Part Two: 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 Two of the full transcript of that interview.
Question: Your father was over there with you?
Kljestan: No, just my agent, and he was there for the first day when we did some stuff, and then I was there for the next couple of days alone just doing medical testing and stuff like that.
Question: It sounds like you got over there and you were pretty much you were going to sign.
Kljestan: Some negotiations had gone on before we got over there, and we just got over there and finished everything. The club treated me very well and put me up in a beautiful hotel. They showed me the city and the stadium, and I had time to meet with the coach and general manager. The club has as social department where they have certain people working for the club that when new players sign, they show them the city and teach them the ins-and-outs of the club, so I met a very nice guy named Peter who helped me out a lot, and already gave me a lot of insight and information about the city and stuff like that. They have been great about finding me a house already, and setting everything so that when I get there I don’t have stress and just worry about football, so it is a good situation.
Question: How is your Flemish?
Kljestan: They are actually a French-speaking club. The coach speaks to the team in French and in English, which is nice for me to start. My French is pretty good because I took three years in high school, and just being there and listening to it, it is coming back pretty easily. I am not ready to do any interviews or anything like that, but I will be taking some lessons, and my girlfriend will take some as well to show respect for the country and the team. I think we can win over some friends that way too.
Question: When did Anderlecht first contact you?
Kljestan: I had actually spoken to their general manager about a year-and-a-half ago, after we finished the 2008 season, and they told me that they were interested in me. Obviously, I was doing some research on them, and they were a club that I had been interested in for a year-and-a-half as well, so they have been following my career since then, and right about when we went into the World Cup camp they came back and were really interested in making a deal happen this summer, which I was very ecstatic about. I had planned on finishing out this season and my contract, and then going somewhere on a free transfer. But, going somewhere in the summer is much better for me as a player so I can play in the preseason with the team instead of signing with them in January, when they are already in first place and do not need to make changes midseason. It is great that I am able to go in the summertime when I can go through the preseason and hopefully win a starting spot from the first game.
Question: What did you see in the city [of Brusells]?
Kljestan: The city is pretty big for a European city. There are two million people there, and it is a very big government city. The European Union headquarters is there and so is NATO. The traffic inside the city is really bad because the roads are so small and there are so many cars. I plan on living outside the city, finding a house 10 or 15 minutes outside of the city. It is really historic and nice. A lot of people I have talked to said it is one of the nicest cities in Europe. Obviously, it is close to Western Europe, but it is central to everything, and close to Germany, France, and England, which is nice for day trips.”
Question: What did you think about the first U.S. game of the World Cup?
Kljestan: I thought it was a really good result for the first game. They got lucky with the goal, but I thought they defended pretty well, and [Tim] Howard had a great game. I think they should be happy with the one point. We are going to see how they react going into two games where they are the underdogs instead of the favorites. I think a lot of people were talking about them going into the England game, but nobody is talking about these next two games that are greatly important for everything now. I think they will make it out of the group.
Question: How was the MLS in this process?
Kljestan: They were good, especially the guys here at Chivas in management. They respected my wishes to want to go there. I have been with the club a long time, and they said that they supported my dreams of playing for a good team and developing a good relationship with a big European club. The have been very supportive, especially Martín [Vásquez]. When he got hired, we sat down and spoke, and he knew that I was in the last year of my contract, and he said that if you were ready to go, we would support you. I am glad that it went smoothly.
Question: Which [Chivas USA] players do you see getting your minutes?
Kljestan: The kid who puts the most effort down there is Gerson Mayen. He is a tremendous player, and I have supported him ever since first signed with the team. He is the type of kid who will sit with me for hours, and ask me questions about the league. He reminds me of myself when I was young. I would sit with Jesse [Marsch] and Ante [Razov] for hours about their past and the MLS. On the training field, he works hard and does well. In the games he has played well, and I hope he gets a little bit more of a chance.”