Canada’s National Men’s Team added an important element to their offensive depth as England junior international Ike Ugbo signed up for the Reds.
Ugbo was born in London, England to Nigerian parents and played youth football in Brampton East SC and Woodbridge Strikers. He then returned to England where he joined the Chelsea U-10 team. He broke onto the professional scene in 2015, but never had the chance to feature in Chelsea’s first team.
Ugbo has been on loan to numerous lower league teams in England including Barnsley, MK Dons and Scunthorpe United before leading Roda JC in the Netherlands and then to Cercle de Bruges in the Belgian first division, the Jupiler Pro League in 2020.
He made 34 appearances in total for Cercle Brugge and scored 17 goals. This campaign has earned him a permanent transfer to one of the biggest clubs in Belgium, KRC Genk.
As for the international game, Ugbo has never represented the England men’s national team – he only played for their U-17 and U-20 teams.
Ugbo joins a young and energetic national team and will play some of the best players Canada has to offer, including Alphonso Davies, Jonathan David and Tajon Buchanan.
“This is great news for the Canadian men’s soccer team program and for the country as he is another top young player with his best football years ahead of him,” said John Herdman, head coach of Canada’s National Men’s Team in a press release.
Ugbo is also the latest player to change allegiance to represent Canada at the international level. Other names like Stephen Eustáquio, Theo Corbeanu and David Wotherspoon have made the switch over the past three years.
For the next round of the CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers, Canada will play in Edmonton, Alta., Against Costa Rica on November 12 and against Mexico on November 16.