Canadian forward Caldeira looks forward to taking next step in MLS SuperDraft
Having already made his mark in two seasons at West Virginia University, Canadian forward Marcus Caldeira now hopes to step it up a notch.
That door could open in Tuesday's MLS SuperDraft, given the league has expanded the eligible player pool to sophomores and juniors.
"It's been my dream since I was a little kid to go and play professional," said the 19-year-old from Mississauga, Ont. "One thing led to another … The whole goal of being here (at West Virginia) was not only to get a degree but hopefully put myself on a stage where I can move to the next level.
"It seems like it might be the opportunity for me . It's exciting but nervous at the same time."
Caldeira played for Toronto-area academy Sigma FC until he was 16, when he got a development contract with Forge FC. He made his debut with the Canadian Premier League club at 17 and did his last year of high school online while training with Hamilton-based Forge.
"Even stepping into an environment with players like (captain) Kyle Bekker and (the now retired) Ashtone Morgan. Those names speak for themselves," said Caldeira, who saw action in four Forge games.
"If you can be a sponge, you really learn a lot," he added. "From the players on the field, but also off the field."
Forge head coach Bobby Smyrniotis, co-founder of Sigma, sees a bright future for Caldeira.
"He's a guy that can score goals," said Smyrniotis. "He's shown it at every level of the game and it's been fantastic to watch him do that again at the college level. I think the sky's the limit for him, wherever that may be next."
It was a banner year for West Virginia, which finished with a 17-3-4 record and the most wins in program history. The Mountaineers' season ended Dec. 8 in a 1-0 loss to Clemson in the College Cup semifinals.
Caldeira tied Japanese forward Yutaro Tsukada for the team lead in goals with 12 and was named a second-team All American by the United Soccer Coaches.
Caldeira started the season on a roll, scoring seven goals in the first six games. In October, he scored a hat trick in a 5-2 win over No. 1 Marshall, which had conceded just five goals in its previous 12 games.
He sees himself as a versatile forward, who played as a central striker with Tsukada on the left in West Virginia's 4-3-3 formation.
Caldeira was part of a global Mountaineers roster that featured players from Australia, Cyprus, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain and the U.S. Defender Brayden Borutskie, a former TFC academy player from Bradford, Ont., was the other Canadian on the team.
Caldeira, who was an honour roll student at Port Credit Secondary School, is studying finance at West Virginia.
Toronto FC has the first overall pick in Tuesday's three-round draft. CF Montreal has the 10th selection while the Vancouver Whitecaps traded away their first-round pick (16th overall).
Follow @NeilMDavidson on X platform, formerly known as Twitter
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 18, 2023.