European 9/11 Fear

French midfielder Laurent Courtois gives a European perspective

Laurent Courtois 9/11

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CARSON, Calif. (Thursday, September 8, 2011) - As the ten-year anniversary of the September 11 attacks draws near, one begins to realize just how much of a global effect the horrific acts had. From an athlete’s perspective, perhaps no other sport like soccer encompasses such a global feel or intertwining relationship.

The journey that is a footballer’s career can have him call various countries around the world home; from Europe to Latin America to the United States.

Recalling the terrorist attacks, recently acquired Chivas USA midfielder Laurent Courtois cannot help but think back to somber and sometimes fearful thoughts.

Courtois, who’s birthday, ironically, is on Sept 11, was playing at the time in England’s West Ham United and had just awoken when he was informed by the team of the attacks.

“We were in a state of shock.” says the French national Courtois. “There was also a lot of talk in England that similar attacks could take place there as well.”

Years later, those fears were in fact confirmed in both England and Spain, as both countries suffered attacks on its public transportation systems. About a year after the 2004 attack in Madrid, Courtois, who turns 33 on Sunday, began his stint with the Spanish club Levante.

“Without a doubt [in 2001] there existed a lot of concern around Europe. A lot of innocent people were tragically and unjustly affected, all because of a few extremist individuals who give a bad name to a majority of people.”

The images and heartfelt emotion, he says, of 9/11 will surely return whenever the subject is brought up. Nevertheless, he says he is very happy to have the opportunity to play in the U.S. Although he realizes that no one is invulnerable, he points to the country’s resiliency to build forward.

“When someone has lost a loved one; a husband, a wife, a child, words can’t begin to describe how tough it is to try and start over.” mentioned Laurent.

When Courtois and his new teammates take the field on Saturday, they will no doubt do so with an extra emotion in the air.

Paying honor and respects to the victims of 9/11 for the first time during a match on US soil will indeed be a new experience for him.  

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