BRENDAN WIMBERLY - Monday, September 16, 2013
After making his first team debut in early August, 19 year-old Fortuna Sittard striker Dion Watson is hoping to become the next American to excel in the Dutch professional ranks.
"Once you know what it feels like to play in a stadium with the crowd around you, you just want more and more. You know what you're working for and my debut gave me an extra boost to work even harder," Watson told Yanks Abroad.
Born in Melbourne, Florida to a Dutch mother and a father in the US Air Force, Watson moved across the Atlantic at a young age. "I was born in Florida...after living there for six years, I moved to Holland." Despite living in another country for the majority of his life, Watson still holds on to his American passport, saying, "I consider myself Dutch as well as American."
Watson soccer journey began with local youth club UOW2 Landgraaf. From there, a successful trial with Fortuna Sittard got him into the club's youth academy in 2008. "Sometimes good times, sometimes some bad times (with the youth academy)" said Watson, " I had to give up a lot of things like parties and didn't see my friends that much. I was always fully focused on soccer."
Watson's perseverance paid off, and earlier this season he made his first appearance for Fortuna's first team, who are currently competing in the Dutch second division."It felt so good." Watson said of his debut, "When the game is done, you go back home and you start thinking. After a few minutes you're so excited that you finally made it to this point where you've always wanted to be."
When asked what players he admires and tries to emulate his own game after, Watson listed global icons Robin van Persie and Didier Drogba as well as a player United States and Dutch fans are very familiar with. "Altidore...He is very strong and knows how to defeat his opponent. It's too bad that he left (AZ Alkmaar) this season." Despite limited coverage of the USMNT in Holland, Watson is a fan of his birth country's national team and says he looks forward to rooting for them in next summer's World Cup.
As a dual citizen, Watson is eligible to represent both the US and Holland internationally, and insists that he would be honored to represent either one, "I would play for the team that would ask me first." says Watson "If the US national team asked me, I wouldn't hesitate for a second!"
Having made two substitute appearances this season, as well as being a part of coach Will Boessen's 18-man roster in each of Fortuna's last four games, Watson is eager for his chance to cement his role on the team, "I hope I will be playing a lot more this season. It's time to prove myself."