BALTIMORE — Meet Kyle Fisher and he looks you right in the eye, asks for your name and shakes your hand. Two minutes in, you’d be comfortable sharing a foxhole with the Clemson defender.
The Montreal Impact will be happy finding a space on their backline for the 21-year-old from South Carolina. Exactly how quickly will be determined in camp, but head coach Mauro Biello says he believes Fisher was one of the "most ready" players available in terms of leadership and know-how at the MLS SuperDraft.
"He impressed us about the game, tactically," Biello said of the team’s interview with Fisher. "He was someone we think who could help us in our depth chart."
Fisher was equally impressed by Montreal’s coaching staff. "I absolutely love them," he said.
The six-foot 180-pounder, taken 14th overall in the first round, started all 83 games he appeared in at Clemson.
"I like to read the game well and put myself in good situations to then make plays and help my team," he said.
"(I’m) very competitive," he added.
Fisher has no shortage of confidence, saying he believes he can "definitely make some kind of impact" in Montreal. But the centre back also said he will learn as much as he can from the veterans "and see what I can do."
Asked for his message to the fans, he raised his arms and said he couldn’t wait to meet them — and brush up on his French.
Fisher, who admits to enjoying watching Chelsea defender John Terry, was given a vote of confidence when he signed a contract with the league just prior to the draft.
"It was good to know that people had confidence in me because I knew I had confidence in myself," he said.
In the second round, Montreal took Cal-Riverside forward Michael Salazar (24th overall), Stanford midfielder Eric Verso (34th) and University of San Diego forward Keegan Smith (39th).
Salazar is a charismatic Belize international, who was born in New York but moved to Belize when he was two.
"From where I came from, this is huge," he said. "It’s just a humbling experience for me to be here."
Whether star striker Didier Drogba returns to Montreal is still up in the air. Salazar can only hope.
"Growing up he was my idol. To this day, he still is one of my idols. I try to implement some of my game like his. Playing alongside him would be a dream come true, I’m just looking forward to learning from him."
Biello says Salazar is a hard-working forward with pace who can run at defenders and play either up top or out wide. He also has dual U.S.-Belize citizenship so he won’t take up an international spot on the roster.
Smith, who has experience with the U.S. under-15 and -17 teams, is mobile with a heavy shot, according got Biello.
"For us forwards are always something that we like to have and have a chance to take a look at and see if he can fit in," the coach added.
Biello says Verso impressed at the Combine, calling him a fine passer who registered plenty of assists for NCAA champion Stanford.