Babyfett turns out to be a blessing for Toronto FC’s Silva and prompts the move to goalkeeper

Kevin Silva can thank Babyfett for a step that has helped make football a career.

“I actually grew up a striker,” he explained. “I grew up a bit chubby, when one of our goalkeepers went down, the next person to go in is always the chubby guy.

“I played the game, I liked it a lot. From there I said, “Yeah, I’ll be a goalkeeper.” It turned out to be a minor blessing. “

Silva was then 12 or 13 years old. Today, the 22-year-old from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, stands six feet, weighs just under 187 pounds and is Toronto FC’s third goalkeeper.

He hasn’t forgotten his forward skills on the ball.

“I would say that’s a great strength in my game,” he said. “When I grew up and played on the (outside) field for a while, I felt comfortable with the ball at my feet. Growing up at my old PDA (Players Development Academy in Somerset, New Jersey), my coach (Tyler Stakiwicz, now an assistant at Rutgers University) was really aware of what was going on and wanted in the new era of goalkeepers Make sure to implement my game pretty early once I got there.

“I think it helped me a lot. I really appreciate that. I didn’t really understand why he wanted me to do this at that age. But it helped and paid off. It’s something that I enjoy. I enjoy having the ball at my feet. I understand that there is only one extra player on the field for the team. “

After loaning part of 2019 from Scotland’s Hearts to Toronto FC 2, Silva made the final move to TFC’s reserve side in January before signing a first-team contract ahead of the MLS is Back Tournament in Florida in July.

Toronto coach Greg Vanney acknowledges the role of third goalkeeper but it’s not easy, especially with COVID-19 limiting opportunities in the lower leagues. Silva lowered her head, kept working and got better.

“He’s doing great … He’s an ideal third goalkeeper right now because he’s young and he’s developing,” said Vanney. “He has similar characteristics to Q (starter Quentin Westberg). He’s not the greatest goalkeeper (but) he has really good feet.

“He’s very competent, almost like an outfield player,” he added. “That was nice … And he’s a really good communicator. Feels confident about communication and leadership. And he’s a good goalkeeper. There are things (goalkeeping coach) Jon Conway and the goalkeeping team are working on to develop him. But he’s a really good guy, a really hard worker, and he fits in really well with our group. “

Before joining Toronto FC II, Silva made five appearances for the reserve side of Heart of Midlothian FC in 2018 and was later loaned to Raith Rovers FC by the Scottish Third Division.

Silva played like a colleague at UCLA and played 30 games with seven goals in two seasons. He then switched to Rutgers but saw no action and moved to Scotland, where he spent about 18 months.

“I would say it was a good experience,” he said. “It was my first professional environment – good coaching team, great players. It was a good experience to see what a day it was for me in a professional environment … I think it helped me to mature as a player and as a person too. “

Silva was part of the US youth setup from under 14 to under 19.

Despite the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, Silva is enjoying his time playing for Toronto FC. He believes the MLS team’s style of play is a better match for his skills. And he learns through training alongside Westberg and Alex Bono.

“They push me every day and really help me focus on little things that need to be corrected. Training with them and learning from them was really fun … I am really blessed to be part of this group. “

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Silva is number 90, a number he was given when he switched to TFC 2. He had hoped to reach number 99 with the first team but striker Ifunanyachi Achara beat him.

“I’ll make it my number,” he said of No. 90.

Silva and Toronto FC returned home after a few days on Wednesday, their home in East Hartford, Connecticut. Toronto “welcomed” the Philadelphia Union in a battle of 8-2-4 clubs at Pratt & Whitney Stadium on Rentschler Field on Saturday.

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