HOT ON TRIAL AT 'GLADBACH
As US U-20 head coach Thomas Rongen prepares to put together his team for World Cup qualifying, one player who could be a surprise pick is central defender Sacir Hot who is trialing at Borussia Monchengladbach.
While the club did not release the details of his visit, Hot says that he was set up to train with the Bundesliga team through a contact and he also has plans to play at Borusia Dortmund afterward.
Hot, 19, recently arrived in Germany recently and says things have gone well so far.
"I'm going to be training with Borussia Monchengladbach for almost a week and it's sort of a trial slash training," Hot told YA. "They like me so far and I've impressed the coaching staff so we will see what happens from there."
OnTuesday, Hot made his competitive debut during his trial when he played for Borussia Monchengladbach's U-23 team in a 1-0 loss to Duisburg. The Boston College man was very happy with how things went.
"It was great. I played alongside the first team defender Dante and I met [Michael] Bradley today," Hot said of his game. "I will most likely train with the first team tomorrow. I'm more than happy because I haven't played this well since the summer because of my injury. "
Hot's time in Germany marks the first time he is playing with a major European club and while it was initially intimidating, he is confident he is settling in nicely.
"Well I was nervous at first since I don't have a lot of overseas experience," Hot admitted. "It was a first time for me but at the end of the day I played my game and easily fit in with the rest of the team."
"My initial impression on the club was what I thought it was going to be," he continued."Very organized and dedicated to their team and youth. They treat all their youth as if they were the first team."
Rongen has repeatedly stressed his desire to have professional players and Hot is only one of about four college players with a serious chance at making the US U-20 roster for either the World Cup or World Cup qualifying.
Hot, who has still retained his NCAA eligibility despite going on trial, acknowledges that college soccer has its flaws but is happy with how things have gone for him at Boston College.
"I feel that college soccer is what you make of it," Hot discussed. "I see so many guys that excel and I see players who just stop playing soccer. If you want to get better there are resources and it will help you but if you let the distractions get to you it could be the end of it."
"Boston College has improved my game for sure," he added. "I really was nothing to special before I came to college but working with the coaching staff and our environment made me a lot better."
Also at the core of Hot's development were the New York Red Bulls. As a native of Fair Lawn, New Jersey, Hot developed at the Red Bull Academy where he played alongside other talented New Jersey youngsters such as Juan Agudelo.
Hot enjoyed his experience with the Academy and realizes the possibility could be there to begin professional career
"The Red Bulls have made me into what I am right now," Hot said bluntly. "The Academy is getting better and better every year and it makes me want to be young again. I would be more than happy to play for the Red Bulls especially for what the organization has done for me."
Now that he is in Germany playing for elite teams and has also played for a top MLS academy, Hot could find himself with a decision as to whether or not to begin his career in Europe or MLS.
"It depends on the situation," Hot said of where to start his pro career. "It seems like a lot of Americans that are young and try to come over to play in Europe end up being loaned out and really falling off the map. Maybe it's better to get some good experience in the MLS since its getting better every year but if the environment is right here overseas I could see myself here."
Also a priority for Hot is the US U-20 national team which he has been a part of since his first camp in June.
"Well my first camp was in San Jose and I started off the camp really [poorly] to be honest," Hot recalled. "But I have to give credit to Tim Mulqueen and the rest of the coaching staff for helping me feel welcome. I like Rongen's philosophy towards the game especially for the defenders. He gives us confidence to play out the back which is one of my strengths."
Hot is well aware that year's US U-20 team is one of the toughest teams to make but he is happy for the challenge. He is coming off a solid January camp with the U-20 team which could put him in a good position with Rongen.
"It will be very tough since I'm coming back from a long injury," Hot said of making the World Cup qualifying team. "I'm still trying to get back where I used to be. The competition at [central defense] is really tough because we have great players. It will be tough for the coaches but that's how it should be."
After being part of the Milk Cup championship winning team where his time was limited with an injury and being a part of the January camp that featured most of the top players, Hot is excited for this team's ability to compete against top teams in this World Cup year.
Hot is a dual citizen with Montenegro and was even called into the Montenegro U-21 team this past September. Hot declined as he was in the middle of his NCAA season. His top priority is with the US but he affirms that he will consider Montenegro if the US doesn't work out.
For now though, he is excited to have a chance with the US U-20 national team who he feels can have a special year ahead of them.
"In all honesty I think this is a very, very good team," Hot concluded. "We have such good soccer players but also good people. Our team has a lot of character and we are not afraid to play any team. We just have to be mentally strong and we will go far – that's for sure."