Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canadian International Julian De Guzman Puts Family First over Soccer This Summer

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canadian International Julian De Guzman Puts Family First over Soccer This Summer

Article excerpt

De Guzman puts family first over soccer

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ALLISTON, Ont. - Veteran Canadian international Julian de Guzman put soccer on hold this summer to focus on family.

The 33-year-old midfielder, who has won 71 caps for Canada, finished out the 2013-14 season with Greece's Skoda Xanthi. Then he stowed his football boots.

"For the first time in 17 years in my career, I finally put somebody or something before football. That was my kids," he said. "I haven't spent a lot of time with them, especially during my career, with all the travel and playing abroad. But I made a promise to them."

His children -- daughter Liya Sade is 9 and son Julian Bobby is 6 -- live with their mother in Saarbrucken, Germany.

De Guzman's career has taken him to Germany (FC Saarbrucken and Hannover 96), Spain (Deportivo la Coruna), Major League Soccer (FC Dallas and Toronto) and most recently Germany (Jahn Regensburg) and Greece.

The farther from Germany, the less he was able to see family. But he did his best to make up for it this summer.

After finishing out the season in Greece, de Guzman flew to Brazil for 2 1/2 weeks, watching younger brother Jonathan play for the Netherlands in the World Cup. Jonathan, Toronto-born like his brother, earned his Dutch citizenship with his time as Feyenoord but now plays for Napoli in Italy.

After the tournament, the two brothers and their kids holidayed with the grandparents in Ibiza, Spain. Then de Guzman brought his kids back to Canada.

"Their dream land is Canada or Toronto," he said after a Canada practice at the team's training home north of Toronto. "So I promised them I would bring them there and spent about a month in Toronto. Got to enjoy their time with the family there, as well. Now that they start school, I could put football back as No. 1 priority.

"After that experience with the kids, I definitely feel refreshed, ready to go again. …

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