March 23, 2023
Richard Hastings, part of 2000 Gold Cup champions, enters Canada Soccer Hall of Fame

Richard Hastings, part of 2000 Gold Cup champions, enters Canada Soccer Hall of Fame

Richard Hastings thought he would take a Canada Soccer call with former teammates Paul Stalteri and Julian de Guzman to reminisce about the 2007 Gold Cup.

Instead, Hastings, who made that year’s Gold Cup best XI, lined up with Canada captain Atiba Hutchinson, coach John Herdman and former Canadian internationals Jason DeVos, Ian Hume and Craig Forrest.

It was Hutchinson who broke the news that Hastings was going into Canada’s Soccer Hall of Fame.

“Obviously I was surprised, but then once I found out what was going on, it started to sink in,” Hastings recalled. “It was a great feeling in terms of acceptance and recognition. Not just from the (Canadian Soccer) Association but from my peers … it was a really good feeling and obviously a proud moment.

Hastings and former defender Carmelina Moscato, who won 94 games and a bronze medal for Canada at the 2012 London Olympics, are the newest Hall of Fame inductees.

Hastings, 45, will be honored at the Canadian men’s CONCACAF Nations League match against Honduras on March 28 in Toronto. Moscato, 38, is shown before a future women’s national team match.

Primarily a defender, Hastings is remembered by many for the winning goal against mighty Mexico in the 2000 Gold Cup quarter-final in San Diego.

At the time, the Mexicans were ranked first in CONCACAF and 10th in the world. Canada was ranked 9th in the region and 85th in the world.

The Canadian men had won just three of their previous 22 meetings with Mexico (3-13-6) and had been outscored 52-14.

So the odds were stacked against Canada in 2000 at Qualcomm Stadium. It looked like business as usual when Ramon Ramirez put the Mexicans ahead in the 35th minute.

But in the 83rd minute, Carlo Corazzin deflected a cross into Martin Nash’s goal, and after 90 minutes of regulation, the game went to sudden death.

The winning goal came after Canada saved a Mexican corner. The Canadians quickly withdrew and went on the counterattack. With three speedy teammates to choose from, Nash found Hastings – far to his left – with a perfect floating pass that took three Mexican defenders out of the game.

The ball reached Hastings outside the penalty box. He used his right thigh to deflect the ball in front of him. When he caught the ball, he slotted it past goalkeeper Oscar Perez.

Canada defeated Trinidad and Tobago 1-0 in the Gold Cup semi-final and Colombia 2-0 in the final to complete an improbable series that required a toss against South Korea to reach the knockout rounds. .

Hastings was named the tournament’s MVP. Corazzin earned top scorer honors, deVos the Fair Play Award and Forrest was named tournament MVP.

Hastings, 22, came off the bench in Canada’s tournament opener against Costa Rica in place of injured defender Paul Fenwick. Canada coach Holger Osieck threw Hastings a curveball before the next game.

“He said I’d start, and I was happy. But then he said I’d play center midfield,” Hastings recalled. “I was surprised. I had to explain to him. I said, ‘That’s great Holger. Do you realize you’ve never played center mid before?’ And he went, ‘Ah, you’ll be fine.’

“He had faith in me, what he saw in me … for the tournament to go the way it did, I never would have dreamed it would,” Hastings added.

He played the remainder of the tournament in Osik’s 3-5-2 formation in a Gold Cup squad that has since been recognized as Canada’s standout soccer team.

It’s a lesson Hastings has taken into his own management, empowering players to “go and do a job they didn’t think they could do.”

As proud as he is of his highlight-reel strike against Mexico, the only goal of his senior international career, Hastings is proud of winning 59 caps (including 54 starts) from 1998 to 2010.

At club level, he spent most of his career with Inverness Caledonian Thistle but also played elsewhere in Scotland for Ross County, Hamilton Academicals and Brora Rangers, Grazer AK in Austria and MVV Maastricht in the Netherlands.

He retired in 2013.

Most recently Hastings managed Inverurie Loco Works FC from Inverurie in the Highland League which were relegated at the end of January. He had taken over the semi-pro club in the summer of 2021.

He previously coached Inverness under-17s and Ross County’s academy and under-18s.

Hastings arrived in the 2000 Gold Cup on the back of helping Inverness beat Celtic 3–1 in the third round of the Scottish Cup at Celtic Park.

It gave birth to the famous Scottish Sun headline “Super Cali Go Ballistic, Celtic Inhuman”, a tribute to the earlier Liverpool Echo headline reporting of an exhibition performance by Ian Callaghan for Liverpool in the 1970s against Queens Park Rangers – “ Super Cali Ballistic, QPR Atrocious.”

Born to English-born parents in Prince George, BC, Hastings was seven when the family returned to England and 12 when they immigrated to Scotland.

Now a father-of-three with two boys playing youth-level football at local clubs, Hastings spent a few years in Canada after retiring as a player, making his home in Inverness before returning to Scotland.

He has been impressed with the current Canadian squad from afar.

“I think it opens the door for a lot more young Canadian players to come (to Europe). Because now the Canadians are taking their showing at the World Cup a little more seriously,” he said. “I see that as a big takeaway.”

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