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Team Caleb with Toronto FC’s 6th overall selection Griffin Dorsey from Indiana University at the 2019 MLS SuperDraft in Chicago. Friday, January 11 – Photo: Har Journalist

CHICAGO – The picks are in and the first two rounds of the 2019 MLS SuperDraft are in the books. Toronto FC, Whitecaps FC and the Montreal Impact all added talented young players to their rosters, but it was Griffin Dorsey and Team Caleb that stole the show.

Toronto FC’s 6th overall selection gave them the highest pick among the Canadian trio. The Reds selected midfielder Griffin Dorsey from Indiana University.

The 19 year-old Dorsey, immediately showed his leadership, compassion, and character as he shared his special moment with his 8-year-old friend, Caleb from McCourtsville, Indiana.

Caleb is a devout Indiana Hoosier soccer fan who has faced a variety of challenging illnesses in his young life. He loves soccer, but isn’t able to play the sport. It was a no brainer that Dorsey wanted to invite his biggest fan to the MLS SuperDraft.

“I met him through IU,” Dorsey said of Caleb. “He started supporting us and we got him into the locker rooms and he moved our whole team. He moved me, and it’s an honour to be able to share this with him.”

“I think he wanted to be here, but I also wanted him to be here. It was an honour.”

“He’d come to all the home games. He ended up coming to the college cup in California, and he was with us all the way through the season. He was in the locker room, around the team. He was doing everything with us. It was awesome to have him around.”\

In Dorsey, Toronto FC is getting a footballer that is much more than the beautiful game. Dorsey cares, and he wants to use his abilities on and off the pitch to help others. The hard work begins now, and Dorsey will be ready to show Toronto FC what he can do.

“I can’t wait to get started, get to work, and meet the guys on the team that I’ve looked up to. I want to be a professional soccer player. Here we are living the dream, and I can’t wait to start the hard work.”

When the Colorado native does crack TFC’s lineup, you can be sure Caleb will be there supporting him just as he did during Dorsey’s time at Indiana.

“I would hope so,” Dorsey smiled. “I definitely hope he comes up for sure.”

Vancouver Whitecaps FC had a bit of a wait until they made their only selection of the day. The Caps selected  Georgetown University centre-back Brendan McDonough.

In 63 appearances and 52 starts for the Hoyas, McDonough contributed two goals and two assists in four years at Georgetown.

“Brendan is a centre-back that has a good margin to progress,” Whitecaps FC Coach Marc Dos Santos told reporters at the SuperDraft. “He’s a player that catched our eye when we were looking at the combine, and even before. He’s a centre-back that has the ability to play in back-four or a back-three. We like speaking with him to also learn about the person. He’s comfortable on the ball, he’s aggressive defensively, so we’re proud to have him.”

“We knew at the 35th pick, we had to pick the best player possible, and he was always number one for us in that type of round. We’re happy with that pick.”

The 22 year-old McDonough was not in attendance at the MLS SuperDraft. Whitecaps FC fans can expect to see him when training camp begins in Vancouver on Monday, January 21.

“He’s very happy to come to Vancouver” Dos Santos echoed.

Although Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal did not stock pile draft picks, it was a strong MLS SuperDraft for Canadian born players as three were chosen among the first 10-picks.

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FC Dallas 4th overall selection Callum Montgomery from the Victoria Highlanders at the 2019 MLS SuperDraft in Chicago on Friday, January 11 – Photo: Har Journalist

Victoria, B.C. native, Callum Montgomery was the highest Canadian selected. The former UNC-Charlotte centre-back went 4th overall to FC Dallas. After meeting with FC Dallas at the MLS combine. He had a bit of an inkling that Dallas might be his destination.

“I was a late bloomer,” Montgomery admitted. “My career developed at different times. I wasn’t part of Whitecaps residency program or their residency team. Growing up, I played for the Victoria Highlanders which was a great success and a great team. I had a wonderful experience with the Victoria Highlanders. I’m just really excited to be with FC Dallas and hopefully contribute.”

“I hear Dallas is a great city. New coach coming in. It’s an exciting time for the club. I think it’s going to be an unbelievable experience. They have some centre-backs I can learn from and grow my game every single day. That’s my mentality. I want to get better every single day. I’m really excited and just looking forward to the home opener.”

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The 2019 MLS SuperDraft in Chicago on Friday, January 11 – Photo: Har Journalist

In a year where we saw a Union dissolve all of their MLS SuperDraft picks, it just goes to show that the MLS SuperDraft is still an important day for the next generation of MLS footballers. You only have to see the generosity from Griffin Dorsey.

Notes: The Montreal Impact selected Maryland’s Amar Sejdic 34th overall. Toronto FC also took Adam Wilson 39th overall from the University of Louisville. Vancouver and Montreal did not make a first round MLS SuperDraft selection.

 

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Vancouver Canucks goaltender, Thatcher Demko at UBC on Monday, January 7, 2019. Photo: Har Journalist

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The UBC Thunderbirds hard at work at Father David Bauer Arena. December 7, 2018. Photo: Har Journalist

VANCOUVER, B.C – The UBC Thunderbirds are on a break as Canada West pauses for the month of December. UBC finished the first half of the season with a 10-3-3 record and third spot in the conference with 30 points. The Thunderbirds go into the break, winners in four of their last five games, out scoring opponents 10 – 4.

University hockey is a long grind, most would welcome some time away from the rink to close out the year, but what about UBC? It’s a lot easier to lose momentum then it is to build it back up again. UBC was on a roll. Offence was clicking, defence was on point, and goaltending was a sublime. However, injury recovery is key, and exams had to take focus.

“No, I think it comes at a good time,” UBC Thunderbirds Coach Graham Thomas explained. “This league is tight, and every team can win on any night. We need to get better during this break. We can’t not be afraid to fail, and wanting to go out there and make something happen. Let’s stay sharp, and keep working hard.”

Canada West goalkeepers will need to stay sharp in the second half. Especially with UBC leading goal-scorer, Hannah Clayton-Carroll hovering around the net. In 12 games, the fourth-year winger has racked up 6 goals, and 6 assists this season.

“I think a break at this time,” Clayton-Carroll said. “Blues are hitting, and I think we’re all ready for a little break. Get rested, getting away from the rink for a little bit, gets us all excited to try harder, and player harder. I think a break is going to be good for us, and hopefully we’ll come back harder in the new year.”

UBC is going to need all the rest they can get during the Christmas break, because the second half of the season is when contenders, and pretenders emerge. UBC returns to the rink with a pair of games vs Mount Royal on Friday, January 4 and Saturday, January 5 at Father David Bauer Arena.

January will also feature a pair of road trips to Alberta. UBC takes on the Alberta Pandas, and Calgary Dinos on back to back weekends. January concludes with a barn burner as the Saskatchewan Huskies visit UBC at Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre on January 25, and 26.

“Our hope is that the players come in fresh, and excited,” Thomas echoed. “It is the most exciting part of the season. It goes fast. We have 12 regular season games left, and then playoffs begin right away, and we need to be ready. Our hope is that we come in excited, and each individual is excited about the opportunity to make an impact in the second half. To not be afraid to fail, and not wanting to go out there and make something happen.”

Fifth year senior goalie, Amelia Boughn is all about taking a step back and enjoying every single moment. The Canada West season can fly by if you don’t take time to appreciate what’s happening around you. Boughn doesn’t want to miss anything.

The Toronto, native, has posted a 3-1-2 record with two shutouts, and a 1.50 goals against average this season.

“I think just really taking it day-to-day,” Boughn admitted. “One day at a time, having fun, getting the music pumping in practice, and doing some game like stuff. Keep the energy high, and keep the girls focused on getting ready, so when we get start-up after Christmas, we’re ready to go.”

How quickly UBC can get back into a winning rhythm will significant.

“Consistency, sticking to our playing style, playing hard always, is really big for us, and always giving it our all. Hopefully that will end on a good note,” Clayton-Carroll said.

If there is a reason why UBC could be sluggish to start the second half, you can chalk it up to Christmas treats, that we all know and love. Tis the season to indulge, but you still have to fit into your hockey gear on January 1.

“I’m probably a sweets guy,” Thomas revealed. “So are our players with little candies, and chocolates that are around. I’m not so much a baking guy. I kind of like the candies, and little treats.”

“Baking,” Clayton-Carroll chimed in. “I like sugar cookies, that’s my go to.”

There’s often a break in the action when a goalie might not have an increased work load. That’s perfect for Boughn, because she has a trove of Christmas decadents to enjoy.

“Oh, I have lots of favourite treats,” Boughn smiled, as she rattled off a list. “I’m a personal fan of Christmas cake, with a little bit of lemon sauce. My grandma also makes a mean lemon tart. I’m a fan of those as well, but chocolates always a good go to. Lots of treats.”

“I go home. I like to go to church with my grandma on Christmas Eve, and drive around looking at the lights. I like to eat lots of food on Christmas. Turkey, and stuff.”

The hustle and bustle of the Christmas season is upon us. It’s always important to spend time with family, and friends, while also giving back, and reflecting on the year that it’s been. 2019 is near, and soon the Thunderbirds will be raring to hit the ice.

VANCOUVER, B.C – Please visit Red Nation Online for my Vancouver Whitecaps FC offseason update.

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