Mittwoch, 12. Oktober 2011

Interview with Preston Zimmerman (SV Darmstadt 98)

Check out the interview with former US Youth national player Preston Zimmerman. Preston just signed with SV Darmstadt 98 from the 3. Bundesliga. We talked about his former clubs, his time in Germany and his future.

GERMANY SOCCER TRAVELER: Congratulations on scoring your first goal in the 3. Bundesliga. It was a very important goal against a very strong team, Preußen Münster.

PRESTON ZIMMERMAN: Thanks a lot! It was a very important win after losing three games in a row.

GERMANY SOCCER TRAVELER: Your personal statistics and the game critics look good in the 3. Bundesliga (7 games/1 goal). How do you feel in Darmstadt?

PRESTON ZIMMERMAN: I feel very comfortable in Darmstadt. It is very close to Mainz and you can almost call it my home here in Europe.

GERMANY SOCCER TRAVELER: Did you know the nickname (Lily-the flower) of the team before you signed the contract? Did you also know about the rich history of the club?

PRESTON ZIMMERMAN: A lot of friends mentioned the big fan base and the long history of my new club. They/we are well known all over the country. I was looking for a club like Darmstadt. That was one of the reasons why I signed for them!

You mentioned the strong fan base. The fans probably expect a lot from the team wouldn’t you say? What is your goal with the team?

PRESTON ZIMMERMAN: The supporters are very important for the club. They were the reason why the club ended up escaping the threat of bankruptcy a couple years back and also the reason for becoming a force in the professional soccer business again. The fans did a great job and can be proud of their work. I just want to achieve the best with the club.

GERMANY SOCCER TRAVELER: Lets talk about your soccer career in Europe. Can you give us some short information about your previous clubs?

You signed your first deal with the big Hamburger SV at the age of 17.

PRESTON ZIMMERMAN: That is correct, Hamburg SV was my first club in Germany. I had a fantastic time there. Hamburg is probably one of the nicest cities in the world.

SV Kapfenberg (in Austria) was my second club. I was able to gain a lot of experience in a first Division team in a different country.

My third club and also my second chance in my soccer career was the FSV Mainz 05. There I was able to get back on my feet and also able to enjoy my new beginning. It was one of my best times so far.

SV Darmstadt 98 in my new club now. It is wonderful to play for such a great organization. The fans show a lot of emotion during the game and I just want the best for the club.

GERMANY SOCCER TRAVELER: Lets get back to the second club, after you left Hamburg. SV Kapfenberg was not the best experience for you. There you learned the other side of the soccer business!

PRESTON ZIMMERMAN: Yes, it was not the best time for me in Austria and I would like to forget about it. I couldn’t understand the reaction, after I refused to extend my contract with the club. I never had the intention to stay in Austria. I always wanted to go back to Germany, where I felt much more comfortable. It was a hard time for me. But I am very happy that I won the legal battles that ensued against the club. I came back and it made me much stronger.

GERMANY SOCCER TRAVELER: You signed a deal with the 1. FSV Mainz 05 after Austria. What kind of a feeling was it to let everything behind?

PRESTON ZIMMERMAN: It was a great feeling to be back in Germany. I played for a club, who is/was represented by great people. They have good hearts, treated me with respect, and just wanted the best for me and I was never worried about a similar situation like the SV Kapfenberg incident. It was good to be back in a professional environment.

GERMANY SOCCER TRAVELER: I saw your interview after the big win against Preußen Münster on German TV. The interview was in fluent German. How important is it to learn the language and adapt to the new culture?

PRESTON ZIMMERMAN: It is very important to learn the language and adopt to the culture. You show your respect to the country and the people. They will respect you if you respect them and their culture. It makes everything so much easier. I couldn’t speak German when I arrieved in Germany. But now I speak German fluently and through that I have been able to make a lot of new friends.

GERMANY SOCCER TRAVELER: More and more american players are playing in Europe and in Germany. I read that you played with Neven Subotic (BVB Dortmund) in the US youth national team. Do you have contact to other american players in Germany?

Yes, I do. I have a lot of contact to other americans in Germany. But I talk a lot to Jared Jeffrey from Mainz 05 and Amaechi Igwe from SV Babelsberg 03 (3. Bundesliga).

GERMANY SOCCER TRAVELER: Famliy and friends are very important in life. It’s kind of hard in your situation. Most of them are living in the USA. Are your parents or friends coming often to “Good old Germany”?

PRESTON ZIMMERMAN: My parents come twice a year to Germany. I fly to the Staates twice a year. My best friend also comes sometimes to Germany. It is all good!

GERMANY SOCCER TRAVELER: What are you doing in your free time? Are you still following hockey (another interview mentioned the past of P.Zimmerman’s super hockey career)?

PRESTON ZIMMERMAN: In my free time I hang out with my girlfriend, play Xbox 360, go shopping, or meet friends in Mainz, Wiesbaden or Frankfurt am Main or just relax at home.

Yes, I still watch a lot of NHL and I follow my favourite team, the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Do you also follow the MLS (Major League Soccer). What do you think about the transfers from the older european stars like (David Beckham, Thierry Henry, Frank Rost, Torsten Frings)?

I think it doesn’t show any respect towards the young and talented American players. It doesn’t help anybody, if a young, good player sits on the bench. They cannot get anything out of it. I would like to see more money in the youth development.

I could understand, if some Germans say the same about my situation in Germany. But the salary is the big difference between these guys and me. I don’t earn millions of dollars and the German Soccer Association has some rules to protect young local players so that they aren’t stuck sitting on the bench having to surrender their spots to older foreign imports.

GERMANY SOCCER TRAVELER: Last question for you? What was your funniest moment in your career so far?

PRESTON ZIMMERMAN: Well, one game (I wouldn’t like to say which one) I fell on the way from the locker room to the pitch. It was infront of the whole supportes and super embarrassing. At the end, I laughed about it. It must have looked very funny.

GERMANY SOCCER TRAVELER: Thank you for the interview and we wish you all the best.

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