fantastic.
Bruno Zebie, FC Edmonton

To me, it's about pride. I wasn't born here, but this country took me and my brother (Allan Zebie, of FC Edmonton) in, and we've called it home, so it means a lot. Honestly, the summers, I love exploring in Canada. I go to the mountains in Vancouver or in Alberta, so to be able to spend summers with my family and friends here is incredible. Allan and I have been in Edmonton for a long time now, 11 years now. One thing, for sure, I love, when I used to live in Quebec, is the poutine. It's a good dish, man! That's one thing I love about Canada. We don't have Canada Day traditions, but we always get together with friends and family, go get dinner, a couple of drinks, stuff like that. When (Allan and I) played for different teams, we've always been pretty competitive, a good rivalry, but (on Canada Day), there'd be a truce, and we enjoy the moment together.
Mason Trafford, Cavalry FC

That's an interesting question, one that you don't think about every day and now you ask me, it puts me on the spot a little bit but I think we have one of the most beautiful countries, physically. The places we have, whether it's the mountains or the oceans, it's a privilege to live here and the freedoms that we enjoy, everything, the diverse cultures. I always say because I've lived in the States as well, I always feel like when you come back to Canada it's almost like you're coming back to a warm place, in the sense that you feel secure and you're looked after ... not necessarily because of the weather (laughs). So for me, it's about that feeling, and I think other people envy that. It's a privilege to be a part of it.
Issey Nakajima-Farran, Pacific FC

Canada gave me another edge to myself in world soccer. I owe Canada so much for the opportunities they gave me with the national team, as I played my club game abroad. With that in mind, I feel like I owe Canadians so much, which is why I came back. Canada Day, I've always celebrated it and posted photos on my social media giving respect to Canada, no matter what country I was in! I've celebrated it all over the world. Canada Day means a lot to me. My favourite part about being Canadian – I guess it's not really a choice, is it, you're born into it – but it's all the good feedback toward Canadians. No matter where I went to around the globe, when people found out that I was Canadian, I got a big smile, 'Oh, nice!' Even though I'm mixed culture, my mother's Japanese, and I have a strange accent because I've travelled around so much, but when people find out I'm Canadian, I always get positive feedback. We're known as being very humble, kind, and respectable people, and I feel like the majority of the world feels that way about us, at least from the people I've met. I'm very proud to be a Canadian soccer player.
Chris Nanco, Forge FC

Being Canadian means being in one of the greatest, most multicultural countries in the world. We're friendly and outgoing. I've lived here all my life, so this is a very special place to me, and I hold it dear to my heart. I enjoy playing here a lot, because these are the guys I would play against when we were younger, from the ages of like, 6 to 18, before we all left for college or overseas. Now we're all back together, whether it's on the same team or against each other. It's great to see all these familiar faces. My favourite thing about being Canadian is how diverse the country is; no matter where you go in Canada, you'll see people from all over the world. That's a special thing. I like that, because I like learning about other cultures and making new friends. Being in Canada, you get all different types of food, too! For the past six years, I've been in America, so I'm looking forward to celebrating Canada Day with my family and friends again.
Michael Petrasso, Valour FC

Canada means a lot of me. My family was born here, and I grew up playing soccer here in Canada as a kid. When I moved abroad, I always wanted to represent and play for my country. That opportunity, to play in front of your friends and family at home, is one of the most amazing things a player can experience. Canada being where I'm from is such a big thing. It's such a beautiful country, and I'm so proud to represent it, playing here now, and playing for the national team. As a kid, I used to live near Canada's Wonderland in Ontario, so we'd watch the fireworks there (for Canada Day). We'd hang out with friends and enjoy that show. Now that I'm in Winnipeg, I hope the people here have an amazing day, and I hope we can get them three points to make the day even more special.

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