Daniel Lovitz, from trialist to international

The American played 90 minutes for his country against Panama

We still remember that day, back in February 2017, in St. Petersburg, Florida. The Impact training camp was nearing its end and the Bleu-blanc-noir was still on the lookout for a left-back to second Ambroise Oyongo. Daniel Lovitz, having left Toronto FC as he was out of contract, and being sent home from the Vancouver Whitecaps FC training camp a few days earlier after being invited as a trialist, set foot on the Al Lang Stadium pitch, where the Impact usually goes for training camp, without much fanfare.

Trained primarily as a left winger, his natural position, Lovitz reconverted into a full-back, a recipe that has worked for some big names in this job, like Jordi Alba or Lauren. The transition went over smoothly enough, as the American signed a contract before the start of the 2017 regular season. Then, a long-term injury allowed him to take over the spot in the beginning of summer 2017, and he has not let go since then.

Today, at 27 years of age, Lovitz has established himself as an undeniable starter in the Montreal squad, after having won the Defensive Player of the Year title in 2017 and the Husqvarna Goal of the Year in 2018. Since he landed on his feet with the Bleu-blanc-noir, the man from Wyndmoor, near Philadelphia, has played 56 games and 4,400 minutes, while raking in a goal and six assists.

“It means the world to me to succeed at that level and for it to translate here, it’s amazing,” said Lovitz. “To break through in that way is a huge credit to the club and to be able to get guys playing time. Hopefully, it’ll draw more talent to that team and we can continue to make it a pipeline to this stage.”

The Impact’s number 3 also became on Sunday the first active player from the Bleu-blanc-noir to wear the American national team colours at the senior level, playing a full 90 minutes in a 3-0 win against Panama. As we have seen him do so many times, he patrolled the left flank with his usual energy and was an important part of the team, completing 90% of his passes and two dribbles, as well as providing one key pass.

“It feels unbelievable. It’s not something that I thought was going to always be in the cards for me, but it came around and I was happy to take advantage of it,” continued Lovitz. “It felt great, with three points and a shutout, that’s what you play the game for. To do it at the highest level is a good accomplishment, but more importantly, it’s a great first step for the team and what we are trying to do as a nation in regards to soccer.”

Lovitz has one more friendly on his schedule, against Costa Rica on Saturday, February 2 in San Jose, California, before he joins the Montreal training camp where, surely, his teammates are eagerly awaiting him.