Montreal Impact midfielder Shamit Shome, of Edmonton, has restricted himself to the occasional walk or run during COVID-19 crisis. (Photo By THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Montreal Impact midfielder Shamit Shome making most of time alone

Montreal Impact midfielder Shamit Shome has been making the most of his time while hunkered at home.

When not reaching out to friends and family, the 22-year-old from Edmonton has been working out and hitting the books. Shome is in his last semester of an electrical engineering degree.

“The days are a bit longer than normal, it seems. But it’s been all right,” said Shome. “It’s just about finding different things to do, keep yourself busy — also enjoying just being alone and self-isolating.”

Shome says he is taking the extra time on his hands to reach out to those close to him. That includes his teammates, via group chats.

Thanks to the Impact, he has a stationary bike at his home and a workout regimen.

Aside from the odd trip for groceries, Shome has restricted himself to the occasional walk or run.

“It’s just sticking to the (government) procedures … and stay at home as much as possible,” he said.

Shome initially attended the University of Alberta but has since switched to Concordia.

“It’s pretty busy,” he said of his studies. “That’s why it’s kind of funny with this whole self-isolation thing I’ve had some time to catch on my work that I was falling a bit behind on with the season and long pre-season and whatnot.”

It’s not all work. He has spent some time in front of his video game console, playing with friends.

Montreal took Shome in the second round (41st overall) of the 2017 MLS SuperDraft.

Major League Soccer had bought Shome from FC Edmonton — then part of the NASL — and made the 19-year-old one-half of its inaugural Generation Adidas Canada class, signing the youth international to a contract that doesn’t count against the Impact’s salary cap.

Shome, a nominee for Canadian under-20 player of the year, saw plenty of action for the Eddies in 2016. He logged 1,729 minutes in 29 appearances in all competitions.

A lot has happened since he first put on the Impact jersey on draft day in Los Angeles after being taken one spot after Adonijah Reid, the other Generation Adidas Canada player.

“It’s crazy. Time passes by very quickly for me,” Shome said. “I feel like the last two or three years have gone by very quick and all of a sudden it’s my fourth year.”

“I’m four years older now. When I look back at what I was back then and who I was back then, I think I’ve grown so much both as a person and as a player, so it’s pretty cool.”

Shome saw limited action with the Impact in 2017 and ‘18, appearing in just six regular-season games in total with two starts. But he had a breakthrough season last year, seeing action in 27 games including 18 starts.

He came into the draft with high expectations on his young shoulders and admits to having been a bit disappointed at not being taken higher. But with the benefit of some hindsight, he sees it differently now.

“It turned out to be a blessing in disguise, because Montreal has been amazing for me the past four years. The first two years were difficult but I kept working and I got my chance last year. Now I’ve got to do the same for this year.”

“It’s been great. I wouldn’t change anything, to be honest,” he added. “I’m really happy with how things have been going since I’ve come to Montreal.”

Shome was starved of game action early on because Montreal had shelved its reserve team. He was initially loaned to the Ottawa Fury for the 2018 season but was recalled.

He believes the hard work he put in during training the first two years paid off in 2019.

Shome is also enjoying playing under new manager Thierry Henry, whom he calls a “soccer legend.”

“He’s played at the highest level. He’s played with players that are unbelievable,” he said. “It’s been great. As a club, I think we’re very optimistic than whenever the season does come back, that we can get back into it and do well.”

Shome started both Impact games this season prior to the suspension of play. And he made his senior debut for Canada in January, winning a pair of caps in games against Barbados.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 31, 2020.

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