The first general media availability for Sporting Kansas City occurred over the weekend and one of the most requested interviews seemed to be new attacker Yohan Croizet. Sporting KC signed Croizet to a Designated Player contract in December but it all started well before that.
“It is very simple,” Croizet replied when asked how he came to Kansas City. “Brian (Bliss, SKC Director of Player Personnel) came to Belgium, one month I think, he came to my games five or six times and after that, we spoke together. He invited me to come visit the club, see the city. Before when I was young I wanted to play in MLS but when you are young you are not ready, not mature. Now I think it is a good moment to try this challenge.”
Impressed with Kansas City
“I saw the new training center one month ago, it is pretty nice and big. I never see this in Europe, now for the team, it is a big chance to train and play here,” Croizet raved about the National Training and Coaching Development Center. Sporting KC will train there when they come back from Arizona.
“In Europe, I never see anything like this, it is really different. In Belgium, I last played in Mechelen, a really, really small city. It is nice but it is not like Kansas City,” Croizet said. A native of Sarrebourg, France, Croizet grew up in a small town with a population of 13,000 and the last two cities he where he played in Belgium were both less than 100,000 so Kansas City is looking large.
“It is really big, not like Europe,” Croizet continued. “I went to tour apartments and the view of the city I like. It’s really, really big.”
Wait till he travels to New York and Los Angeles.
What is his style?
Croizet has wanted to play in MLS for a while but he didn’t want to come to Sporting KC just because it was MLS, he took a look at SKC’s style before saying yes. “On the youtubes and with the coaches when we spoke, it fits my personality,” the 25-year-old Frenchmen explained. “I know this team likes to press really hard, I like also this. Also because I like to play with the other players, I don’t like to play a long ball and run, run, run. They say to me, don’t worry, this team we like to play together like a family. This is my character.”
Sporting KC had the highest possession percentage last year in MLS and Croizet feels like he will fit right in. “It’s really my philosophy on football. I watch every game on Barcelona because it is really my philosophy of the way I want to play on the field. I think this team is really good for me.”
Croizet was sitting with Ilie Sanchez and Cristian Lobato at the event. When he was asked if he realized they both came from Barcelona, Croizet replied. “I am really impressed with this and also players for the U.S. National Team. There is a lot of skill on this team.”
It is always interesting to see who new team members might compare themselves to around the world. For Croizet, it did not take long to answer. “Most of the time I like to see Mesut Özil, he plays for Arsenal. I don’t play like him of course but he is inspiration, you know. When I see videos of him I like to play like him, similar yes. I like to play like him, give the good pass, this is my point of view.”
Croizet has played mainly all over the attack for his last two clubs. Right and left wing, right and left mid, center forward and even some defensive mid. Looking at his stats he appears to have had the most success as an attacking mid, the number ten spot.
Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes will not commit to where he may play Croizet, pointing out he can play wing, midfield, up to four possible positions. Vermes may not know where, or more likely not saying where he thinks his new attacker will play but if you ask Croizet he knows where he prefers.
“Really for me, my best position is number 10, just behind the striker. A lot of the game in Belgium I play on the right side, I like that also but I don’t feel really good there. If I play the number 10 I can play free,” Croizet explained.
SKC recently traded Benny Feilhaber, a popular player who has been the main attacking midfielder so the 10 spot seems to be open for competition. For Croizet, like any player, he just wants to get on the field. “If the coach says for this game I need you on the right side, no problem I will do my best for me and the team.”
Anywhere on the field needed, even keeper? “Never,” Croizet quickly responded.