CHEONAN, South Korea -- It’s been a season of little stability for Canadian and New York Red Bulls defender Karl Ouimette and that uncertainty looks set to continue into the offseason.
Ouimette, who started the season with the first team in New York, made seven appearances as New York struggled through some injuries but he couldn’t lock down a spot on the back line. He was eventually given minutes in USL with the Red Bulls II and then loaned to the Jacksonville Armada of the NASL in June.
“It’s been a bit crazy. There’s been a lot of switching, a lot of changes, different environments and getting used to new teams, new leagues,” said Ouimette after Canada trained on Thursday in advance of Friday’s friendly against South Korea (7 am ET; CanadaSoccer.com). “There’s been a bit of a learning curve in that sense. A bit of adaptation but it’s good. It just makes me open my eyes up to what else is happening in USA. I just have more knowledge about different leagues.”
Ouimette also caught the national spotlight when he was the victim of a vicious kick to the back by Romeo Parkes of the Pittsburgh Riverhounds in USL action.
Those physical setbacks as well as the constant state of flux in his playing situation have been character building lessons for the 24-year- old product of the Montreal Impact academy.
“It made me grow because mentally I had to be stronger, I had to keep on grinding,” he said. “You have to control what you can control. You have to play hard, do your best and after that, all the other decisions are not in your control, so you can’t beat yourself up on that.”
Ouimette heads into some more unknown territory as he’s in a contract option situation with New York. He admits he’s not sure where his future will lie. He’d hope to continue with the Red Bulls but is confident whatever happens is for the best.
Through all the changes in his career, Ouimette has continued to receive national team call-ups from former Canada head coach Benito Floro and now interim boss Michael Findlay. Ouimette hopes to add to his 17 caps when Canada plays South Korea on Friday.
“Soccer careers are up and down," he said. "You don’t know where you’ll be but with the national team you’ll have a certain base, a certain stability that’s good. This has been good. It’s been keeping my mind up during tough times.”