INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK: KYLE DUNCAN
Newcomer Kyle Duncan came over from New York Red Bulls and claimed his permanent place in the team since his arrival. We had an extensive chat with our American recruit.
Kyle, you've been here for a while. During the holidays you were still at home after a positive coronatest, but after New Year you trained full time and claimed your starting spot as well.
Everything is going well right?
Absolutely, I feel great here in Ostend. It's a bit quieter here than in New York (laughs), but that's not so bad. A friend of mine, who is also from New York but now lives in Germany, came to visit me the other day. He also found that it is very quiet here. In New York life never stands still, there is always something going on there. Here it is also very nice, but in a calm way.
You say it yourself, sometimes friends of yours come to visit. But do you have any family here?
No, family not yet. Occasionally I see some friends from America here, but that is all for now. It is the intention that my girlfriend comes here eventually. By the way, my family is very sporty, everyone plays soccer. My sister and brother play soccer and my parents often run. So I did get the right genes.
Soccer is not the number one sport in the United States. Why did you choose it?
To begin with, I am not very tall and firmly built. So the typical American sport of 'American Football' was out of the question for me. To play basketball you also have to be pretty big, but that's not me. Soccer seemed fun as a kid and without much thought I started. I soon found it a cool sport and I could see that I was pretty good at it. When I stand next to Freddie Jäkel or the new goalkeeper, I do sometimes think 'wow'. They are two or maybe three heads taller than me. I really have to look up sometimes when I'm talking to them. If they had been born in the USA they might have chosen American Football or basketball (laughs).
How did you end up at New York Red Bulls?
I wanted to play at a club where I could develop further and that was the case there. The way of playing at that club quickly appealed to me. I had been playing at Red Bulls since I was little, but when I was just about to grow up, I decided to try my luck in Europe. I went to Valenciennes FC, in France. But because of an injury, I didn't get much play there. I was out of action for three months and decided to return to my old roots to revalidate and get back to my old level. So my first adventure in Europe was not a great success but that did not discourage me, on the contrary. We are now a few years later and I want to make it in Europe.
And so that second adventure starts in Ostend. Did you expect to get to play so quickly here?
No, certainly not, but Markus did indeed drop me into the team very quickly. He sees a lot of growth potential in me and I know that about myself. I can still make many steps and those playing minutes are very useful for that. Experience is very important, and I'm gaining it now.
Are you surprised that KV Oostende had a difficult season so far?
Yes and no. On the one hand, we have a very young group with little experience. That's the philosophy of the club but you know it can cost points. Someone like Brecht Capon is therefore important, I can always ask him anything. That's the best I can do! On the other hand, I think there is enough quality in the core to climb a few places in the rankings. So let's hope we can show enough quality the next few weeks and get some points. We have started well in the last two games.
What are your further goals in your professional life?
I would just really like to inspire other people. There are a lot of young footballers like me in America and I want to show them that you really can achieve your dreams. If you believe in yourself and you work very hard, you can go far. There are still some US players playing in Germany and even here in Belgium, but my dream league is the Premier League. Liverpool is my favorite team, they really play the type of game I dream of. Yes, it is my dream to play there one day. Whether that will ever happen, I don't know. But I will keep working hard to keep making strides. Starting with this weekend's match against OH Leuven.
You've also been selected for the US national team. How far do your ambitions extend there?
Being able to represent your country at a World Cup, for example, that must be such a good feeling. That really is the greatest thing you can achieve as a footballer, isn't it? I definitely see it as possible to achieve that goal, but with players like Dest and Yedlin, the competition is fierce. So I will definitely have to prove myself to get there. But I'm working on that, step by step. I believe in myself and then a lot is possible. But first, I have to gather the necessary points with KVO."
Starting with Saturday against OH Leuven. Good luck Kyle!