While most Princeton seniors were preparing their theses, Cameron Porter ’15 chose to delay the second semester of his final year to prepare in a different sense: He spent February training with the Montreal Impact, the Major League Soccer (MLS) team that drafted him in January.
“I put a lot of pride in my academics, so putting my academic career on hold wasn’t something I took lightly,” said Porter, a computer science major who, in addition to being named the 2014 Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year, earned first-team honors on the Scholar All-America Team.
In his final season at Princeton, Porter tied for the NCAA scoring title with 15 goals. The Tigers finished as Ivy co-champions, sharing the title with Dartmouth.
Five Princeton players have been drafted by MLS teams in the last five years, including Antoine Hoppenot ’14, who has played the last three seasons with the Philadelphia Union.
Princeton head coach Jim Barlow ’91 sees similarities between Porter and Hoppenot. “Both of them were very dangerous attacking players and scored a lot of goals, and both seemed at their best when running on defenders one-on-one,” said Barlow. Porter’s strength and speed, Barlow added, could aid his transition to the pro game.
Porter was selected by the Impact as the 45th overall pick in the MLS SuperDraft Jan. 20, when Princeton students were finishing fall-term exams. He flew to Montreal to begin training with the squad before traveling to Mexico City Feb. 8 to prepare for the Impact’s Champions League quarterfinal matches against C.F. Pachuca.
Although he has had to adapt to the lower oxygen level of Mexico City and the French spoken in the Impact’s locker room, Porter has found the team dynamic familiar. “It’s just a good group of guys, and you enjoy spending time with each other,” he said.
Porter plans to enroll at Princeton again in the fall to complete his senior year while continuing his on-field pursuits.
“This isn’t an opportunity that’s going to come around again,” he said. “I’m definitely going to stick with it as long as I continue to enjoy it, and I can’t imagine that changing anytime soon.”
Courtesy Impact Media