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“A lot of emotions” for Whitecaps FC’s Kendall Waston on World Cup call-up

For Vancouver Whitecaps FC defender Kendall Waston, the announcement on Monday that he was named to Costa Rica’s World Cup roster brought about a range of emotions.

“It’s a huge accomplishment,” Waston said. “I think I feel very happy, very proud, a lot of emotions going on at this moment because in my mind I remember four years ago it was a different feeling.”

Four years after not being selected, the 30-year-old was pretty much a lock to be called in for the World Cup squad, especially after being a regular starter throughout qualification and scoring the late equalizer against Honduras to help Costa Rica secure a second consecutive and fifth overall World Cup berth.

The only surprise on the day was that he got to find out after training with his teammates and share the moment with his family on the training pitch.

“For me it was a great surprise. I didn’t expect my family here,” Waston said. “I’m really thankful for the club because they always do things special for the players and this was one of them. My family is very important for me, obviously, and without my family, without my teammates, my coaches, I think this wouldn’t be possible.”

Waston is one of six MLS-based players on the Ticos roster, including the New York City FC duo of Ronald Matarrita and Rodney Wallace, Minnesota United FC defender Francisco Calvo, Portland Timbers midfielder David Guzman and LAFC forward Marco Ureña.

“I think MLS has helped us develop our football,” Waston said. “I think that as soon as we come here we have to increase our potentials because we have different types of players and the way the tournament is, you have to grow and grow because if you don’t you’re going back home. I think it helped us a lot and obviously we show it on the national team.”

Costa Rica will face Northern Ireland, England and Belgium in friendlies leading up to the World Cup and open Group E play against Serbia on June 17 before facing Brazil (June 22) and Switzerland (June 27).

“I think the first one has to be the most important one because if we win the first game, things kind of open because the second match is against Brazil,” Waston said. “It’s a tough one, but I think in the World Cup, no game is going to be easy.”

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