From Aldergrove Youth Soccer Club to Major League Soccer, Joel Waterman has exceeded even his own expectations by going pro with a game that he’s loved since a child. (Right: Stuart Gradon photo)

Aldergrove soccer player makes history as first in CPL sold to another league

Midfielder Joel Waterman was transferred from Calgary’s Cavalry FC to a U.S. Major League soccer team

Aldergrove’s own Joel Waterman made history on Tuesday.

He was the first Canadian Premier League (CPL) player to sign a U.S. Soccer Federation Major League Soccer (MLS) contract.

Montreal Impact bought the playing rights of the midfielder/defender from Cavalry Football Club, which first signed Waterman in Jan. 2019.

Impact sporting director Olivier Renard was pleased to add the player to his roster.

“He’s a centre-back that can play every position in a three or four man defensive line, and also as a defensive midfielder. He’s a player with the right mentality, and he comes to Montreal following a good season in CPL,” Renard said.

Financial details of the two-year contract that transpired during the CPL’s first offseason – including a transfer fee – were not disclosed.

From Aldergrove Youth Soccer Club to Major League Soccer, Joel Waterman has exceeded even his own expectations by going pro with a game that he’s loved since he was a child.

“The fact that I’m here is amazing and it’s pretty surreal. It’s going to take me a while to let this sink in,” Waterman said from Florida where Impact are to continue training.

“I don’t think anyone expected a small-town kid from Aldergrove to make it to this level. I sure didn’t growing up. I knew I could play, but I didn’t know how far it would take me,” Waterman added.

“Now I’m just super excited to start playing again,” he said.

RELATED: Aldergrove player poised to go pro with the Cavalry FC

Nearly a year ago, the 23-year-old was signed with Calgary’s Cavalry FC after five years with the Trinity Western University (TWU) Spartans.

Waterman registered nine goals and five assists in 57 career games (48 starts) during his time with TWU. He remains the only Spartan to have signed a contract with a major league soccer club to this day.

With Cavalry FC, Waterman played 25 regular season games and three Canadian championships, helping Calgary secure the best defensive record in the league with 19 goals conceded.

Cavalry coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr. admitted he was sad to see Waterman go.

“He now presents another young Canadian with an opportunity to fill his shoes here,” Wheeldon assured the public in a statement.

Trailblazing through trials

The Aldergrove player admits to feeling like a “trailblazer,” having played university soccer in Canada and continuing onto a professional sports career with the United States.

On his road to professional gameplay, Waterman notched three seasons in the USL Premier Development League with the Kitsap Pumas in 2016, TSS FC Rovers in 2017, and the Calgary Foothills in 2018, with whom he won the league playoff championship.

Waterman has continued to thrive playing pro, despite a broken toe that rendered him on the sidelines for six weeks this past season.

“It’s even more surprising that I’m here now,” Waterman commented, considering he was still benched when Montreal took on the Cavalry FC.

Waterman never got to meet Impact or any of its leadership before the transfer, he said.

RELATED: Aldergrove entourage swarms BC Place for local soccer player gone pro

Aldergrove beginnings

Waterman began playing soccer at five, inspired by both of his parents’ passion.

“I remember going and watching my mom play soccer in Aldergrove when I was little,” Waterman said. “Her and my dad absolutely loved the sport.”

His mother Vicki was his first-ever coach with the Aldergrove Youth Soccer Club (AYSC).

She has been witness to her son’s childhood dream of becoming a pro soccer player come true.

And following in her footsteps, Waterman returned to help coach AYSC’s U14 boys in past years, with the squad taking both district and league championships in 2018 and 2019.

To this day, he credits much of his success to God.

The next time Waterman is likely to return to his hometown is when Impact faces the Vancouver Whitecaps on June 6.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Thousands of dollars of stolen rice traced to Langley warehouse

Police raid seizes $75,000 in ‘commercial scale’ theft case

VIDEO: Man collapses on Langley street

Multiple police, fire and ambulance units responded to incident outside Timms community centre

Langley thieves make off with $10,000 worth of remote control cars

Police are also investigating the theft of a pair of commemorative bridge plaques

19 times on 19th birthday: Aldergrove teen goes from crutches to conquering Abby Grind

Kaden Van Buren started at midnight on Saturday. By 3 p.m. he had completed the trek 19 times.

Cautious driving urged during South Langley toad migration

Thousands of toads are expected to hatch and head into the woods

Recent surge in COVID-19 cases not unexpected amid Phase Three of reopening: B.C.’s top doc

Keep circles small, wear masks and be aware of symptoms, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

UPDATE: Mission spray park closed after children suffer swollen eyes, burns

Mission RCMP are investigating incident that injured several children

B.C. NDP changing WorkSafeBC regulations to respond to COVID-19

Employers say reclassifying coronavirus could be ‘ruinous’

Baby raccoon rescued from 10-foot deep drainage pipe on Vancouver Island

‘Its cries were loud, pitiful and heartbreaking,’ Saanich animal control officer says

Statistical flaws led to B.C. wolf cull which didn’t save endangered caribou as estimated

Study finds statistical flaws in an influential 2019 report supporting a wolf cull

Surrey’s first Ethics Commissioner brings ‘objectivity’ to the job

Vancouver lawyer Reece Harding is Surrey’s first Ethics Commissioner, also a first for B.C.

Windows broken, racist graffiti left on Okanagan home

Family says nothing like this has happened since they moved to Summerland in 1980s

Professional basketball in Canada begins return to action with COVID-19 testing

Abbotsford’s Fraser Valley Bandits, six other CEBL teams arrive in Ontario for Summer Series

B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’ charged with sex assault of teenage boys

The man, 75, is accused of assaulting teenage boys he met through Coquitlam-area churches

Most Read