Amar Sejdic looks back to being selected over two years ago
It’s where many young athletes get their first opportunity to join the big leagues. That’s true to many North American sports; in MLS, it’s the SuperDraft. First established in 2000, the SuperDraft’s role as a player acquisition tool has somewhat faded in recent years, but it’s still a great place for teams to find young talent and develop it.
We don’t have to go very far for an example. Amar Sejdic was selected by the Club a little over two years ago in Chicago, in the second round. Two seasons later, the young midfielder has established himself as a starter in Thierry Henry’s side.
“It was a special day and a special experience,” said midfielder Amar Sejdic. “Being there in person is different than nowadays since it’s online. It comes with a lot of nerves. Everything you’ve done in your career up to that point is decided in that moment. You start wondering whether a team will pick you or not. There are a lot of emotions.”
Sejdic’s journey is a prime example of the type of talent you can find at the SuperDraft, even in the later rounds; young athletes loaded with desire, often with a very good work ethic and hungry to prove themselves.
Nestled in a group of veterans and young players fighting for a spot, Amar’s first year with the club was an adaptation. Like any young player introduced to a group of men, he trained with the first team but struggled for playing time, starting just one game.
“I was happy to be picked by Montreal and I knew I had a big challenge ahead of me,” explained Sejdic. “There were a lot of good players I had to compete with. My first year was much more of a transition in terms of the speed of play and understanding what it was to be a professional. Taking care of my body, getting the proper rest and the proper workouts.”
Keeping his head down, Amar put in the work and learned the ropes. When a coach stopped to give him advice, he absorbed it like a sponge and applied it right away.
In his second year, head coach Thierry Henry would give him his first start in August, against Toronto FC. Never one to leave something unsaid, the coach was honest in his observations on Amar’s first start under his tutelage and was left wanting more. He wouldn’t start Amar again until the beginning of October, against Columbus, a game which the Impact won, breaking a five-game winless streak.
He would go on to score his first two MLS goals in the two following games, starting five games in a row and six of the club’s last eight games in the regular season.
“My mentality shifted in the second year, in the sense that I was confident that I can play at this level,” said Sejdic. “I wanted to take more responsibility in my performances and in the team’s performances. It was great to have that and score a couple of goals. I’ve proven to myself that I have the quality, and it gives me more to build off heading in year three.”
The 2021 SuperDraft is set to kick off on Thursday, and CF Montréal will have two picks in the third round, having traded its first-round pick to Austin in exchange for Kamal Miller, and its second-round pick to Minnesota in a deal that saw Mason Toye come our way. Tune in at 2pm for live updates.
And lastly, for the young athletes who join MLS, a piece of advice from someone who’s been in your shoes: “You have to earn your respect,” finished Sejdic. “You’re coming in to compete with someone else who already plays your position. But if you give respect, you get respect. If not, hard work and staying humble never goes unnoticed.”