Part Four: Sacha's Final Media Day
Former Chivas USA captain Sacha Kljestan, transferred to Belgium's Anderlecht last week, sat down with media for one last time Monday morning before leaving Wednesday morning to Europe. Below is Part Four of the full transcript of that interview.
Question: Wasn’t [Manny Schellscheidt] your coach in college? Tell us about his influence [on you].
Kljestan: He has always been a positive [influence] and still is, we talk constantly. It was nice to see him at the World Cup Camp out in Princeton because he was out there every day. He was the first guy that wanted to build a team around me and put a lot of confidence in me [sic]. It is always easy to play for a coach like that so he made college really easy for me and was a good guy to play for and always a super-positive influence. I didn’t know anything about him until he called me to go on a recruiting trip… but then I realized that I really had no other options. I went out there and from the first moment I was on the Seton Hall campus every soccer player that I talked to spoke about his legacy and the person that he was and how he made every one of his players a better person, not just a better player. He always talked about academics as being a big part of playing for him so he always made sure that everyone was going to class and that we were all doing well.
When I first heard about [Schellscheidt’s academic philosophy] I figured that I would go to a private school if I could get a good education, then when I told him that I was thinking of leaving school [to join MLS] he really didn’t want me to go. In the end he did support me, and I have learned throughout the years that he was pretty close with Bruce Arena and Bob Bradley from the U.S. Soccer circles.
Question: He must have had a good eye if you weren’t getting other offers but one of the biggest coaches in the country was saying he wanted you on his team.
Kljestan: Yeah, it turned out to be very exciting because like I said I didn’t know much about him but once I found out about his past I figured he must have a pretty good knowledge of soccer. I found it to be one of the best knowledges of soccer [sic] in this country after awhile so it was a very good experience and I was very lucky.
Question: What number will you have, do you know?
Kljestan: I don’t know [what number I will wear], but not 16 because I think that it is taken. I don’t really care; I have never been a numbers guy. When I got here [to Chivas USA] our equipment guy gave me 16 and I said, “okay.” Then when I went with the Olympic Team and the National Team they gave me 16 because I had it at Chivas so for some reason I am “Mr. 16” now. But I have never really cared about wearing a specific number so we’ll see… hopefully just not 99 or something like that.
Chivas USA returns after a break for the Group Stage of the 2010 World Cup on June 26 vs. FC Dallas at 7:30 p.m. For more information and for tickets, click here.