We tend to forget, but before the pandemic comes in to interrupt the season of the Impact, the guardian James Pantemis had to join the Valour CF of Winnipeg, the First canadian soccer league.
The loan was announced on march 6, and a week later, the sports world stopped.
Pantemis had time to go to spend a few days in the manitoba capital before other sectors of activity are also turned off.
He was finally able to go until Monday because he went to Winnipeg in the afternoon.
“I’m excited to start the season with them, he said during a video conference in the morning. I had a week with them in march before the pandemic arrives. This is an important week which has allowed me to meet my teammates and my coaches. “
The departure of the guardian montreal for the West makes sense since the Impact is going to take the leadership of Orlando Thursday to participate in the tournament of revival of the MLS.
Pantemis now hopes to have the chance to play much more than if he had remained with the Blue-white-black. It remains, however, take anything for granted just because it happens to a circuit whose level is higher.
“It is a year where I need to play matches, but this is not a guarantee that because I just got the Impact, I’m going to play. I have to have the competition and prove that I can be number one. “
The only snag is that the situation of the First canadian league has not yet been clarified.
“We don’t know necessarily if it will be a full season or reduced, but the plan is to go out there and play the games at the level that I know capable of achieving. “
A bit like the MLS, the PLC attempts to organize a tournament in a city that would host all the teams. It is particularly the question of Charlottetown,
in l’île-du-Prince-Édouard, and of Langford, in the suburbs of Victoria in British Columbia.
“We’re talking about a tournament in the month of August, but nothing is decided yet “, said Pantemis.
The guardian of 23 years, believes it is the best way to proceed.
“If I look at the MLS, I believe it is the safest way to proceed. I hope that we will find a common ground quickly. Either Prince Edward island or in Winnipeg, the important thing for me is to play. “
Optimize his time
Given the circumstances, Pantemis believes that it must optimize all the chances that present themselves to him.
“If the tournament is the only time where we will play games this season, and I’ll be ready. This is a big year for me. I have to prove my worth.
Anyway, his return to Winnipeg will at least allow him to be closer to those who form its team for the next few months even if it does not consider whether a second start with Valour, since the first has not worked.
“We had regular activities, we did special activities, and we shared. Here, you can see otherwise than by Zoom and there are players that I have not yet seen, and it will be good to have a face to face relationship and develop a chemistry on the field. “
To prove its value
Even if he is under contract with the Impact for 2018, James Pantemis still waiting to play his first game in Major League Soccer.
As we have seen in a friendly match in 2018 and in two meetings of the canadian championship last year, but not more.
“I don’t have the impression of not having made progress in the last few years. I was able to work on several things “, he assured.
Pantemis knows that some observers hold him in high esteem, but he prefers to remain cautious and manage expectations.
“People may say I’m a good prospect, but if I don’t prove on the field, it’s no use. “
No reason not to play, or if little, results in a certain amount of frustration.
“It is difficult for any player in my situation having difficulty of minutes.
“You train every day at a high level and this can be frustrating, but I can’t let it affect a situation that is not under my control. “
Besides, the young man is very down-to-earth and believes that it would not be to his advantage to lift the foot off the accelerator even if he does not get the playing time he wants.
“There may be injuries if I let myself go mentally for a week, it may harm me. “
If Pantemis is so eager to play a lot this year, this is in part because he wants to move up in the organization chart of the Impact, but also because he thinks of the Tokyo olympic Games, carried over to the next year.
Canada has not yet had time to compete in the qualifying tournament of CONCACAF, but Pantemis figure in the plans of Mauro Biello, the head of the team of under 23 years of age, who will try to get a ticket for the Games.
“Just because I have been selected for the final camp, that doesn’t mean that my place is guaranteed for next year “, warned Pantemis.
He admits to having experienced a great disappointment when the games have been postponed, but at least he knows that his last chance has not slipped between the fingers.
“It’s a little disappointing because it’s something you dream about growing up.
“Fortunately, they have changed the rules and the players who would have been in their final year of eligibility this year, like me, will be eligible if the Games are held next year. “