By Daniel Cermak/NPSL.com
Damien Baltide, a Martinique international, came to the United States from French Ligue 2 side
Red Star FC. For the summer before he starts with Indian Hills Community College, Damien
joined NPSL side LC Aris FC. Baltide has been impressed with the overall quality of the league,
especially the North Conference.
“It’s a solid league, where every mistake can get you punished because every team has players
that are able to make individual differences,” Baltide said.
Baltide started his career in Martinique at the age of seven with his hometown club, Club
Colonial. At fourteen, Baltide joined the Martinique U-15 side and joined an academy, Pole
Espoir. At 18, Baltide went to Guadeloupe and played two years with Siroco in Les Abymes.
Following his second season with Siroco, Baltide earned a trial with Red Star FC, earning him a
spot on the reserve side. Following some injury struggles, Baltide moved on to another club in
the Parisian region: Noisy-le-Grand FC. Following his time there, Baltide decided to move to
the United States in order to pursue a college degree while still continuing his soccer career.
“I struggled with injuries and I decided I wanted to come and pursue a degree for my future,”
Baltide said. “And so far I have enjoyed every aspect of it, my schedule is focused around soccer
so it’s been really good.”
Baltide learned a great deal about what it takes to be a professional and has brought that
experience and those lessons with him.
“In France there was always a purpose to everything, they were always consistent in everything
they did,” Baltide said. “And now I am one of the older guys on the team, the coaches ask me to
implement some things I learn there so I try to do that.”
LC Aris FC owner Greg Saliaras has been impressed with Baltide both on and off the field.
“Damien is our best player this year, he has given us a true offensive threat up front and
defenses have to account for him,” Saliaras said. “He has played almost every minute this year
and he has been a great example for many of our young players.”
Despite the team struggling this year, Baltide has seen a marked improvement from the
beginning of the season to now.
“I definitely think we have improved,” Baltide said. “Early in the season we really struggled to
even keep possession but now we are playing better and we beat Dakota Fusion and have been
close in other games.”
Towards the end of the season, Baltide wants to do all he can to help his team to record three
points every time out.
“I want to do all I can to help the team win,” Baltide said. “I think we can win more games
coming up but we also just want to focus on improving as well.”
And Baltide has also helped LC Aris FC show their improvement with results, scoring the only
goal in a 1-0 victory over the Dakota Fusion on Saturday.
For LC Aris FC, having such an experienced player like Baltide will surely help them build up
their young players and constantly improve their team, and Baltide is equally ready to meet that
Photo Credit: Cindy Freybler