Vancouver Whitecaps’ captain Kendall Waston is set to represent his native Costa Rica at the 2018 FIFA World Cup this summer.
Costa Rica announced their official 23-man roster on Monday. Waston is set to leave the Whitecaps following their match on May 26 and join his national team in Russia.
“It is a dream come true,” the 30-year-old who grew up in the capital San Jose told Black Press Media.
Waston played a pivotal role for the country during the 2018 qualification for the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) with two goals in 13 caps.
He appeared in nine of Costa Rica’s 10 matches, along with his lone two goals in the fifth and final round. He scored a header in the 94th minute to tie Honduras 1-1 in October 2017, and clinched the World Cup berth.
🙌 ABSOLUTE SCENES! 🙌— Goal (@goal) October 8, 2017
Costa Rica's 94th minute equaliser against Honduras sends them to the World Cup! pic.twitter.com/BhGuVhsldh
“I am playing for my country,” Waston said. “[In Vancouver,] I play for my club. It is different things, but what does not change is that I always play 100 percent for both teams.”
At the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, Costa Rica placed first in Group D, which included Uruguay, Italy and England.
The country ended up placing the highest it ever has by advancing to the quarter-finals, though falling to the Netherlands in penalties.
Waston said he is unsure if Costa Rica can repeat their 2014 performance.
“We don’t know what we can do. We can try our best to get to that stage.”
The 2018 FIFA World Cup begins in Russia on June 14.
Costa Rica will face Serbia on June 17, Brazil on June 22 and Switzerland on June 27 as a member of Group E.
Asked if he was nervous to play second-ranked nation worldwide Brazil, Waston said: “No, it is nice. It is enjoyable.”