MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif. – Every year at the adidas MLS Player Combine, one of the biggest questions teams have about any prospective player is how he’ll deal with the mental adjustment to the professional game.
On the field considerations are naturally given precedence, but whether a team thinks a player is capable of maintaining the dedication required to become a consistent pro greatly impacts every SuperDraft.
In many cases, it’s hard for teams to project how players will transition from the short college season to the lengthy MLS campaign. There’s no such uncertainty with Generation adidas Canada signing Shamit Shome.
Unlike nearly all of his peers at the MLS Combine, Shome already has a full pro season under his belt. The 19-year-old central midfielder played the 2016 season with his hometown club FC Edmonton, appearing in 26 games – 18 of which were starts – as the Eddies finished third in the combined NASL standings in 2016.
Shome balanced his time with Edmonton with studies at the University of Alberta, where he played in the fall of 2015 before signing with Edmonton last February. He remained a full-time student at the University of Alberta during his rookie year, balancing the NASL schedule with his pursuit of an electrical engineering degree.
He knows the rigors of being a pro, and the attendant responsibilities that come with playing 20-plus matches against older, more experienced players.
“The main thing I learned is don’t take anything for granted,” Shome told MLSsoccer.com on Monday. “Especially with the starts that I started getting, it was all about consistency. I think that’s why I started playing more and more – because I started playing at a consistent level. And so that kind of came from staying dedicated in training, working hard, keeping myself hydrated and eating well. That’s something I’ve really got to carry over to MLS, hopefully, is just maintaining that professionalism.”
One of two signings in the inaugural class of Generation adidas Canada players, Shome’s deal with the league materialized quickly. He knew he was on the league’s radar after MLS announced the GA Canada program in November, but only had his contract – which reportedly included a transfer fee paid by the league to FC Edmonton – finalized in the days before the Combine.
His Team Chaos had a rough outing on Day 1 of the Combine on Sunday, but Shome showed decently well in his spot in the central midfield in their 3-1 loss to Team Control. The box-to-box midfielder, who is hoping to continue his studies online or at a local university in 2017, was hoping for a better outing on Day 2 on Tuesday, when Chaos was to take on Team Copa at StubHub Center.
For now, the Canadian Under-20 international – who won’t take up an international slot in MLS, even if he’s picked by an American team – is projected by some as a first-round selection in Friday’s SuperDraft. Some scouts have questions about his ceiling, but his year of experience, GA status and cerebral nature should help him on Friday.
“Just having the opportunity to push myself to the next level at such a young age, at 19, it’s good for me,” he said. “Moving to the next level and looking to play in the first division, in MLS, and getting some games in that was the main motivation for me.”