TORONTO — Former Portugal under-21 midfielder Stephen Eustaquio has committed to play for Canada.
"I have big dreams when it comes to playing for Canada," the defensive midfielder said in a Canadian Soccer Association video.
The 22-year-old currently plays for Cruz Azul in Mexico but was hurt in his debut game and is not expected back until the end of the year.
Eustaquio, whose first name is pronounced Stefan, was born in Leamington, Ont., but moved to Portugal when he was 11. He attended a Canadian under-17 camp in 2012 when he was 15.
He started his senior career in the Portuguese third division with S.C.U. Torreense before working his way up with first Leixoes S.C., and then G.D. Chaves.
Canada coach John Herdman said he had been in discussions with Eustaquio for more than a year.
"I think it sends a massive message out again," said Herdman. "He could have stayed and been drafted into that Portugal men's national team at some stage. But he was excited about a journey, a journey of changing this country forever."
The Canadian Press