Hundal aims for North American pros: stint in Germany finds doors closed

Terrace’s Cam Hundal trained with the pro German soccer leagues, but found visa and language barriers blocked his chances to play there.

Cam Hundal drives the ball up the field in one of his games with the University of Victoria Vikes.

Terrace’s Cam Hundal is now aiming for a spot in the North American pro soccer leagues after being blocked from pro ball in Germany by language and situational barriers.

“It was hard to get a trial, especially being a Canadian,” Hundal said of his tryouts in Germany this past July.

“Being a Canadian, being a foreigner, it’s really difficult to make it over there… because of how much they have to pay you, they have to give you a work permit and a visa, whereas they could sign a local player for much less money,” Hundal explained.

“So if you are going to make it there, you have to be the best player on the team by a long shot.”

Hundal went to Germany this past July for their soccer pre-season, attempting to get into the European pros.

That followed a very successful four years in amateur soccer, playing on the University of Victoria Vikes for four years, 2012 to 2015 where he has earned multiple awards. That included being named All-Star of Canada West every one of those four years and winning the 2015 Player of the Year for Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS).

He also signed with the Victoria Highlanders in 2014 and 2015 and played in the Premier Development League.

Hundal said he has had several offers from semi-pro teams over the last few years, but turned them down, opting to first finish his kinesiology degree at UVic, which he graduated with last April.

After that he decided that he wanted a shot at the European pros because it’s a more technical, higher skilled game, with way more leagues and opportunities.

“Over there, because the leagues have been around for so long, it’s so organized and there is a lot more opportunity,” Hundal explained. “If you are doing well on a team, you have a lot more opportunity to move up in the ranks really quickly, because there are so many scouts everywhere.”

Hundal went to Germany July 7 to Aug. 8 and trained with FK Pirmasens and VfB Oldenburg, teams in the fourth division of soccer in Germany.

But Hundal said the experience was tough and disappointing because of the barriers he faced.

“The language was bit of a barrier… They all speak German there at practice, so it’s tough because you don’t understand what the coach is saying. When you start drills and stuff, you have to look around for a couple minutes and see what is going on and then just kinda learn yourself,” he said. “The players are all really nice, but at that level, and in a different country, especially when everyone is battling for a spot, guys aren’t as helpful.”

Besides the language, Hundal found that being a foreigner who would need a work permit and visa to sign with a team, closes a lot of doors with coaches.

“[I learned quickly] about the harsh reality that a lot of guys are good enough, but if you can’t get a look, there’s not much you can do,” he said. “At the end of the day, it comes down to it being a business more than anything.”

“When I was playing there I was never out of place or anything and with the teams I trained with, I think I was one of the better players, but I didn’t think it was worth it for me to stay… It was a bit disappointing because I couldn’t get the trial that I wanted to, but the training and the experience was really cool,” he concluded.

Hundal returned to Canada early in August and is taking a position as head coach at the University of St. Michaels in Toronto, a connection made through one of his Victoria coaches.

In January, he plans to try out for a team in the pro leagues here and is deciding between three options: Arizona United in Phoenix, FC Edmonton or Ottawa Fury.

He said he knows the Ottawa coach, and has had prior offers from the Arizona and Edmonton teams.

Arizona United plays in the United Soccer League (USL Pro), and the two Canadian teams play in the North American Soccer League (NASL), and Hundal said there are advantages to each.

“The NASL is a higher league in terms of the North American soccer pyramid, but USL Pro has more of an affiliation with the MLS (Major League Soccer), which is the top league,” Hundal explained. “So it’s either I go to a lower league so I have more of a chance of making it to the top league, or I play in a higher league but with less chance of making it to the top league.”

He added that he also has to consider the coaches and teams themselves.

“Do I want to play for a so-called better team or do I want to play somewhere where I can get more playing time, more chance to develop,” he wondered.

Hundal said that despite the short time he spent in Germany, he learned things that he will take with him.

“The mentality over there was a lot different. They take it so seriously,” he said. “The training is very intense all the time… no messing around… I can bring that mentality back here with me.”

The experience also raised the bar on his game.

Hundal watched some of best pro German teams train, and said it was a completely new level of soccer.

“Guys were making passes that I didn’t even see, and I wasn’t even playing,” he said. “It’s another thing to strive for now, moving forward…

“Even training for one month at that level, it makes you that much better and you get to realize how technical the game can get, and how skilled you can get,” he added.

He said that though skill is developed by playing more than anything, he was able to learn a new style to “add to his arsenal” as he shoots for the pros here.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Northern Health saw 14 cases in one day earlier this week, the highest in one day since the beginning of the pandemic. (Image courtesy CDC)
Northern Health sees highest number of new COVID-19 cases in one day

Oct. 27 saw the highest number of new cases in the Health Authority since the start of the pandemic

Members of the Sipekne’katik First Nation load lobster traps on the wharf in Saulnierville, N.S., after launching its own self-regulated fishery on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020. When Jaime Battiste was in his early 20s, cable news channels were full of images of Mi’kmaq fishermen in New Brunswick battling federal fisheries officers over seized lobster traps. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan)
Nisga’a Lisims Government calls on Prime Minister to act in N.S. fisheries dispute

NLG President: “We are shocked by what’s happening in Nova Scotia”

A nurse prepares a flu shot. The public vaccine for the 2020-2021 flu season is now in pharmacies in Terrace. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)
Private flu vaccines scarce at Terrace pharmacies

Public flu vaccines still available for those with greatest need

“We have to make a call out to address this now so our people don’t have to feel fearful,” said Tribal Chief Mina Holmes. (Carrier Sekani Tribal Council Facebook photo)
Carrier Sekani Tribal Council seeks Indigenous-led task force in northern B.C. hospitals

Request made in an open letter to federal minister Carolyn Bennett

A woman wears a face mask and plastic gloves while browsing books as a sticker on the floor indicates a one-way direction of travel between shelves of books at the Vancouver Public Library’s central branch, after it and four other branches reopened with limited services, in Vancouver, on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
B.C. reports 234 new COVID cases, 1 death of senior who had attended small birthday party

Roughly 5,700 people are isolating due to being exposed to a confirmed case

A study by SlotsOnlineCanada notes there is at least 88 hours of top-rated horror movies for Canadians to consume this Halloween. (Unsplash)
Spooks and Chill study reveals Canada’s favourite horror flicks

88 hours of top-rated horror movies can fill COVID-19 Halloween

Burnaby RCMP responded to a dine-and-dash suspect who fell through a ceiling in March 2020. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Suspected dine-and-dasher falls through ceiling of Burnaby restaurant

A woman believed to be dashing on her restaurant bill fell through the kitchen ceiling

A can of Canada Dry Ginger Ale is shown in Toronto on Thursday Oct. 29, 2020. The maker of Canada Dry Ginger Ale has agreed to pay over $200,000 to settle a class-action lawsuit launched by a B.C. man who alleged he was misled by marketing suggesting the soda had medicinal benefits. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Joseph O’Connal
B.C. man’s lawsuit over marketing of Canada Dry ginger ale settled for $200K

Soda’s maker, Canada Dry Mott’s Inc., denied the allegations and any liability

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Vancouver Island-based Wilson’s Transportation has expanded to fill some of the routes left unserviced by Greyhound as of Nov. 1, 2018. (Black Press files)
B.C. bus companies say they need help to survive COVID-19

Like airlines, motor coaches have lost most of their revenue

A deer was spotted in October 2020 in Prince Rupert, B.C., with a bright pink yoga ball stuck in its antlers. (Kayla Vickers/Chronicles Of Hammy The Deer Official Page)
Hammy 2.0? Prince Rupert deer spotted with bright pink yoga ball stuck in antlers

The BC Conservation Officer Service is aware of the deer roaming around the city

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Kelowna Mountie hit with 2nd lawsuit in 2 months for alleged assault

Const. Julius Prommer is accused of breaking a woman’s knee during while responding to a noise complaint

Hirdeypal Batth, 24, has been charged with sexual assault and forcible confinement in relation to an incident in August 2020. (VPD handout)
Man, 24, charged with sex assault after allegedly posing as Uber driver in Vancouver

Investigators believe there could be more victims outside of the Vancouver area

Most Read