How Owen Hargreaves competed for England at the World Cup
Calgary-born midfielder's ancestry and on-field talents landed him a spot on English team
How exactly did a kid from Calgary end up playing for England at the World Cup?
For starters, he was pretty good at soccer, obviously.
As a teenager, Hargreaves moved to Europe to pursue a soccer career after signing with Bayern Munich. He then came up through that team's development system.
'Surprised that I'm here'
But being a highly talented soccer player wasn't solely what got his name on the back of a Team England soccer jersey — it was his ancestry that made that possible.
Hargreaves had a Welsh mother and an English father. He was thus eligible to play for England, even though he was born in Calgary.
"I never really suspected I would end up playing for England one day," Hargreaves said in 2001, when speaking about his improbable path to the national team of a country he was not born in.
"Once I got the opportunity ... I couldn't really turn it down," he added. "So, I'm surprised that I'm here and I'm happy that I'm here."
Talent spotted as teen
In 2001, Hargreaves, joined England's national men's team, and as this clip from The National shows, the soccer fans on that side of the Atlantic didn't initially know much about his Canadian roots — they cared only that he qualified to play for their team.
The year he joined the squad was not a World Cup year, but he would remain a part of that team as it played in the World Cup in 2002. In 2006, his performance in that World Cup led to him being named England's player of the year.
And while some Canadians were disappointed to see him playing for another country, it wasn't as if there was a World Cup-bound Canadian squad he could otherwise play for in 2002 and 2006.
Plus, lots of Canadians were just as thrilled to see a Canadian competing in soccer's biggest tournament.
Outside of his World Cup career, Hargreaves would play for a handful of European soccer clubs including Bayern Munich, Manchester United and Manchester City.
He was part of two teams that won the Champions League — Bayern Munich in 2001 and Manchester United in 2008.
He battled difficult injuries during the latter part of his career and last played in 2012. Hargreaves has since worked as a TV sports commentator.