Born in Aldergrove, professional soccer player Joel Waterman has come a long way from kicking around a ball with friends on local fields and playing video games with his brother.
The 24-year-old signed for the Montreal Impact in January, becoming the first Canadian Premier League player to be sold to Major League Soccer.
Financial details of Waterman’s two-year contract were not disclosed.
“I don’t think anyone expected a small-town kid from Aldergrove to make it to this level. I sure didn’t growing up,” Waterman told the Aldergrove Star.
What followed his new contract in late February was new territory for the player.
Waterman was ushered into the virtual world of international soccer (or football) with his very own character in the FIFA video game franchise from EA Sports.
His in-game stats have him listed as having a $265,000 release clause, as well as being top-rated for skills of jumping, strength, and stamina.
His overall rating in the game is 58, with the potential to rise to 64 in career mode.
Players stats are suggested by a series of 5,000 data reviewers made up of coaches, professional scouts, and season tickets holders – points which are taken into consideration by EA Sports editors.
Gamers are also able to review the defender in the game.
Waterman admits to playing himself in the FIFA 20 video game, on Xbox One.
“It’s crazy. I still haven’t gotten used to playing myself [in the game],” Waterman admitted.
“The game was my childhood,” he said.
It was only a year ago that Waterman signed his first professional-level soccer contract with the Cavalry Football Club.
There, in the Canadian Premier League, Waterman played 25 regular season games and three Canadian championship games. He helped the team secure the best defensive record in the league with 19 goals conceded.
Waterman was initially drafted by the Trinity Western University Spartans early in Grade 11, while he attended Aldergrove Community Secondary School – from which he graduated in 2014.