MONTREAL, Quebec – The Montreal Impact announced on Tuesday the signing of Quebec defender Karl W. Ouimette to a professional contract with the club, becoming the first ever player trained by the Academy (homegrown player) to officially join the first team in Major League Soccer. He also becomes the second Quebec-born player to join the team, after midfielder Patrice Bernier. As per MLS and club policy, details of the contract were not disclosed.
Karl W. Ouimette, who will turn 20 on June 18, joined the Impact in 2009 and was the U21 team captain since the start of the 2011 season.
With the Impact Academy, he played a total of 47 regular season games, all as a starter, for a total of 3,996 minutes. He also played 33 pre-season matches (2,285 minutes), for a total of 80 games and 6281 minutes. Over that span, he scored twice and added three assists in Canadian Soccer League action, as well as an additional two goals in exhibition play. In his first season in 2009, he helped lead the Trois-Rivières Attak to the championship.
The Terrebonne native has been training regularly with the first team for more than a year.
“I am extremely proud to have reached the goal I set for myself four years ago when I joined the Impact Academy,” said Karl W. Ouimette. “It’s extraordinary that I will have the chance to play professionally at home. The training I received from the technical staff at the Academy and the time spent with the pros has helped me become the player I am today. I’ve worked hard to get to where I am, but I realized that you have to be in the best conditions in order to reach the next level. I would like to thank the club for this chance and for continuing to believe in me.”
“The Academy is important for our club and the announcement today shows just that,” explained Impact president Joey Saputo. “We believe in our younger players and we have put everything in place to develop their skills and help them progress. The structure that we established a few years ago is starting to show results. In addition, I am pleased to see how this demonstrates that all of our players are important and feel a sense of belonging as a part of our club, from our young prospects to our pro player, which helps to build a club philosophy.”
“This is an important day in the short history of our club in MLS,” said sporting director Nick De Santis. “This is a clear and positive message to our Academy players, to all our technical staff and our supporters that the development of our local talent is important to us. I would like to congratulate Philippe Eullaffroy on the work he’s done with Karl. He has always been very professional and fully deserves this contract.”
“This announcement today is possible due to the club’s structure and a lot of work for Karl and the Academy’s technical staff. The key to success for all players in our Academy is hard work,” declared the Montreal Impact Academy’s director Philippe Eullaffroy. “Over the last few years, Karl worked on his weaknesses all while improving upon his strong points. The door to a professional career is now open to him. We are extremely happy, but a contract is not a full career. We will have a true sense of accomplishment once he becomes a regular in MLS. Karl now holds the keys in his hands to becoming a professional player.”
“Karl has a great competitive nature and courage for a young guy that’s come into our group,” said Impact head coach Jesse Marsch. “He’s fit into the group from the start in a good way. He is strong in the air and on the ball when he plays as a central defender. When he plays on the flanks, he’s still mobile enough to get forward and support the attack. His overall play has held up at a high level in training and in reserve league games when he’s played for us.”
Karl played his minor soccer in the Terrebonne region before joining Lanaudiere AAA (U14 and U15) and Laval (U16).
Recipient of a number of bursaries and awards, Karl W. Ouimette also won a gold medal at the Canada Games (Prince Edward Island) and earned a selection to the game’s all-star team in 2009.
KARL W. OUIMETTE
Weight: 175 lbs
Date of birth: June 18, 1992, Repentigny, Québec
Place of residence: Terrebonne, Québec
Former club: Developed by the club (Montreal Impact Academy)
Joined the first team: June 5, 2012