Canadian soccer superstar Alphonso Davies will pull on the national colours for the first time in front of an Edmonton home crowd next month as the national team vies for a spot at the FIFA World Cup.
Commonwealth Stadium will host qualifiers against Costa Rica and Mexico on Nov. 12 and 16, respectively.
And while the team's manager, John Herdman, hopes the weather and turf will play into the home advantage, he says the crowd will be a crucial factor.
"We could create the conditions: cold environment, plastic fields, whatever — you know, what our Canadian kids have grown up with," Herdman said Tuesday.
"But without the fans that will mean nothing, it will mean absolutely nothing. And I'm just going to keep coming back to: the home advantage are the people. The people that come and support and grind it out with us."
During a news conference for the ticket date announcement, Davies expressed his excitement for his professional hometown debut in a pre-recorded video message.
"Can't wait to see all you guys there, can't wait to fill that stadium — and we're excited to show you guys what we have."
Tickets go on sale Friday with a special Thursday presale for Canada Soccer subscribers. Attendees will need to have proof of full vaccination or produce a negative COVID-19 test in keeping with the restriction exemption program.
The first and last time Canada played in a World Cup was in 1986.
After such a long absence from the world stage, Herdman said rebuilding the support and trust of fans takes time.
"If you haven't made it to a World Cup for 30-plus years, you know that that apathy is there," Herdman said.
"And any step forward, people are expecting two steps back. They expect you to fall over quickly and 'woe is me' and we've experienced some of that."
Herdman said consistency is key to get the trust of the fans — a consistency seen this season. Canada has so far remained undefeated in its qualifying matches.
Mexico is the only other team that can make that claim. The two last went head-to-head earlier this month in Mexico City, ending in a 1-1 tie.
Team Canada has eight more games to play, including those in Edmonton. The top three teams in the group — ranked by points garnered through wins, ties, and losses — will go to Qatar next year for the world cup.
Canada is now third in the CONCACAF group, behind Mexico and the United States.
Edmonton is bidding to host matches for the 2026 World Cup, which will be hosted in multiple cities across North America.