Since the end of the 2011 season, there is one fact that is inescapable, the Montreal Impact must have a minimum of three players from Canada. By the end of 2011 coach Jesse Marsch filled two of these holes by hiring two former players of the club, Greg Sutton and Patrice Bernier. Then for the third player, all eyes were on a group of five from last year who had to prove themselves. From this group veteran Eduardo Sebrango is the one that was chosen. Marsch could easily have stopped there, but another Canadian player caught his eye and overcame adversity and competition, midfielder Evan James.
Born in Ontario in 1990, James played his minor soccer in the biggest club in Canada, the Oakville Soccer Club which has just over 12,500 players. According to Evan with as many participants it is clear that this is a very competitive environment, "the Oakville soccer club is a very well known club. They are well known in the OYSL and the country to develop great, young, talented players."In 2008 the Scarborough midfielder crossed the border to join the Charlotte 49ers playing in the Atlantic 10 Conference NCAA. It was during his fourth season there that James achieved the most success. For the first time in the history of the university, the 49ers reached the final of the NCAA national tournament. To get there Charlotte beat had to beat in succession, Furman, UAB, Akron, Connecticut and Crighton before bowing losing 1-0 against North Carolina. This is the kind of experience that teaches a lot of things very quickly according to James: "it was a great privilege to be a part of a squad like that. We worked harder than every team we played against and won games we probably shouldn't have won on paper. So this past season, and really my whole college career, taught me that a team that has 11 guys committed to working hard for each other will be a successful team."
Invited to the MLS combines James distinguished himself enough to be the first choice of the Montreal Impact in the supplemental draft: "Honestly I was excited just to get picked up by someone. But I'm really glad to be coming back to Canada and to be in Montreal. I've always wanted to visit Montreal, and now I get to live and play one of Canada's most beautiful city's." That was just the first step, making team at training camp was not easy for James. Montreal also took 3 other offensive players in the supplemental draft. In addition to that Evan had to deal with an injury that nearly put an end to his adventure: "it was tough because you aren't sure were you stand on the team. So I found myself pushing through an injury trying to secure a spot for myself."
Now that he has the chance to wear the Montreal Impact jersey James can think about the future: "I am trying to develop myself as a player and get up to speed with the MLS. Hopefully I can become an asset to the squad and get some minutes this year." As the youngest Canadian player of the team Evan might not see much playing time this season, but it is clear that if he progresses he will have a place in Montreal. Maybe in ten years we will speak of him in the same way we talk today of Canadian players who have given their heart and soul for the club and who managed to find a place in MLS, Greg Sutton, Patrice Bernier and Eduardo Sebrango.