New York Red Bulls defender Karl Ouimette started for the Canadian national team in a 2-0 friendly loss to South Korea. The 24-year old played 62 minutes at right back before being replaced by Carl Haworth.
Ouimette has 17 career appearances with Canada, which is a nation that is still in transition. They were eliminated from 2018 World Cup qualifying in September after finishing in third place in their group behind Mexico and Honduras. Now their focus turns to the 2017 Gold Cup and preparing players for 2022 World Cup qualification. Ouimette is still young and should be a factor with his national team for years to come.
Ouimette spoke to MLSSoccer.com about his tumultuous season prior to the match.
"Soccer careers are up and down," he said. "You don't know where you'll be but with the national team you'll have a certain base, a certain stability that's good. This has been good. It's been keeping my mind up during tough times."
Despite playing in seven of the Red Bulls' first eight matches, Ouimette spent a large part of the season on loan with the Jacksonville Armada in the NASL. He made six appearances, but then Jacksonville fired their head coach. Ouimette played one solitary minute for the rest of the season, which is hardly the match experience one wants from a player on loan.
Ouimette has been with the Red Bulls for two years, but was unable to keep a spot in the center back rotation. It's unlikely that the team will protect him in the upcoming Expansion Draft, but perhaps he has shown enough potential to justify keeping him on the roster next season.