There is one thing that no one can deny about Caleb Calvert - the guy hustles. He never takes a play off and always gives 100%, whether it’s a game or a practice. He is constantly moving and constantly working. We saw glimpses of what he can do last year, and I’m pretty confident in my prediction that if Calvert gets enough playing time in 2017, he will have a breakout season.
Calvert was drafted by the Colorado Rapids at the end of 2014 from the Chivas USA Dispersal Draft, and spent all of 2015 with the Charlotte Independence. After six goals and two assists in 21 appearances for Charlotte, he was called back to the Rapids in mid-2016. In eight games and 165 minutes last season, he had five shots, four of which were on goal. (That’s pretty good if you ask me.) During the preseason this year, he saw much more playing time and had two, two-goal games.
“This was the best preseason I’ve had so far,” Calvert said. “Playing time is a huge part of it, so I’m thankful that Pablo and the coaching staff trusted me with as many minutes as they did.”
But did Calvert prove himself?
Head Coach Pablo Mastroeni lit up when I asked about #29. “Caleb has matured greatly going over to Charlotte. What I’ve found is his growth as a man has been huge, and with that correlates to his game. He’s more committed in the defense, he’s more committed to making runs behind in the attack, he’s got a nose for goal - as we saw in the preseason.”
I also respect that Calvert is a feisty forward. You could argue that he needs a little more discipline, but he feels that “it doesn’t hurt to show that you’re a presence out there, that you’re not someone who will be afraid to go into an attack or in a challenge.”
You know what to expect when Calvert steps onto the pitch, and he’s a consistent player. “Knowing that you’ll get industry, that you’ll get commitment, that you’ll get runs in behind the defense, are great qualities that I think are important especially when teams are trying to press and want to get in behind,” Mastroeni said.
It sounds like the plan is to get Calvert more involved this year, and I believe that he will start scoring goals. “For the long-term, Caleb is a #9. He’s a #9 that scores goals and has a nose for goal,” Mastroeni said. “And hopefully sooner than later, we put him in a position where he can utilize his strengths to play the position that he’s most comfortable.”
Does that mean we might see Calvert stepping in for Dominique Badji? I don’t know, but I’m excited to see what he can do.