YA BEST XI: SACHA KLJESTAN
After a nearly two-year hiatus, we reboot one of our most popular features. To kick off the new (old?) Best XI, we quizzed Sacha Kljestan with your questions.
I) What do you think you need to do/improve on in order to have more opportunities with the men's national team?
- Pete Wilson, Pine Hill, New Jersey
I always think that I can improve on everything I do whether its heading or shooting or scoring more often. I'm always looking to improve my game. I just read today that Messi said that he can improve as well so I think all of us as footballers, we can improve until the day that we stop playing. All aspects of my game can get better.
II) What was the biggest game you've ever played in? Special memory from that game?
- Mark Ferrante, Howell,New Jersey
I guess the two most important games were the Gold Cup final and the Confederations Cup final. Unfortunately both times we lost.
And I guess also the big one was at the end of the season with Anderlecht when we clinched the championship against Brugge. That was a memorable game!
III) How did your youth career experience shape you into the player you've become, were there any trainers/coaches or other teammates/opposing players who had influenced your style of play?
- Darren Saucedo, West Covina, California
I'd say there are two people that influenced me the most in my youth career; one would be my brother. Getting to play with him, he was two years older than me, and getting to train with his team mates was nice, being 13-14 and playing against 15-16 year olds helped to develop my game faster.
Then my college coach Manny Schellscheidt; I owe a lot to him for giving me the opportunity to succeed.
IV) Will you get Belgian citizenship?
- Michael Gray, Lompoc, California
We'll see. It depends on how long I stay in Belgium, but if there is an opportunity I will probably take it.
V) How does the current state of the MLS encourage players to move to Europe versus honing their games in the States?
- Thomas Smith, Houston, Texas
Its a give and take. MLS is getting better and better every season. You know, its getting stronger with big name players from Europe coming to MLS.
A lot of young talent in MLS is certainly growing, the league is growing, there are a lot of fans at every game and we have a lot of support in the country. Certainly the money can be better for younger players as in Europe so thats an advantage you've got to try to take, if you can.
Also its a lifestyle choice. You have to choose if you want to live in the States and have a comfortable life or do you want to come to Europe and experience something new. So I guess its different for every player.
VI) I am looking to trial with some clubs in Scandinavia after college and I was wondering what is the most important thing to focus on before and during the trials.
- Zachariah Walker, Atlanta, Georgia
I've never gone on trial before, but I would say be as sharp as you can when you come to training, make sure you're 100% fit to train with the team and certainly give your best in every training (session).
Make sure you've left everything on the field when you walk away where you can say that you've done everything you could to make that team.
VII) A few years back I asked Benny Feilhaber who the funniest guy on the USMNT was and he said you. Shortly afterward, Charlie Davies arguably took that role after his bizarre videos featuring, then-roommate, Stuart Holden. Do you still believe you hold the title of funniest US international?
- Andrew Mintz, Houston, Texas
I don't know. I certainly try to make everybody laugh, I try to make everybody in the group happy and have a good time.
When you're in with the national team its a special feeling because you're all Americans and you don't get to see each other so often, so when we do we're always having fun, we're always joking. I don't know if I'm still the jokester of the team because I haven't been there recently but I'll take that title, no problem at all!
VIII) How's the French and Flemish lessons coming along?
- Felix Gartner, Chicago, Illinois
Flemish, not so great. Now our new coach doesn't speak French - he speaks English and Dutch so I'll have to try to pick some up. The French came along great.
I think in the two years that I've been here I picked it up very well and I would say that I can speak 60-70%. It's good. I enjoy the language; I think it's a beautiful language and I'm glad I learned it.
IX) What do you want to do with your life after soccer?
- Barry Smith, Jacksonville, Florida
I don't know. I've got a couple things up in the air that I'm not really sure on. I don't know if I want to be on the managing side of the game, I don't know, maybe make a good commentator.
I'm also interested in fashion so I might get into something like that if I turn totally away from soccer. So we'll see!
X) Of all the countries and cities your life has taken you too, which is your most favorite place and why?
- Monica Fuller, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
New York City!
I think playing at Seton Hall and being close to New York City was a great experience, and then playing in MLS for almost five years. Every time we had an away game at New York Red Bulls it was a special feeling for me and getting to spend time in New York City throughout my life, whether it was for playing or going for vacation, it's my favorite city in the world.
XI) What is best food that you have been introduced to over in Belgium? And the worst!?
- Greg Barnet, Apex, North Carolina
I don't think its the worst but just personally for me I'm not a big seafood fan so the mussels are not for me. But the best, its probably that Flemish beef stew - the Flemish Carbonnade!