Being a first-year pro on a brand new team left Kharlton Belmar with some unknowns heading into the 2015 season. Hungry to develop, the Timbers U-23s alum turned in a solid rookie campaign, leading T2 in scoring with 12 goals and earning USL All-League (second team) and Rookie of the Year honors following the team’s inaugural USL season.
Belmar reflects back on the season, talking about his development, the team’s growth, his favorite moments and current loan assignment with the New York Cosmos in a Q&A with Timbers2.com.
This season was your first as a professional. What did you anticipate heading into the season with T2?
Just going into it, I didn’t really know what to expect. I put a little bit of pressure on me to produce and show that I can perform and grow as a player. I was just anxious to get started, and [the season] went a lot better than I expected.
You played in all 28 league games, scored 12 goals this season. How would you assess your growth and development?
I definitely learned a lot – coming in every day just trying to be a good pro and trying to replicate the same high intensity actions that the guys on the first team do. Gained a lot of experience in general, just playing in games and getting opportunities. It was great.
Looking back on the season, what was a defining moment, for you, during your rookie campaign?
That first game was. Going into that first game, I didn’t really know what to expect; I was nervous. I knew I just wanted to come out and try to impress. To score the two goals and getting to celebrate with the guys, it was great.
As a team, what do you think are the biggest takeaways from season one with T2?
I think it was a great learning experience for everyone. Just getting to experience this side of things with the second team (for the Portland Timbers) and how everything works and getting a feel for it all. It was just a great learning experience all around.
As a first-year pro, what do you hope to get out of your loan with the Cosmos?
The Cosmos have a really good group of talented players, who have experience at numerous different levels of the game that I'm trying to reach. I'm really excited to work with these players and learn as much as possible.
What was the first thing you did when you arrived in New York?
I didn't really get a chance to do anything when I got in because I landed at 12 a.m. But the second I had some free time to myself, I headed off to the city to go catch up with some family that I haven't seen in a couple years.
When it comes, what are your plans for the offseason?
Hopefully I get to get back to [Virginia Beach] soon and hang out for a little bit and just get ready for next season.