This is the latest installment of We Are TFC. Every week, we’ll sit down with one of the Reds and help you get to know them a little bit better, on and off the field. This week, Devang Desai chats with winger Daniel Lovitz, who was drafted by the club in the second round of the 2014 SuperDraft out of Elon University. We hope you’ll enjoy this series and let us know which TFC players you’d like to see profiled in the future.
Taking a look at your phone – what picture means the most to you and why?
LOVITZ: Just to look in the past and see the progression of my soccer related pictures. From trying to promote a home game at my University to one of the first photos at TFC with Jermain Defoe. I felt like I was looking at someone else in the picture. How it’s progressed with guys like Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco and all these great veterans we have on the team now. It’s an honour to share a job with them and a club with them.
LOVITZ: Lionel Messi is someone that I’ve always watched and Gareth Bale as well. They are two really good left footed players that I try to emulate, look up to and pick pieces of my game to model after theirs. They’ve been great to watch throughout my youth.
What is your favourite pastime?
LOVITZ: Just being around the guys. Being able to have some sort of routine outside of the soccer world is good. To take a load off and be around the guys in a different context. I’m big into music and checking out different coffee shops. I definitely like to relax a little bit and so some exploring whenever I can.
Are you the wise one of the group because you’ve been here for a while now?
LOVITZ: I still don’t have anything on some of the local Toronto guys. They still look at me as an outsider [laughs]. When they come to Philadelphia then I’ll have my time but I have to wait for that trip every year.
Who is the funniest guy on the team?
LOVITZ: I think Seba is hilarious. I don’t understand him all the time in terms of what he’s saying but you can just tell he has that humor and you can pick it up. Jozy is also hilarious as well.
Who is your best friend?
LOVITZ: My best friend that I grew up with is Kevin Israel back in Philadelphia. At Elon University it’s my roommate of four years Elliot and my other roommate Webby. Those are guys that are my support outside of the soccer world. I try to get them up to Toronto and visit them wherever they’re at. They’re my friends for life.
On The Team?
LOVITZ: Nick Hagglund, Mark Bloom - basically the guys that have been around here a bit longer. We’ve logged a lot of time here. We’re lucky to have a team where nobody really stands out and is outside of the group. It’s been great having Clement Simonin move in with me this year.
Clement still taking the Subway everywhere?
LOVITZ: [Laughs] no I’ve got a car so I’ve taken on that responsibility. It’s good to have company when you drive into the Training Ground.
Do you have any quirks or superstitions before matches?
LOVITZ: Nothing out of the ordinary. I try to find the balance of being focused and relaxed at the same time. There are guys on the team that you like to be around that have a certain vibe before games.
LOVITZ: The Usual Suspects
Favourite music artist?
LOVITZ: Just because of his involvement in music in general I would have to say Pharrell. As a producer as well as his original stuff. I love how he’s still relevant today and all the artists he’s worked with it’s pretty impressive. I like pretty much everything he does.
How do you kill time during the off-season?
LOVITZ: I’m an only child so I’ve got to go home and spend time with the parents which is always great. I’ll spend the holidays with them and usually pop down to Florida to see some friends. I have a lot of friends from high school and college in New York and Boston as well.
If you weren’t a soccer player what would you be doing?
LOVITZ: That’s a great question. The things that I’m passionate about are Music, Sports and Business. I would like to find something that encompasses all three of those things but I know that’s rare. Anything that could have me in a situation or a city that I like living in, have people around that I’m familiar with and have a job that I cherish and I enjoy would be my criteria.
Favourite moment with TFC thus far?
LOVITZ: The most memorable would probably a couple things. The history in terms of the Trillium Cup and the last minute free kick that Doneil Henry scored on in 2014 was pretty awesome. Getting to play against Tottenham in my rookie year and having an assist in the game was surreal for me. That was such an important step for me. In general, every time I step on the field I feel considerably more comfortable. I have more confidence.
When you started at Elon did you think playing pro soccer was possible?
LOVITZ: Coming out of a pretty high level, competitive club soccer team in Philadelphia there were other guys on the team that were highly touted and getting looks from Division I schools like Wake Forest and Georgetown. My Dad was in Rochester and started shopping me around to some Division III schools in Upstate New York, Pennsylvania and around the Baltimore area. They were willing to see what I had to offer but none of them were really familiar with me.
Randomly I got a call from Elon University. It was D-I that had some big schools on their schedule. I showed up and really liked the coach Darren Powell, who is coaching the USL franchise in San Antonio right now. I loved everything that he represented. It was an easy environment for me to grow in. Early own coach Powell told me that he thought there was a chance I could make it to the next level. I thought at the time he was just gassing me up and took it for what I thought it was worth. As time went on it got down to crunch time and whether I wanted to try and make the push. I got injured in my senior season and had to miss the MLS Combine and I thought that was my last and only shot to get in.
I got drafted out of nowhere by Toronto which was amazing. I showed up injured and had to go to Wilmington and work my way back here. I learned early not to take anything for granted.
Who are your heroes?
LOVITZ: My parents. I think being an only child is tough sometimes but it also allows me to be very close with my parents. They mean everything to me. They’ve been my best friends and my greatest supporters throughout my life no matter what. I look up to them in every way possible and respect everything they’ve done for me.
When I say ‘Toronto’ what’s the first thing that comes to your mind?
LOVITZ: FC. I originally came here through soccer. I didn’t have much knowledge of the city before that. It came out of the blue and soccer was my link. It’s an amazing thing this sport has done for me, to bring me to a city like this and a country that maybe I wouldn’t have an opportunity to come live for this long a time.
What is your ultimate goal in life?
LOVITZ: I want to have a family and have as many people that I love close to me and somewhere that we all enjoy ourselves. This has been a great experience for me, chasing my dream and I’m going to continue to do that wherever it leads me.