Impact midfielder Shamit Shome completes his engineering degree

After years of balancing a hectic schedule which included being a full-time student and a professional soccer player for the Montreal Impact, Shamit Shome has completed his engineering degree.

The 22-year-old completed his engineering degree at Concordia this spring

Shamit Shome, centre, celebrates scoring a goal during a game last season. The Impact midfielder can now add another title to his resumé — university grad. (Stew Milne/The Associated Press)

For many students of Montreal's universities, this past weekend was time to celebrate as notice came in that they had completed the necessary credits to graduate.

Montreal Impact midfielder Shamit Shome was among them.

After years of balancing the hectic schedule of a full-time student with that of a full-time professional soccer player, he finished his engineering degree at Concordia this spring.

"I could take a big sigh of relief just knowing that I finished and I've done it. It's been a long road so I'm pretty happy," Shome said.

The celebration for Shome was low key, however, because unlike other students who went back to their family homes to finish their degrees, he stayed in his Montreal apartment, alone.

The MLS required all its players remain in their home market throughout the lockdown.

A phone call was the only way Shome could share the moment with his family in Edmonton.

"It is tough being away from them, but that's what the league wants," he said.

"All of our families are worried about us being on our own, but at the end of the day, we are all safe and healthy."

Wondering about a return to play

Shome has spent the majority of his time during the lockdown studying and training twice a day.

But now that exams are done and he doesn't have school work to do anymore, he's found himself with a lot of extra time on his hands.

"I'm taking the time to find other interests or hobbies that I can do," Shome said.

Shome, seen here attending class at Concordia, says now that exams are done he’s found himself with a lot of extra time on his hands. (CBC)

He's spent a lot of time playing video games online, mostly the new Call of Duty game, with his teammate James Pantemis while he searches for a new project.

He's also closely following all information about a possible return to playing soccer this season.

Montreal is one of the few remaining markets in the MLS where the players have not been given permission from public health to train individually at their practice facility under supervision of their team.

"It does make me a bit jealous 'cause I'm seeing all these other guys training and stuff. But at the end of the day, their local governments have allowed them to do that because it's appropriate for them based on the coronavirus situations going on there," Shome said.

"In Montreal, it's still a bit tricky, obviously."

The league has floated the idea of hosting all MLS teams at a neutral site in Orlando as a way to resume playing games as soon as possible.

Shome finds the idea intriguing but also wonders about how the players would be kept safe.

"For me, it's a cool idea to go down there and get a chance to play games, but there's still a lot of questions that we need to make sure can get answered before we go."

The players association is currently negotiating with the league about the return to play conditions, and it's likely that regardless of the deal they agree on, many players will be asked to take a pay cut.

"It's tough because obviously players don't want to take a pay cut because it's their living. This is what we do for a job and we want to keep that," he said.

"People have families to take care of just like other jobs that people have. So it is tricky."

Iron ring ceremony to come

Shome's parents were planning to come to his convocation ceremony scheduled in June, but with the event moving online, their trip was cancelled.

Shome says he is looking forward to his iron ring ceremony, despite not knowing when it will take place. (CBC)

It will still be a special moment, but Shome anticipates doing graduation through a video conferencing app won't live up to the traditional experience he worked so hard for.

"It's a different way of celebrating it. It will also be pretty weird, but that's the situation we're in right now," said Shome.

As an engineering graduate, he also gets to take part in an iron ring ceremony. For him, this was bigger than graduation because it's specific to the field he studied.

It involves taking an oath and it must be done in person, so the ceremony has been pushed back until a future date when people can gather in the same space again.

In a fortuitous twist of fate, Shome would have missed the original iron ring ceremony had it gone ahead as planned because of a road trip with the Impact.

"It could be a while, but we can look forward to it at least," Shome said.

He remains hopeful he will receive his iron ring and be able to celebrate with his classmates in the fall.

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