Charlotte (NC) — The Charlotte Independence, a United Soccer League professional soccer team, are excited to announce rookie defender Calvin Doum has been called up to the U-20 Cameroonian National Team. Cameroon will play consecutive games against Mali in African Cup of Nations qualifying on July 13th and July 20th.
“It's good for him because he's trained hard and I think he's made tremendous strides since the beginning of the season,” said Independence Head Coach Mike Jeffries. “I think he's got a good future because he's such an athletic and physical player.”
Doum made his professional debut against the Ocean City Nor’easters on Wednesday, May 16th during the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. The 18-year-old recorded 45 minutes played, one shot and three crosses.
“Because our highly-experienced group at center back, he hasn't had much of an opportunity to get playing minutes, so the chance to play in two meaningful games is huge for him,” said Jeffries. “U-20 events are showcases for young, talented guys that are the future and people are looking for new players to bring in and young guys to develop.”
Although Doum has not earned much playing time for USL’s fifth-place Eastern Conference team, Coach Jeffries has noticed an uptick in the defender’s passing ability and defensive awareness during training.
“We made the commitment to some younger players who were -- for a lack of a better word -- projects or development-type players,” said Jeffries. “Calvin certainly fits that; guys who have a big upside. It's important to the club to have a few guys that come through the system, and do move on to good careers elsewhere. It helps the club in being noticed and prestige and, obviously, financially as those players move on.”
Coach Jeffries notes the Cameroonian National team does an exemplary job of identifying top-talent and putting those players in the best situations to succeed. Major League Soccer side Philadelphia Union signed Cameroonian 21-year-old midfielder Eric Ayuk and 20-year-old defender Olivier Mbaizo the past two offseasons. 20-year-old Seattle Sounders left-back Nouhou Tolo has ten starts in 2018.
“Nouhou has been huge for them and had success,” said Jeffries. “There's a lot of guys who have come through that system, broken through to the MLS and also elsewhere. [Christian] Bassogog did well for Wilmington Hammerheads. There a lot of guys who have come through that system and done well.”
The Independence will next be in action on Saturday, June 23rd as the team travels to take on the Richmond Kickers at City Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 PM ET. Jack’s House Soccer Bar and Retail Store will be open for all World Cup games beginning at 8:00 AM ET and for the official Independence watch party at 7:00 PM ET. For more information and bar hours, please visit jackshouseclt.com.