Caleb Calvert was the youngest signing in Chivas USA history, when the Chivas USA Academy product, then 16, put pen to paper in July 2013. After being sidelined with a foot injury for most of the rest of that season, Calvert saw some action in the 2014 preseason and reserve league games.
On Sunday, in the Goats' final-ever game, Calvert, who turned 18 last week, was included in the matchday 18 for the first time. After the game, Calvert spoke exclusively to The Goat Parade about making the bench, and more.
"It's truly exciting," he said. "I've been dreaming of this moment [making the 18] ever since I signed, and I finally got it. So it feels like almost accomplishing, but at the same time, not exactly, because I still haven't made the field yet. It's exciting."
Many who have followed Calvert's progress were disappointed with CUSA head coach Wilmer Cabrera's decision to not give the former U-16 National Player of the Year any first-team minutes this season. But the player himself appeared to be down-to-earth about his progress as a professional.
"It's been quite a learning experience, that's for sure," Calvert said. "I'm finally starting to understand what it takes to be here, so that's always a good thing to understand as a young kid coming up through this. I say it's been good so far."
In fact, the most exposure Calvert got in 2014 was during the first MLS Homegrown game, held during MLS All-Star week festivities in Portland in August. I asked if that experience was helping to carry him through the ups and downs of his pro career to date.
"Definitely, that was one of the most amazing experiences I've had as a player, personally. I'm just truly blessed to be a part of that," he said.
And like everybody else in Chivas USA's locker room on Sunday, when asked about what the future held for him, Calvert responded, "No idea...waiting along with everybody else."
Ultimately, it's a shame Calvert will never get to play competitive minutes for his first team. But he's young and will almost certainly be picked up by another MLS team, one that may actually push his development forward by sending him on loan next season to a USL PRO club to play competitive ball.
And it seems like wherever he goes, Calvert will have fans among Chivas USA supporters.
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