The new year has been a whirlwind of emotions for midfielder Ken Krolicki. After his fourth and last season at Michigan State University, where he started 20 games and was a vital part of the team’s midfield, Krolicki was selected in the third round, 53rd overall by the Montreal Impact at the MLS SuperDraft. He then joined the team directly in Miami for the first phase of training camp. After a month of hard work, the Impact’s new number 13 signed his first ever professional contract, with the Bleu-blanc-noir, on Wednesday.
“I had no idea where I was going, but I’m thankful I ended up here, in Montreal, and I’m ready to go,” said midfielder Ken Krolicki. “It’s overwhelming and surreal. I worked very hard and I believed in my ability, and the coaches valued my ability as well so I’m thankful for that. I’m ready to give everything I have for the club.”
Impressing the technical staff
The technical staff noticed Ken Krolicki during the 2018 MLS Combine, but instead opted to trade the team’s picks in the first round in exchange for allocation money. But when the third round came around and Ken was still available, the choice seemed clear.
“He’s a player who showed a lot of potential during the training camp, potential I had quickly noticed during the combines,” said Impact head coach Rémi Garde. “It’s surprising, I didn’t think he would be available after each team had selected twice. I was very happy to choose him, especially after we managed to do what we wanted to do in the first rounds. I can see by the way he applies himself, and through his professionalism during these three weeks, that this is someone who will be very useful during the season.”
Adapting to American soccer
Krolicki was born in Japan to an American father and a Japanese mother, moving to the United States when he was 15 years old, but he started playing soccer when he was four with his older brother.
“Coming to the States, I noticed it was more physical, and I learned that part of the game here,” said Krolicki. “A lot of what I know about soccer, I learned in Japan. That’s who I am as a player. I can do the team’s dirty work, but I also think I’m pretty technical.”
But it isn’t just his skill on the field that earned him an MLS contract. Like head coach Rémi Garde reiterated, Krolicki has a strong character, which he showed at camp, working as hard as he can and standing out in this professional squad.
“It’s all about having mental toughness,” added Krolicki. “If you don’t perform, you don’t play. You need to come in to practice every day and put in the work, that’s what I’ve learnt so far. It’ll be tough but I’m ready for the challenge. This is what I love to do. I challenge myself every day and in every part of my life. I think this is just a new challenge that will push me further in my career.”