James Rowe spoke with Seattle Sounder’s full-back Kelvin Leerdam. They spoke about his time at Feyenoord, winning the KNVB Cup with Vitesse Arnhem and adjusting to life in the U.S. 

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Below is a transcript of the interview

JR: ”My first question is to ask for your thoughts on the 3-0 home win against Colorado Rapids on 22 October. A deserved victory?”

KL:”It was a game that we had to win and it was not easy because we went down to 10 men early in the game at that point we were already 1-0 up and we were trying to defend our lead. Colorado Rapids also missed a penalty and they tried to make the game very physical and we have players that can cope with that. Colorado Rapids are a good side that reached the final of the Western Conference last year but we have a lot of intelligent players in our team that know how and when to attack and I believe that is one of our many qualities.”

JR: ”You moved to Seattle Sounders from the Netherlands in the summer. How are you finding your feet in U.S and Seattle. Are you enjoying it? ”

KL: ”I am really enjoying myself here in the U.S. I have been here 4 months and I must say that the time has gone quick. I have managed to discover a lot of Seattle and it’s a nice city. There is a lot to do in this city. Especially if you like nature. I also believe that the culture differences are not that different from the Netherlands.”

JR: ”You made over 100 appearances for Feyenoord. What are your highlights when you look back on your time in Rotterdam?”

KL: ”I experienced a lot with Feyenoord, Eredivisie, KNVB Cup, Europa League. My main highlight has to be involved in the youth setup there. As a young boy you dream of making an impression in order to be able to play at a professional club. I played 3 years in the youth teams and then I made my debut. I can only be positive about my time with Feyenoord. Feyenoord was fantastic for my development as a footballer but they also helped to shape the person I am today. I arrived at the club when I was 14 years old and the staff at Feyenoord saw me grow and they treated me really well throughout my time there. I have fantastic memories when I think back to my time at Feyenoord.”

JR: ”My next question is about your time with Vitesse Arhem. What was it like to be involved in the team that won the first trophy in the club’s 125 history? ”

KL: ”It’s also nice to never to be forgotten and that is what we achieved as a squad last season. We had a really good team with a good backroom staff. We had a tough start to the season last year up to October and after that I do not believe we lost a game for 3 months. We can look back with pride that we were one of the clubs that won one of the three trophies available in the Netherlands last season. It was also special with it being the first trophy that Vitesse Arnhem ever won in their history. It was a real team effort and we can be proud about what we achieved.”

JR: ”Not forgetting your manager at Vitesse Arnhem, Henk Fraser. What is his personality like? ”

KL: ”I have known Henk Fraser a long time. He is a good person and also very calm. He is somebody that demands that you work hard and do your thing. Also that you dare to make a mistake. If he sees that you are working hard to achieve something and that you have a good attitude then he is happy. I always got on well with him and we could always talk one to one if that was needed.”

JR: ”Finally on the subject of Vitesse Arnhem. They work closely with English club Chelsea F.C. Have you ever had the opportunity to play in the Premier League?”

KL: ”I did have the chance to go to a Premier League club in the past when I was at Feyenoord. Back then I was only 21 years old. I felt at that time that it was not the right decision for me. I would rather not name the team in question not because I do not want to say which team but because I have respect for all teams and it is also something in the past so it’s best to leave it there.”

JR: ”Could you say who is the best player that you have ever played with? ”

KL: ”It’s a very difficult question. I have played with many good footballers. I played with Georginio Wijnaldum, and Bertrand Traore, who was really good. Also Mephis Depay in Jong Oranje. I can name quiet a few. If I was to look back at the young players whom I played with then I would have to say Georginio Wijnaldum and Bertrand Traore. If I look at the older players from whom I learnt a lot then I would say Giovanni Van Bronckhorst, Denny Landzaat and Roy Makaay.”

JR: ”Who has been the most difficult opponent you have ever faced?”

KL: ”The most difficult opponent, well up until now there is only one opponent that gave me a really tough time. At 18 years old I played against Eljero Elia when he played at FC Twente, during my first season at Feyenoord. He played really well in that particular game and believe it or not we played each other last season for the first time since then. But in that game I managed to get him back not in terms of kicking but more for my own honour.”

JR: ”Finally who is the best manager you ever played under?”

KL: ”I can name a few because I have good memories as regards to a lot of managers Peter Bosz especially in his training methods and we also got on very well together. I learnt the most from Ronald Koeman in my two seasons under him and also Leon Vlemmings (Current Go Ahead Eagles manager) and I must also not forget Jean-Paul van Gastel.”

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