Drake Callender's stellar play in goal has been the brightest light in a dismal start to Inter Miami's 2023 season. If a team with just two wins and five consecutive losses can have a most-valuable player, the 25-year-old Californian is it.
MLS named Callender to the bench of its Team of the Matchday for Matchday 7 after saving seven of eight shots on goal Saturday in a 1-0 loss to FC Dallas. This reaction save in the 15th minute is an example of his quickness and instincts and shows why he's rapidly becoming known as one of the league's top shot stoppers. He also provided a boost with his distribution, completing 83 percent of his passes on the night.
Callender leads MLS with 33 saves (4.71 per match). He's saving 80.5 percent of shots against him, which also ranks in the top 10 among shot-stoppers across the league in 2023.
This marks the third time Callender has been named to the Team of the Matchday this season; he also made the team for Matchdays 1 and 3.
Born in Sacramento, Callender got his start with Cap FC United and Placer United before joining the San Jose Earthquakes academy in 2013. He played for the University of California from 2016-2019, keeping 16 clean sheets in 54 appearances, earning United Soccer Coaches and NCAA All-Far West Region First Team and the All-Pac 12 First team in 2017 and USL and NCAA All-Far West Region Third Team and All-Pac 12 Second team honors in 2018. He trained with USL League Two side San Francisco Glens in 2019 but didn't appear in a match for the amateur side.
The Herons acquired the homegrown player rights to Callender from San Jose in November 2019. Callender made his professional debut on May 7, 2021, starting for IMCF affiliate Fort Lauderdale CF (now Inter Miami II).
Callender started 2022 as the team's third-team keeper, but earned his way into the starting lineup and helped spark La Rosanegra to its first real (non-pandemic season) playoff berth.