Soccer star James Pantemis kicks back at home

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If you’re a Montrealer and a sports enthusiast (especially soccer), chances are you’ve heard of — and are a fan of — West Island native James Pantemis, the 26-year-old big-deal goalkeeper, former CF Montréal player (now with Major League Soccer’s Portland Timbers) and member of the Canadian national soccer team who represented us in the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

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That was a bucket-list check for him — and the entire country — seeing that Canada hadn’t qualified for the prestigious global competition in 36 years.

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We recently sat down with the star player and cool human (who routinely gives back to the community via mentoring and other admirable philanthropic initiatives) for an interview. The results were revealing and unexpected …

Goalkeeper James Pantemis chills on his couch with one of his prized possessions: a ball from the World Cup. Photo by Pierre Obendrauf /Montreal Gazette

We know you’ve been dealing with recovery from a shoulder injury that kept you out of play for longer than expected. That was a bummer for you, the team and the fans. But that means more chilling at home. What’s your No. 1 room to chill in?

It was definitely hard to deal with that injury, but ultimately I was happy to avoid something more serious, like surgery. It also afforded certain off-the-field opportunities. I was able to relax and recover at home, spending time in the living room, where I enjoyed the downtown view, played video games and spent quality time with friends and family. One of the things I especially love about the design of this space are the clean lines and calmative esthetic.

James Pantemis sits on a kitchen counter
The kitchen is “more esthetic for me,” says James Pantemis. Photo by Pierre Obendrauf /Montreal Gazette

How about the kitchen? Is it a place for heating up Uber Eats or do you actually use it? Does entertaining factor in? If so, what’s your idea of a good house party?

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The kitchen is definitely there for esthetics — Uber Eats is on the way as we speak. I would say I use it more for breakfast to prep eggs or whatever the case may be, depending on the day. But ultimately, it’s more esthetic for me.

Soccer player James Pantemis poses at home behind a ball.
James Pantemis’s competitive streak comes out when he has company over. Photo by Pierre Obendrauf /Montreal Gazette

On the entertaining front, I’m someone who enjoys hosting as much as I can. We usually have game night here once a week. Friends and teammates bring over board games. We order food, laugh a lot and, of course, given my competitive nature, I try to beat everyone as much as possible!

A modern condo apartment with living room in the foreground and kitchen in the back
A space with clean lines and a calm esthetic works well for the busy athlete. Photo by Pierre Obendrauf /Montreal Gazette

Per your social media, we know you’re not beyond a little man grooming. Care to share some of your fave man-grooming destinations and go-to products?

One thing you need to know about me is I’m very picky when it comes to my hair. And by picky, we’re talking haircuts every 10 to 14 days like clockwork. My barbershop is Le Social House. I even know when my hair hits its prime (four days in). So if there’s an event coming up, I’ll make sure to schedule a cut four days before. As for product, I actually don’t use any — just water. The same goes for skin care. My only go-to product is a bar of soap like Dove.

A living room with large windows and modern furniture in a high-rise building
James Pantemis enjoys being able to vacation in the winter. Photo by Pierre Obendrauf /Montreal Gazette

Any big plans for holidays? 

Because it’s off-season for us, we tend to use our vacation time now. So, I’ll be going to Costa Rica in a little while and then to Florida. It’s always nice to get out of this cold, snowy Montreal weather and enjoy some sun.

A tattoo reading WC2022 with the World Cup logo appears on James Pantemis's forearm
James Pantemis has a tattoo commemorating Canada’s participation in the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Photo by Pierre Obendrauf /Montreal Gazette

Finally, James, this last one isn’t about the man cave or holidays, but single ladies want to know: Are you single and ready to mingle? On that front, what’s your favourite date destination?

I am definitely single. And I do have two, three go-to date spots — but they’ll remain undisclosed unless you’re the girl I take out!

Soccer player James Pantemis looks out the window at his condo.
James Pantemis at his condo in downtown Montreal. Photo by Pierre Obendrauf /Montreal Gazette
Soccer player James Pantemis holds a ball while sitting at home.
James Pantemis: “One thing you need to know about me is I’m very picky when it comes to my hair.” Photo by Pierre Obendrauf /Montreal Gazette

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