Josh Simpson figures every trans-Atlantic trip takes him 24 hours door-to-door.
Then there’s the jet lag.
But Simpson accepts — although not always enthusiastically — the long travel that comes with being a key cog in Canada’s quest for a World Cup berth, and a starting midfielder with Turkish side Manisaspor.
“That’s a real blow, to be honest, it’s very difficult,” Simpson said of the time he and most of his Canadian teammates spend criss-crossing the globe.
“The (Canadian Soccer Association) has done well and booked us good flights in business class, the idea is to get some sleep on the plane, but it’s still very difficult.”
Simpson scored twice in Canada’s 4-1 victory over St. Lucia on Sept. 2 at Toronto’s BMO Field, and then played in Canada’s 3-0 win at Puerto Rico four days later.
He boarded a flight back to Turkey the next day and three days later scored the late equalizer for Manisaspor in a 1-1 tie with Trabzonspor in the club’s opening match of the Turkish Super Lig season.
“It actually never gets easier as many times as I do it,” Simpson said on a conference call before practice Thursday. “Then of course you’ve got to talk about the jet lag, which is even more difficult. For a week after, you’re not sleeping until 4 in the morning and then you want to sleep until 3 in the afternoon.
“It’s never going to be easy but it’s part of the job.”
The match-fixing scandal that left a cloud over the Turkish league has also made this season’s schedule even more hectic for Simpson. The start was delayed several weeks, meaning games have been crammed into a shorter season.
Simpson’s schedule for the next week alone: three games in eight days starting Saturday — all requiring flights.
The 28-year-old from Victoria will be back on this side of the ocean in a couple of weeks when the Canadians regroup for their next two qualifiers, Oct. 7 at St. Lucia and Oct. 11 against Puerto Rico in Toronto.
The Canadians sit atop Group D with their two victories. They looked shaky for stretches in both games, however, and Simpson vows the team will be more settled the next time it steps on the field.
“I’ve had a lot of games in the last three or four months with the national team, and I’m feeling every time I come in a little bit better and I think most of the guys would say the same thing,” Simpson said.
“So we’re going to be a little bit more dangerous and I’d like to be personally a lot more dangerous in the next couple of games in October.”
Canadian left-back Mike Klukowski joined Simpson — who plays on the left wing — at Manisaspor this season and Simpson said he and both the Canadian and Turkish sides are benefiting from the partnership.
“It’s been absolutely optimal,” Simpson said. “First of all to have a friend here, a Canadian guy, has been outstanding, but of course to be able to communicate so openly with a guy that I’ve been playing with anyways for 10 years, it’s going to be a really big help for both of us.
“I think both of us are pretty happy with the way that worked out.”
Simpson spotted a big Maple Leaf draped over one section of the stadium in Manisaspor’s season opener.
“I’ve been here for two years, and I’ve had a really good time here,” he said. “Slowly (the fans) are taking to us. That’s the first time I’ve seen the Canadian flag out there so it was pretty cool.”