GALL POISED FOR LORIENT PROGRESS
With the preseason set to begin for the top European leagues, FC Lorient and US U-18 forward Romain Gall is looking to have a big year for both club and country.
Gall, 18, recently came off an outstanding performance with the US U-18 national team last month where the U.S finished in second place at the 19th Annual International Juniors Tournament in Lisbon, Portugal.
In the opening game, the U.S cruised past the Czech Republic 3-0 with Gall scoring twice and assisting on another to have a hand in every goal. In the second game, the U.S drew hosts Portugal 1-1 and Gall once again scored the only American goal.
The U.S team bowed out with a 2-1 loss to Hungary in the finals but Gall was widely considered one of the best players in the tournament. He credits the style of play that coach Javier Perez has introduced as being key to the team's success.
"Playing with the U18s has been an honor," Gall told YA. "I truly enjoy reuniting with the team for camps and tournaments I think our age group has great potential and it is going to be good for the upcoming years. Playing under Coach Perez has been new for me because he introduced a completely new style of play to me and the team. This style is growing on us and we now understand it well and are able to produce it on the field."
Gall was born on January 31, 1995 in Paris where he developed his game. When he was seven, his father got a job offer in the United States so the entire family relocated to Herndon, Virginia. When he was 15, he received his American citizenship and passport.
While living in both France and the United States, his childhood idol was Ronaldinho. Watching the Brazilian inspired him to pursue a career in the sport in Europe.
"As I was growing up my biggest role model in soccer was Ronaldinho," Gall said. "He inspired me so much and made me love the game. I wanted to become a professional player after seeing him and realizing how much fun and how much I loved soccer. My first choice has always been to play professionally in Europe this is a dream for me and is all I am focused on."
Holding both French and American passports, Gall earned a trial with FC Lorient in 2011. It was a successful period for Gall who was asked to join the youth teams for the Ligue 1 club and is coming off a successful season in 2012/13 with Lorient's U19s. Next year he is aiming for the reserve team.
"My most recent season at Lorient with the u19s went pretty well and we finished the season in the top half of the standings," Gall explained. "For next season I want to keep improving and learning as a player and impose myself even more with the reserve team."
In just a few short months, the next U-20 cycle will begin for many of the players currently on the US U-18 and the U-17 teams. Gall is likely to be one of the players from the onset where he can help the US in several different positions.
Gall is versatile and plays either wing positions as well as central attacking midfield. For FC Lorient, he plays more on the wing positions and enjoys attacking soccer and creating chances. He is looking forward to transitioning his game to the US U-20s and becoming a cornerstone of the team from the start of the cycle.
"I really look forward to moving up with the U20 team," Gall said. "I see this transition as a challenge but with the progression I have made with the u18s I am confident that I can impose my game and fit in well with the team."
Presently in Virginia in the offseason, Gall watched today's US U-20 World Cup game against France. Growing up in France it was his dream at an early age to play for Les Bleus. In recent years, however, playing for the US U-18 team has been an experience he has enjoyed and looks forward to continuing.
He admits there were conflicting emotions watching the game but felt that the United states should be proud of the effort in earning the draw.
"Well playing for France has always been a childhood dream and it is my country, but I am also happy to play for the United States and it is an honor," Gall concluded. "I was very excited for the USA-France game I had a mutual feeling watching the game hoping both teams did well. I thought France was the stronger team but USA did not give up and kept fighting with their hearts and left with a result they should be happy with. Watching this definitely makes me hungry for the 2015 u20 WC. I hope to be a part of it one day."