Trials in professional sports are a stressful experience in and of themselves. Now, imagine joining a team that was once your rival. That happened to former Toronto FC player Daniel Lovitz twice this preseason alone.
After he spent some time in Wales with Vancouver Whitecaps FC in late January, Lovitz started training with the Montreal Impact on the morning of February 16. But despite his past as a Red, the Bleu-blanc-noir players and staff members greeted him with open arms, in a most “professional” way, Lovitz underlines. And so it was that 12 days later, this Tuesday morning, Lovitz put pen to paper, inking a one-season deal with a club option for two more with Montreal.
“I was always familiar with the team, but to get in there and get a hands-on experience, see how the ball moved and how guys moved, it kind of clicked right away and I understood my role,” Lovitz said. “It’s just about getting used to playing with certain players on the field and knowing when the ball’s coming and where to be. The guys were unbelievable in terms of welcoming me, making it easy for me and being communicative, letting me know where I should be. They appreciate what I do, and I appreciate what they do, and that’s awesome.”
Signed mainly as an option at left back, Lovitz has often operated in wide areas in midfield at the professional level. But his play in defence convinced the Montreal staff, and Lovitz is relishing the opportunity to prove his worth at full back – and to work with Ambroise Oyongo.
“The only thing that’s unusual for me in that position is the lack of game time there,” Lovitz said. “But every time I play it, I love it. I have a blast playing there. It suits me very well, and I’ll embrace and cherish the opportunity to put some time down there and have that be my craft that I can focus on and perfect. I’m looking forward to that more than anything.
“The opportunity here, with what other teams around the league are looking to do, was a pretty good fit,” Lovitz continued. “Ambroise is a phenomenal player, and I look forward to competing with him and learning from him as much as I can, making my own mark as well.”
After such a fine adaptation process to his new team, all that remains for Lovitz is to get familiar with another, greater, Canadian city.
“When I first got drafted to Toronto, I thought it was the North Pole! I didn’t really know what was going on. But it’s been great to tour Canada – not really in its entirety, but kind of touch all ends of it. I’m really looking forward to getting to know the city of Montreal.”