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Image: Courtesy Santo Coffee Co. 

VANCOUVER, B.C – It’s been an up and down season for Vancouver Whitecaps FC’s Fredy Montero. In 28 games this season, Montero has scored 6 goals, and added 2 assists. It’s a far cry from the 13 goals he scored with Vancouver in 2017. While Montero has struggled to find consistency on the pitch, he has found success away from the pitch.

Santo Coffee Co. opened it’s doors on Sunday, August 11, 2019 in Seattle’s, Roosevelt neighbourhood. Montero, his wife Alexis, are co-owners, along with Mikhail, and Jessica Ghyvoronsky.

“The grand opening, we had a lot of people,” Montero explained to Har Journalist following training in Vancouver. “We have social media, and thank god, I have good follower base in Seattle. They came up to check it out, from all over Washington,  Olympia, Bellingham, and they love it. New customers are showing up everyday, and we continue to serve coffee to the people that are coming daily. It’s a pleasure for us to serve them.”

As a native of Colombia, Montero and coffee go hand, in hand. He has always been a coffee enthusiast, but it wasn’t until his first tenure with Vancouver, that he and his wife had an inkling that opening up a coffee shop was what they wanted to do.

“We started going to different coffee shops,” Montero explained. “That’s where we got the idea. My wife and I have been coffee lovers since we were in Seattle. It’s been part of our lives having a break away from the kids at a coffee shop, and enjoying a good coffee.”

As someone who has spent his entire life, eating, sleeping, and breathing football all over the world, Montero needed to get an expert on board. Once the idea was born, he needed to find someone to help make his dream a reality.

“I don’t know everything, but that’s part of the thing,” Montero explained. “The manager (Mikhail Ghyvoronsky), is the barista, and our part owner. He was the one that was in town, searching for places, and trying to get a good deal. Financially we had the opportunity to get other people that came with my wife and I. It was a good way to start our first business. Sometimes you need people that know the path. We’re following those mentors. Thank god that everything is going well.”

The 32-year-old, Montero needed to find the best coffee beans. His background in his home country helped him find the best coffee beans on the planet. Colombian coffee roaster, Devoción was exactly what he was looking for.

“We are blessed enough to have mountains in Colombia, a different climate, and weather where the coffee can taste different. Yes, our coffee is one-hundred percent Colombian. We’re trying to get the best harvest in town. We’re working with one of the best roasters in the U.S.A – It takes ten days from the farmers to the roastery. They roast it, and within a week it’s in the coffee shop.

It’s the freshest coffee that you can find in the U.S.A.” Montero proudly said.

The hottest drink on the menu at Santo Coffee Co. coincides with the summer season.

“At the moment ice coffee, because of the weather,” Montero revealed. “We’re also selling a lot of panela latte, which is our signature latte. It’s originally from Colombia, it’s like a sugar cane. It’s like a brick, and then you melt it or grind it. It’s really sweet, it’s a different flavour. We are happy that people are accepting this new latte.”

The grind of traveling back and forth from Seattle during Whitecaps FC off-days hasn’t taken a toll on Montero. Santo Coffee Co. isn’t the only reason why Montero has been making the three-hour journey down Interstate-5.

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“I try to be a professional and travel when I can,” Montero explained. “My wife has been a huge help, sometimes she has to go. Also, the main reason we go a lot to Seattle is to attend our church. Our church is in Seattle, and we have a good relationship with all our friends there. We are always trying to make it, because for five years we were away in Portugal. It’s our responsibility that we have as Christians.”

As you might expect, Montero made sure to include the most important part of any coffee shop.

“Yeah, wifi. We have wifi.” Montero laughed.


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VANCOUVER – As early spring weather slowly moves over Vancouver, so does the March edition of Vancouver Whitecaps FC. The 0-2-0 Caps are looking for their first points of the 2019 MLS campaign as they head to BBVA Compass Stadium for a battle with the 1-0-1 Houston Dynamo on Saturday afternoon in Texas.

Fredy Montero, is back with Vancouver in his second go-around with Whitecaps FC. After departing following the 2017 season, it’s a whole new roster, culture, and coaching staff for Montero to get use to, and it’s taking time to get acclimated.

“It’s a new season, new objectives,” Montero told reporters following training on Wednesday. “I can say the difference now is a whole new team. It’s a new coaches mentality, with a different lineup. We start 4-3-3 every game, but mostly, the team mentality is about change. We’re pushing to win a championship. We have a group full of talent, and we can achieve it.”

The goal-starved Caps have scored just twice this season thanks to contributions from centre-backs Doneil Henry, and Érik Godoy in the home opener on March 2nd vs Minnesota United FC.

The 31-year-old Montero led Vancouver with 13 goals in 2017. In two full matches this season, Montero hasn’t hit the back of the net. Although fans might be clamouring for goals, Montero isn’t worried.

“(Laughs), It’s only two games,” Montero explained to Har Journalist. “I arrived two weeks ago, I’m still living at the hotel, so there is no pressure yet. Of course that’s what I came here for, to score goals, help the team, and young players reach the next level. I’m going to do everything in my power, work hard every day, every training session. When I get my first goal, keep pushing for the next one.”

Coach Marc Dos Santos has Vancouver playing a high-press, up-tempo, ball possession oriented style in a 4-3-3 formation. It’s a big risk, big reward type of football. Whitecaps FC have shown they can build from the back, but the finish in the final third is still to come.

As Montero looks to familiarize himself with his new teammates, he is finding himself playing further away from goal. An inform scorer is going to score most goals in front of goal. Anytime you see a striker playing further away, services questions come into play.

“In my season in 2017, I’m not that kind of player that stays only inside the box waiting for something to come up from the skies,” Montero explained. “I like to be in touch with the ball, at the moment, you’re right, I’m kind of far away from the box, where I am dangerous.”

“It’s mostly because I want to get to know my teammates, and be able to participate in the creation of the game, and score when I feel like we’re having more people, more bodies into the box. I want to be there to finalize the play.”

In 154 MLS regular season appearances, Montero has scored 60 goals and added 40 assists. He’s a proven MLS goal-scorer, and they don’t just grow on tress. Once he is able to build a foundation with his new wingers, and midfielders, the goals will pile up.

“Yeah that’s right, and that’s what we’re trying to build,” Montero echoed. “It’s going to take time, we lost two games, yes. I didn’t see that much difference between those teams that are together for one or two seasons or a team that is together for a month and a half. We’re in the right line, right way, keep working hard. (There’s) a lot of good talent here and I think I can give more to the team.”

When Montero is not looking to embarrass MLS goalkeepers, he and his wife, Alexis, have a very important up and coming business venture that they’re extremely proud of.

Colombia and coffee go hand in hand, and who better to open up a coffee shop in the Pacific Northwest than Colombia’s own, Fredy Montero. Santo Coffee Co. is slated to open later this year, in the Roosevelt neighbourhood of Seattle.

“My coffee shop is Santo Coffee, but it’s nothing to do with Marc Dos Santos,” Montero joked. “We’re excited to introduce it to the public. We came together with this dream, and the fact that I am from Colombia, the best coffee is from Colombia. We made it in Seattle, and that is the capital of coffee. In America, everybody knows that Seattle was the first Starbucks. We started construction, and hopefully in 7 – 8 weeks, we’re going to be opening.”

While Seattle is known as the caffeinated capital of North America, Vancouverites are known to settle for a coffee or two, or three. If Santo Coffee Co. is a success, there could be franchise expansion coming to a Vancouver neighbourhood near you.

“One step at a time. I would love to have one here,” Montero revealed. “However, we need to work on the concept there to make it successful. Of course if the opportunity is here, we want to open here.”

You can’t rush a great cup of coffee, and you can’t rush a top goal-scorer. Once that brew is ready, you’re set for the day. Once Montero starts to score, he has the ability to carry Whitecaps FC. The goals, and coffee are only a serviceable barista away.

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Vancouver Whitecaps FC striker, Fredy Montero in action vs Seattle Sounders FC on Sunday, October 29 at B.C. Place in Vancouver. Photo Credit: Will Hitchcock – Red Nation Online.