Just over four months ago, Wyndmoor native Daniel Lovitz got a phone call that changed the course of his soccer career.
It was from Gregg Berhalter, who had just been hired as the head coach of the U.S. men’s national team. Berhalter wanted the Germantown Academy alum to be on the first national team roster of the new era.
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Lovitz spent the first five years of his pro soccer career under the radar, with Toronto FC from 2014-17 and with the Montreal Impact since then. But Berhalter saw Lovitz often while managing the Columbus Crew, and liked what he saw in the left back — one of the hardest-to-fill roles in the sport.
“A bit of a whirlwind, but in the best way possible,” Lovitz said. “I didn’t really think that was something that I’d ever really have to worry about. Now that it’s something that I’m taking into consideration … it’s sort of recalibrated my game a bit, and put me into a different mindset.”
Just as Berhalter was impressed by Lovitz, Lovitz has been impressed by Berhalter’s intelligence and drive.
“The level of detail is just, it’s next-level stuff," Lovitz said. "We allow for the natural amounts of improvisation, and you put guys in good positions to use their strengths more than anything, but everything is very systematic, and everything we do is for a purpose.”
In Montreal, Lovitz gets to experience one of North America’s most soccer-mad cities, and one of its most diverse. He sees it from his home in the fabled Old Port neighborhood downtown, and in the vibrant stands of Stade Saputo on game days.
“We all know that a lot of guys from a lot of different places would have never thought that they would end up in Montreal, but here we are, and that kind of unites us in a lot of ways,” he said. “It feels like I’m in a foreign country, no doubt about it. It’s great to have that little bit of separation [from home], and to be a part of such a unique experience in such a cool city.”
Lovitz doesn’t get home too much, except for a stretch during the offseason. On the right winter evening, you might see him in pickup games at YSC Sports in Wayne that draw many Philly-bred soccer pros.
This trip will be short, but he’ll make the most of it.
“I usually try to pop over to the house and see the dog, see my parents, before I see them on game day,” he said.
He’ll have even more stories to tell than usual this time.