December was a rough month for Shavar Thomas.
Having been waived by Sporting Kansas City, the Jamaican international was among the players eligible for selection in the 2011 MLS Re-Entry Draft. But every MLS team passed on him and, all of a sudden, he was out of contract.
“I was in a situation where I just wasn’t playing last year [in Kansas City],” Thomas told MLSsoccer.com by phone following the Montreal Impact's 1-0 win over BK Häcken of Sweden this past Saturday. “I mean, I understand Kansas City’s decision not to pick up my option, we’re all professionals. It simply gave me a chance to showcase my talent elsewhere."
About five weeks later, that “elsewhere” turned out to be the Impact. The club, trying to build from the back and still in need of defenders, felt Thomas could bring quality and experience to the back line. The 31-year-old, in turn, was able to catch up with an old mate.
“[Head coach Jesse] Marsch and I were teammates at Chivas USA," Thomas said. "We had three wonderful years together there. He knows me, he knows my qualities, and now he’s my coach, giving me a shot to do my best for his team.”
The 31-year-old has not done much to disappoint his former captain during preseason. He has looked calm and collected at the back, while also contributing well to the transition from defense to attack.
His MLS experience will prove invaluable to Montreal both on and off the field as the club seeks to meld a competitive side from a collection of players who have only trained together a mere seven weeks before the club's debut match.
“I get along with everyone. We all come from different places,” Thomas recognized, “but football is a universal language. Within the team, we all speak it.”