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Kentucky’s Irving called up by Canadian national soccer team

Kentucky goal tender Callum Irving on the home field in Lexington, Ky., on Aug. 20, 2015.
Kentucky goal tender Callum Irving on the home field in Lexington, Ky., on Aug. 20, 2015. Lexington Herald-Leader

Callum Irving is getting his shot.

Irving, a University of Kentucky senior goalkeeper from Vancouver, has earned his first call-up to the Canadian national soccer team.

The two-time All-American and Scholar All-American will be part of head coach Benito Floro’s 23-man squad that will play a friendly against Jurgen Klinsmann’s U.S. national team next week.

The Canadian team’s camp began this week as it prepared to play the United States on Feb. 5 at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. – outside Los Angeles. The match kicks off at 10:15 p.m. EST and will be televised nationally on FoxSports1.

“I’m extremely excited and grateful for the opportunity to represent my country,” Irving said in a UK news release. “I can't wait to get started.”

Irving came up through the Canadian youth soccer program before his arrival at UK in 2012.

Irving led the Wildcats to an undefeated run through the 2015 Conference USA season, which produced the team's first C-USA title. He conceded just one goal in eight league matches.

Irving finished his UK career with the program’s all-time records in shutouts (27) and goals-against average (minimum 2,500 minutes – 0.86).

“I love this place,” Irving said of his UK career. “I came in as a freshman and it didn't quite go exactly as I had planned. Everyone comes in with a thought of how they want it to go, and it went the exact opposite of that. The coaching staff had a lot of faith in me still, as well as my teammates.

“I kind of found my place here and found my home. Over the past three years, I can see where we built it from and see that I had an impact on it. I just feel really lucky to be here the past four years. I have enjoyed my time, and I think I will be following UK men’s soccer forever. It is my family now.”

In 2015, Irving was voted C-USA Player of the Year, Defensive MVP and was all-league first-team selection. He also won his second consecutive Golden Glove Award as the keeper with the most shutouts in C-USA play.