Kyle Hiebert’s call to the Canadian national team on Tuesday is the culmination of several years of effort away from the spotlight.
Like his team, St. Louis SC, the centre-back continues to be a surprise. The Missouri club became the first MLS expansion outfit to start their schedule with four wins and Hiebert was a key cog in that streak.
The Canadian’s progress has been unusual. He was initially passed over from the 2022 MLS Draft after six years in the American college system. Still, the 25-year-old has enjoyed strong success in the MLS Next Pro – MLS’s development league – and notably earned a spot in the All-Star XI. At the end of that campaign, he landed a two-year, one-year contract with the St. Louis first team.
“He’s a gem on and off the court. He gives everything, every day,” St. Louis SC head coach Bradley Carnell said of the Canadiens.
Good performances and possibly good words from Carnell have paid off and Canadian team manager John Herdman has decided to call up Hierbet for Canada’s upcoming matches in the coming days. Initially ignored, Hiebert will replace injured CF Montreal defender Kamal Miller.
Like his club, Hiebert defied the odds. He entered the training given the injury of Swede Joakim Nilsson and since then he feels he has everything to prove.
A sentiment the St. Louis driver shares as the club look to become just the second team since 2000 in MLS to start the season with five straight wins. St. Louis also came from behind in its first three games to win.
“The guys were mad from day one,” Cardell said. They saw that no one believed in them. We had something to prove. Now, we have shown that we don’t just have something to prove. You can compete, come from behind, control, dominate and execute. We showed an array of things in the little window the league saw. »
St. Louis has relied on two designated players who have delivered the goods so far, a former star goalie and a mix of players from all over.
Leading striker João Klauss stood out at the start of the season, having contributed a goal in each of the first four games. Only Thiago Almada, winner of the World Cup with Argentina, has also achieved the feat this season.
Klauss, fellow Designated Player Eduard Löwen and goalkeeper Roman Bürki have all been central to the success of the 29th MLS team. It was, however, the “cohesion” and “chemistry” that formed in the group that led to the club’s strong start.
CF Montreal centre-back Kamal Miller’s injury management may raise some eyebrows. The Canadian was withdrawn in the 72nd minute of the duel against Nasville SC on March 11 with a calf injury. The following week, CFM head coach Hernán Losada confirmed that Miller would miss his team’s next game against the Philadelphia Union. Eventually he found himself in the starting XI and played 80 minutes before being substituted. Meanwhile, Miller was selected by Team Canada for both international window games before being forfeited on Tuesday morning.