Being excluded from an international tournament could be the best thing to happen to Shamit Shome, if he plays it right.“I think I’m playing the most confident I have in a long time. It’s just getting a string of games together, putting in decent performances,” Shome, 21, said this week. “I’m just building on that and I still know there’s a lot that I have to do.”Montreal Impact fans should get accustomed to seeing Canadian midfielder Shamit Shome a little more in the coming weeks. With the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup on the horizon, the Impact will be without star midfielder Samuel Piette for much of June and possibly early July.
Impact’s Shamit Shome taps in a rebound past New England Revolution goalkeeper Cody Cropper on April 24, 2019, at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.
Stew Milne /
Shome, a native of Edmonton, anticipates more consistent playing time in the coming month.“It’s just about how I perform and how I do,” Shome said. “I think from that, the coach will decide. But (with) those guys leaving and the way I feel like I’m playing right now, if I can help the team as much as I can … then, sure, I can hopefully solidify my role.”Shome, who’s represented Canada at the under-20 and under-23 levels, was left off Team Canada manager John Herdman’s 40-man provisional roster for the Gold Cup tournament, which runs from June 15 to July 7 in the U.S., Costa Rica and Jamaica. The Canadian squad boasts four Impact players in Piette, defender Zachary Brault-Guillard, backup ‘keeper James Pantemis and striker Anthony Jackson-Hamel.“He was very near for that,” Impact manager Rémi Garde said of Shome. “I’m not the Canadian coach, but I know that he was very close (to earning a berth on Team Canada) and I think he deserves it.”Shome, who has a goal and an assist in 11 games, including eight starts, has seen more playing time with the Impact this season. He picked up his assist in Montreal’s 2-1 victory over Real Salt Lake Wednesday night.“I just want to help score goals and help the team in the attack. Defensively, I feel I’ve already been good at that since my time at FC Edmonton (in the Canadian Premier League),” he said.Shome’s parents emigrated to Canada from Bangladesh and enrolled him in soccer because they thought it was the easiest and safest sport for their child.“They thought hockey was too dangerous,” Shome said. “They thought football was too dangerous. They thought, you know, why not try soccer?”After playing youth soccer in the city and coming up through FC Edmonton’s academy, Shome enrolled at the University of Alberta to play for the Golden Bears in 2015. In his only season there, he was named Canada West Rookie of the Year after scoring six goals in 12 games.Shome then spent the next season with FC Edmonton’s senior team in the North American Soccer League before being drafted by Montreal in 2017. But once he joined the Impact as a 19-year-old, playing time was hard to come by.
Los Angeles FC forward Latif Blessing, right, and Montreal Impact midfielder Shamit Shome vie for the ball during the first half in Los Angeles on May 24, 2019.
Ringo H.W. Chiu /
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
He already had to adjust to living on his own in a new city, taking four to five classes a week in Concordia University’s electrical engineering program, and barely being able to cook.“It was pretty nerve racking,” Shome said. “When I first moved here it was, get the rice cooker, get some chicken, throw some salt and pepper on it. Make sure it was cooked, don’t get salmonella. That’s what my parents used to tell me.”To make matters worse, Montreal axed their reserve team, FC Montreal of the United Soccer League, one month before he joined the Impact. Instead of having Shome play consistently on a reserve team, he played only one game for the Impact in his rookie year.The youngster was supposed to be with the USL’s Ottawa Fury for the 2018 season, but the Impact called him back and he suited up for five games. Between games, Shome did his best to stay in shape by running and going to the gym.“It took me midway through (my first) season to be like, look, I’m not doing enough for myself,” Shome said. “When I look back on it, it’s paid off. Because I did that my first year, my second year, and I feel like now it’s paid off. Because I feel like I am strong enough to compete with these guys and win my duels.”“He’s someone who’s very focused,” Garde said. “Every day, he’ll come in the training session to learn. He’s made big improvements. … The challenge is to go and get a step higher than that, and to play regularly at this level.”If Shome continues to impress, he’ll probably see a lot more time on the pitch for Impact.Related