Gerba finds a home with national squad

Ali Gerba has always been a soccer nomad, looking for a home. He seems to have found it with the Canadian national team and hopes Toronto FC will be an equally comfortable fit.

Canada’s Ali Gerba

PHILADELPHIA — Ali Gerba has always been a soccer nomad, looking for a home. He seems to have found it with the Canadian national team and hopes Toronto FC will be an equally comfortable fit.

It’s been a long road getting there for the 27-year-old from Montreal.

He is Canada’s top gun at the Gold Cup with two goals in three games heading into Saturday’s quarter-final with Honduras (Rogers Sportsnet, 3 p.m.).

“He’s always been effective in the striking position,” interim coach Stephen Hart said. “He’s done it fairly consistently for Canada at the international level, and I think he’s playing with players who understand his strengths. We try to play to everybody’s strengths, and it’s worked out for him so far.”

Gerba appreciates that kind of insight and hopes his national team success can be recreated at the club level when he heads to Toronto after the CONCACAF championship.

“Hopefully things are going to turn my way,” he said. “Sooner or later I’m going to find a coach or a club who’s going to use me for my talents. And Stephen’s been showing that. He trusts me, he knows what my quality is and he’s asking for the guys to play on my qualities.”

That means avoiding long balls and getting the ball to him with short passes near the penalty area.

Gerba was drafted by the Miami Fusion in the second round in 2001 with the MLS team trading up to get him. Unable to crack the squad, he spent 2002 to 2005 with the Toronto Lynx, Montreal Impact and Pittsburgh Riverhounds before heading to Europe.

There he spent time with GIF Sundsvall and IFK Goteborg (Sweden), Odd Grenland B.K. (Norway), AC Horsens (Denmark), FC Ingolstadt (Germany) and MK Dons FC (England).

“I can’t really say what’s the best, what’s the worst because all those places, they brought something different to my game,” Gerba said. “At the end of the day, it’s just I didn’t stay long with any of them so I’m just looking to find my place to establish myself — like a home. All those places gave me great experience and people can see it on the field.”

In his third tournament, Gerba has a Canadian-record six career Gold Cup goals. Overall, he has 15 goals in 27 international matches, tied for fourth with Dwayne De Rosario. Only Alex Bunbury (16), John Catliff (18) and Dale Mitchell (19) have scored more for Canada.

Gerba has also been on a tear of late, with five goals in his last four international games.

“For a forward you always have ups and down,” he said. “You just have to learn how to keep your balance, to try to manage your form to the best. I think now I’m finding more form and I have more experience.”

Just Posted

Break-in at Red Deer business

Social media reports confirm a business break and enter in Red Deer… Continue reading

‘Rough waters’: Spill raises new questions about fast-growing N.L. oil industry

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Newfoundland and Labrador’s ambitious plans to dramatically expand… Continue reading

Trudeau rules out snap election call, national ballot slated for Oct. 21

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says there will be no early… Continue reading

Canadian firm says it has found largest diamond ever unearthed in North America

YELLOWKNIFE — A Canadian mining firm says it has unearthed the largest… Continue reading

Man from Olds killed in collision near Sundre

A 39-year-old man from Olds was killed in a collision near Sundre… Continue reading

WATCH: More than 100 protest UN migration pact, carbon tax in Red Deer

Chants of “Trudeau must go” echoed through the streets of downtown Red… Continue reading

Man who demolished landmark house ordered to build replica

SAN FRANCISCO — A man who illegally demolished a San Francisco house… Continue reading

Giuliani: ‘Over my dead body’ will Mueller interview Trump

WASHINGTON — With a number of probes moving closer to the Oval… Continue reading

Quebecers criticize western oil but buying more gasoline, SUVs, bigger homes: report

MONTREAL — Quebec’s premier is quick to reject “dirty” oil from Western… Continue reading

Speaker Geoff Regan opens the door to his apartment in Parliament

OTTAWA — One of the best-kept secrets inside the main building on… Continue reading

Baloo the cat is back at home after being mistakenly shipped to Montreal

HALIFAX — Much to the relief of his loving family, Baloo the… Continue reading

‘It’s what we do’: Famous Newfoundlanders help replace veteran’s stolen guitar

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Two famous Newfoundlanders stepped in to help an… Continue reading

Quebec’s anti-corruption unit blames media coverage for recruiting troubles

MONTREAL — Seven years after it was created, Quebec’s anti-corruption unit is… Continue reading

Former PQ cabinet minister poised to become next Bloc Quebecois leader

MONTREAL — It appears likely that Yves-Francois Blanchet, a former Parti Quebecois… Continue reading

Most Read