Friday, May 14, 2010

Sunil Chhetri interview - 5/13/2010

I talked with Sunil about the Asian Football Cup, his progress since joining Kansas City and his adapting to the new team and country.



When Sunil arrived in Kansas City, he looked a bit lost in practice. He was completely out of sync with his teammates and was clearly not used to the speed of the play in MLS. His skill with the ball, finishing touch and nose for the goal were undeniable though.

The first couple weeks were pretty tough on Sunil. He was trying to adjust to a new country, a new team, a new sleep schedule and a much faster and more physical style of play. His coaches and teammates welcomed him and helped ease the transition.

Each practice I attended Sunil improved. His passes became crisper, more on target. He was learning where his teammates were and where they would be. He was adapting his runs and learning how to play with bigger opponents.

Interestingly though, for being one of the shorter players on the field he does not have any issue with going up and routinely winning headers against much taller players. In fact he is one of the best on the team in the air.

So good in fact, that he helps others. After practice on Thursday, a coach had pulled one of the younger players to the side to work on snapping headers down and to the side. After a couple minutes of unsuccessful teaching, he pulled Chhetri over to demonstrate. Sunil and the other player alternated jumping up, heading a ball down over an obstacle and into a small practice goal. When Chhetri would miss or bounce one off the goal post he would demand another try, unwilling to fail.

This accurately demonstrates Sunil.

Willing to try over and over.

Unwilling to fail.

While I still think Chhetri is not ready to start in MLS, I would not be surprised if he makes it onto the bench in the near future.
 
Sunil Chhetri during the Brass game...
 
Sunil during the game against the Brass

4 comments:

  1. Excellent, interview, articles and pics. I love the fact that a club is taking it easy with a new player and letting the newcomer find their way in. Good thinking that should pay off in the long run.

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  2. Great wesbite and a great interview in specific.

    Glad to know that Chettri is enjoying his time there and hanging out with his new set of friends. As you've pointed out that his passes are getting crisper and his fitness sharper, I just hope he is able to wait for his turnt o start in the MLS without getting really disappointed/ dishearted.

    What does he mean when he says that the coach has asked him to work on his defensive skills?? Why does he need defensive skills?

    Another question I have is how does Chettri fare in face of tough tackling? He didn't have to face much of that in India.

    Thanks a lot and keep up the good work.
    Poorvi

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  3. @Poorvi - Sunil needs defensive skills because he is beibng asked to play more defensively than he has in the past. The Wizards play a high pressure defense starting with the forwards.

    I have seen him take a couple hard tackles in scrimmages. He has handled it pretty well I would say. Recovering quickly and getting back in the game.

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  4. get him on the bench soon plz

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