Moving away from home to a completely new continent is a hard task in itself, let alone playing soccer. Current FC Edmonton keeper has done exactly that and has come out with a whole lot more dignity and desire to make it as a number one at FC Edmonton. The Canadian stopper stopped by to chat about his stint in Europe as well as his unconditional love and affection for those closest to him. www.soccernightexclusive.wordpress.com

For the British readers. What type of player would you say you are, strengths ?

I would say, check me out, watch one of my games or YouTube videos and you tell me what I can work and improve on. But if I had to say something I would say, I’m a player who is heavily influenced by the South American style of play well with my feet.

What age and how did you get into playing soccer ?

I started at 4 years old. My parents decided to throw me in at a young age (where my Dad eventually became my coach) and I haven’t stopped playing since.

Have you always wanted to become a soccer player ?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to become a professional footballer.

During your growing up stages as a soccer player, have you always wanted to become a goalkeeper ?

I enjoyed playing in every position, I just always wanted to be on the field. So one day our keeper didn’t show up and I volunteered to jump in. Having already had a bit of experience playing in goal, I felt the most comfortable out of everyone in that position. I found myself pretty good at it so the decision was made to continue to play in goal and to only play as a field player every so often.

Who has been your inspiration so far during your career ?

Everyone that knows me knows I’m very close to my family and close friends. They have been my inspiration throughout my career so far and I’m sure they always will be.

You began your career at Toronto FC. How did it feel being given an opportunity by such a big organisation ?

It was something I dreamt of. To have the opportunity to play in front of 20,000 screaming supporters in my home town was a feeling that will never be forgotten. To have had my family there with me was truly special.

Not long after signing for Toronto FC you made two consecutive appearances. During those games what did you learn?

I was humbled. I realized it takes work to be a professional, but even more so to be a winner! I played well, considering, in both games but we still lost. It taught me that to lose after putting so much effort is not a good feeling, therefore teaching me success does take a lot.

When you made you debut, you achieved the honour of becoming the youngest goalkeeper to play in the MLS (aged 18). What did you do beforehand to ensure the opportunity wasn’t going to pass you by ?

I just worked hard every day in hopes I’d get the opportunity to play, everything else was a bonus. Prior to the game I had no idea that I was about to break a record.

What was it like playing against Aston Villa during their pre-season tour ?

I think the fact that it was my first professional game in front of 20,000 of the best supporters in the league, was enough to get me nervous. The fact it was Aston Villa (a team from the EPL with good players) was cool but definitely not what I was focused on, I just wanted to perform well and make my family proud.

Prior to your move to Finland you had a trial at Lillestrom. Did you always have a desire to play in Europe ?

Always. Growing up in Canada as a footballer, there wasn’t many options to play domestically and to be honest even the MLS wasn’t something I was always focused on. Simply because I didn’t know much about it. So as a kid I always watched European football and I knew that I wanted to be the guy on that screen.

How quickly did you settle into your new life in Finland ?

Not very quickly. Every footballer moving far away from home will tell you it’s never easy  (but definitely worth it). I was much less experienced then and with that came lack of maturity, which made it difficult to adjust to the change of culture and change of scenery.

What would you say are the similarities and differences between both MLS and the Finish league ?

Both leagues are keen to develop young talent, they are leagues in which players go to in hopes for a bigger move (usually). The style of play is similar in the sense that it’s very physical and demands athleticism.

Moving to FC Inter Turku, What personal goals did you set for yourself to achieve ?

I wanted to earn a regular spot on the starting 11. At the time I wanted to prove to not only myself but Toronto FC as an organization that I was worth keeping around. Fortunately I feel I did well having left Finland with a championship at a young age.

Playing 90 minutes in a cup for any young keepers is an honour. How would you sum up your performance during the 2-1 win over Tampere United ?

Calm. I think the experiences in the game’s leading up to the final taught me a lot. I remember conceding early on in the game and being upset but thinking to myself “It’s too early, we’re playing well…we are going to win”. Having the ability to stay calm and composed for the rest of the game was crucial. I didn’t look to make any spectacular saves or try and do too much and possibly make a mistake. Instead I kept my head and did everything I had to do to ensure we had the best chance of winning.

Gaining one medal in your professional career already is nice. Would you like to sample more moments like that and add to your collection ?

Definitely. It was something I was proud of accomplishing and hope to continue to do. I will be fighting for moments like that every day.

You also played in the Europa League for FC Inter Turku against Belgian side Genk. What highlights would you single out to be your favourite ?

I think with the exclusion of one play, I played well. It had been my first game back from an injury that had me out 6-8 weeks and despite that I was confident and very happy with my performance. Unfortunately all it takes is one mistake for a goalkeeper to get crucified and that’s what happened to me that night. Just how football is, especially as a keeper.

The season has been an up and down one for FC Edmonton. From a David Monsalve point of view, how do you feel the season has gone ?

The season was a disaster in all aspects. We didn’t do half as well as we expected, with the players that we had this past season we should have made a run for the finals. Personally I’m very disappointed in not having the opportunity to win my spot back in the starting 11, but again it comes with the position and often keepers are judged on one play.

Appearances have been limited for you between the sticks. How did you feel to be given the gloves against Vancouver Whitecaps in the Amway Canadian Championship ?

I felt great and up for the challenge. I felt it was my place to be in goal that night, it was a series I had learned from and hope to continue to make strides to be better than I was in those games.

If your chances of a regular first team spot continue to become rare . Would you consider moving on in search for more time as a number one ?

Every footballer wants to play and if they feel they aren’t developing I think it’s reasonable for them to move on. I hope next year I find myself in a much different position than I was this past season and help the club achieve success.

Having played for Canada at all levels, What are your targets now regarding the senior side ?

Like any footballer playing for their national team is an honour and something to strive towards. I will continue to work hard to play regularly for my club in hopes I get a call for the National team again.

Steven Hart is doing a great job in charge of the national team. How do you think Canada are progressing ?

I think Canada as a soccer nation has exploded in recent years and that’s huge for the progress towards our nation’s efforts to reach success at the international scale. I know that a lot more people pay attention to soccer now than 5 years ago and that’s credit to the Canadian MLS franchises. With that comes opportunity to develop local players to fill our national team with. Although Steven is doing a great job now I think it’ll be much easier to put out a world class squad on the field in the coming years.

Can they overcome the odds to qualify for the World Cup in 2014 ?

I think they will qualify. They have a great team, from the players to the staff.

For the British fans who are unfamiliar with the national set up. Who would you say are the stand out players currently ?

For years Julian De Guzman, Dwayne DeRosario, Atiba Hutchinson (to name a few) have been the players who have carried the program. Fortunately it’s becoming a lot harder to just mention those guys, as young players are playing well both with the national team as well as in their respective leagues.

Do you have ambitions to play back in the MLS ?

Id’ love to be back home playing for TFC one day. When or if the opportunity comes up again I’d definitely consider it without a doubt.

Where do you see your career in five years’ time ?

I’ve learned to take it one day at a time, one goal at a time. so for now I’m just looking to make a positive impact in the league next year.

What advice would you give to any youngster looking to follow in your footsteps ?

Work hard, never give up and enjoy it. This game is a beautiful one that’ll lead you to experiences that will be unforgettable. But most importantly remember that love is what you should always concentrate on. Love for the game, love for your family and love for yourself.

Best Player Played Against

Cuauhtemoc Blanco and Jari Litmanen are two players I would say have been the most challenging to play against. They are both masters at their crafts with more years of experience playing professionally than I’ve had on this earth, at the times that I played them.

Best Player Played Alongside

Carlos Valderrama. (friendly)

Who was your goalkeeping idol growing up ?

Renee Heguita, Craig Forest, Oscar Cordoba and Farid Mondragon were all keepers I enjoyed watching and tried to take the best out of all of them and incorporate them into my game.

What goalkeeper gloves do you use ?

I use Sells.

Team Supported Growing Up

I often supported whatever team my dad did. Newcastle and Parma (because of Colombian striker Faustino Asprilla) until I saw Ronaldo play for Inter Milan and I have stuck with them ever since.

Do you have any pre-game superstitions ?

Giving them away would mess the whole thing up. (haha)

Favourite Food

Colombian.

Favourite Drink

Strawberry Banana Smoothie.

Favourite Holiday Destination

Colombia (Medellin).

Favourite Film

Maradona by Kustirica.

Favourite TV Show

The Wire.

Favourite Music

All types. Everything from Jay Z to Queen to Carlos Vives to Movado.

First Car

Subaru Legacy.

Hobbies And Interests Outside Of Soccer

Spending time with family and loved ones.
What would you do if you won $1million

Look to make it into another million!

Teammates – FC Edmonton

Loudest

Me.

Quietest

Jono Augustine.

Best Friend

Kyle Porter.

Best Trainer

Serisay Bartalome.

Biggest Moaner

No Comment.

Biggest Joker

Yashir Pinto.

Least Intelligent

No Comment.

Most Intelligent

No Comment.

Most Skilful

No Comment.

Worse Taste In Music

No Comment.

Worse Dress Sense

No Comment.

I would like to personally thank you for your time and efforts during the interview process.

By Anthony Bedworth

@maplesoccer123

@usbritain05

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