RSC Anderlecht’s players have already completed their first practice session. They trained one more time in Tegelen this morning, Friday 25th June 2010, before heading back to Brussels again. On Wednesday, before the afternoon training, RSCA.BE had a talk with Sacha Kljestan. The American looks back on his first week playing for Sporting and introduces himself to the Purple & White fans.
“I am glad to be part of the Anderlecht family”, Kljestan said. “I really feel at home here. I haven’t been able to see much of Brussels yet, but as soon as I’ve found a place to live, I’m going to explore the city. One thing I’m going to miss about LA? The candy”, he smiled.
The 24-year-old midfielder, who is hoping to learn French soon, has also adjusted well during training. “Things are great here in Tegelen: the environment’s pleasant, we’re staying at a nice hotel and training is also going well. I’m happy to be part of a group with so many talented players.” One of the midfielder’s strong points is the fact that he can play pretty much anywhere. “I’m a box-to-box midfielder, so I have both defensive and attacking qualities. Moreover, I run a lot and I’m also skilled at passing.” He owes a lot to his father, a former semi-professional player. “My father has always supported me and he has taught me a lot. He often took me and my older brother, who is currently playing for the second-division team FC Tampa Bay, to the park to practise.”
Before he became a pro player, the Californian played for the Seton Hall University team, where he majored in sports management. “That was an amazing time. Although I only completed three out of four years - because I wanted to start my professional career - it was wonderful to play for that team.” But Kljestan is most proud of his achievements as an international. “There have been two peaks in my career up until now: playing at the Olympics in Beijing and making it to the final of the Confederations Cup in 2009, which we unfortunately lost 2-3 to Brazil.” The midfielder always carries the memory of the Olympics, where he scored twice in three matches, with him. “On my left arm, I have a tattoo of the Olympic wreath, 2008 in roman numerals and the Latin word ‘Somnium’, which means ‘To Dream’. My other tattoo, ‘VGSK’, represents the initials of my sister, brother, father and mother.”
In his free time the international likes playing golf, watching movies and listening to music. “I like many different styles of music. The Red Hot Chili Peppers are my favourite band, but I also listen to a lot of hip-hop. I don’t really go to many concerts, but my girlfriend and I used to go to stand-up comedy shows back in LA.” Kljestan also plays Fifa 2010, the game for which he is a cover athlete - alongside Frank Lampard and Cuauhtémoc Blanco. “I mostly compete with other gamers online, I usually play with Chelsea. In the meantime, Romelu Lukaku has challenged me, he says he’s the king of the game here (smiles). The Sacha in the game? He plays a lot better than I do. Just kidding, it’s very realistic: his movements are exactly like mine.”
For Chivas, his former club, as well as for his national team, the Californian scored quite a few goals. “Hopefully the RSCA fans will also be able to watch me score soon”, he laughed. Kljestan, who is crazy about the Champions League, wants to continue last season’s Purple & White successes. “I hope that we can take the title again and that we will do good in Europe”, the likable American said.
Anderlecht will play their first friendly game of the season on the field of KSKL Ternat tonight at 7 p.m.