In 2003, Kevin Harmse was drafted by his hometown Vancouver Whitecaps FC in the United Soccer Leagues First Division (USL-1) Entry Draft. The only problem was Harmse knew nothing about it.
“I had no idea I was drafted,” recalled Harmse. “I didn’t even know there was a draft in that league. The draft for the USL is not like the MLS SuperDraft. I was away with the Canadian U-20s and assistant coach Nick Dasovic told me. We had a good laugh about it.”
Harmse, though, had already made up his mind that he wanted to play in Europe and ventured to Norway to play for Tippeligaen club Tromsø IL.
“My mind set at that point was to be in Europe,” said Harmse. “It never really crossed my mind to be part of the ‘Caps until I came in and started playing with them.”
He first joined the Whitecaps FC organization in 2004 following his stint abroad. The tenacious defender/midfielder played two seasons in Vancouver before moving back to Europe to play for Slovakian side FC Nitra. He returned to North America in 2007, landing with LA Galaxy.
The native of the Vancouver suburb of Coquitlam bounced around the league to Toronto FC, Chivas USA, and Houston Dynamo before sitting out last season with a recurring knee injury. Now 26, Harmse is back in Vancouver and thrilled to be playing professional soccer in his hometown again and, after a year away from the game, he’s eager to get back on the field.
“I’m so excited,” said Harmse. “It’s a great feeling to be back playing pro ball and to be back with the Whitecaps in their first year in MLS.”
For Harmse, perhaps as important as finally being able to play again is the fact that he’s able to have so many of his family members by his side in Vancouver, especially with a wife and daughter of his own.
“My immediate family, my brother, my sister, my mom, and my dad, I even have some other family that recently moved to Vancouver from Africa,” listed Harmse. “Everyone’s around all the time and they can be a part of my daughter’s life and my life and come and watch me play games live.
“It’s something that I don’t always get to do, always being away. To have it within the city all the time and have them here being able to come and watch me play live is an amazing thing.”