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Klukowski: "I want work still harder" After winning the country title Michael Klukowski with club lost brugge the bekerfinale. Not so long ago zat new behind still in the French eighth divisie. Source: Sport/football magazine The timing of Michael Klukowski is terrible. He had been in 2003, then drawer Louvière for the time first since its establishment in 1912, the goblet of Belgium had won, as well as then it made one's debut afterwards against Benfica Lisbon. And he left there exactly on time to play in brugge for the third twice in 111 years. "now weet I certainly that it a good choice was already in January to club go in flat of season" next just, laughed he last week in the expectancy of the bekerfinale. Months still six in drawer Louvière do not remain, whereas the transfer was already regulated, found I interestingly. I knew that I start here in on the bank would sit, but I saw that not as a disadvantage. Eventual has appeared that that situation allowed me adapt me slowly. I did not know busy of immediately to have perform in a new plough. For that I put you directly two bad matchings had played. What there dàn happen? Club brugge caught Saturday the double niét. The roots van Michael Klukowski lie in Poland. To be parents come from Warsaw. Mother was topschaatser, father worked at the mail. In 1981, they fled Communism and emigrated to Canada. "they wanted make something of their life", tell Michael. The choice was Australia or Canada, there layers enormous possibilities and still. It became Canada. Underway he came in the world. Because there was from Poland no direct flight, she had with the car by means of Austria to Switzerland. But my mothers were hoogzwanger of me and could not the plane on. Could not return. Eventually they remained with my brother to after the labour at family in Amstetten, a small village in Austria. Then I three months was, props we the Atlantic ocean concerning. I never more has been since then in Amstetten, but on a day I passing away there certainly. In Canada the Klukowski's established themselves firstly in Québec, a year later in the suburbs of Toronto. Mother went there work in a products house, father in a restaurant. Michael grew with its three years older brother Adam between the migrant children. He distinguished himself in run and play basketball, but football was its thing. It sits in blood. My father did not play soccer still, but on professional area, and my father before and after the second world war very good peak hours would be are in Poland and Germany. I encounter sometimes old coaches who to say that he was not a large player, but at the good moment. My mother emphasised gladly the importance of to study, they it without very, my father wanted gladly that I footballer became. I could play also ijshockey of him, but I wanted that not. After school we went, my brother and I, frequently with him sjotten. Of then I heal small was, had I a good staircase with left. My father always said that I had use judge also my, but that was not obvious. The last years I frequently worked on my judge and made I much progress. I scored much. If I aim saw, I kicked. I was linksvoetige peak hours and in my first match I made there already immediately five. Indoor. Change almost every year I of club. I was well and I zocht to the best plough, because I wanted play gladly champion. You me say would have had for my arrival to Euipa that I would become later at club brugge profvoetballer if verdediger, I had explained you crazy person. In my eyes was that impossible, because I did not love defend. Already I must say that I start héél in keeper wanted become. Aks I with vriendjes then frequently played, stood I with hand shoes on the field. Then Michael Klukowski 15 years were, tested he by means of Wlodek Lubanski at Lokeren and Standard. But he could not remain. I managed then with Standard an international tournament in rijsel and that went good, but I was young and they were not take me. My father had ensured that I could test in Belgium. He in Toronto van Lato had got the number of Lubanski and him had rung with the question if I was not possible to Europe. He saw that I had brio and did not want that be messed, he reasoned: to become prof, must he here as soon as possible gone. I only travelled to Brussels, where Lubanski waited for me. I was it ordinary. Then I seven years was, already only flew I of Canada to Poland at my grandparentses on visit to go. Seven and a half hour flies. That for me a problem has never been. For some others, however. I know players who got the chance just like I for Canada to leave, but did not face the challenge and remained where they were. He nevertheless left two years later to Europe. It the good time became, already its path would not run concerning rozen. Frans-Canadese a broker ensured a training period at Saint-Etienne. Whereupon that sent me on their costs to Dijon. I lived there a year on hotel. Saint-Etienne paid there everything. A difficult time, because I there was only, none French spoke and the training at night was. I finished there my studies. I studied there by posts. Examinations did I in Dijon under the guidance of a French teacher who my kopij to Toronto faxte. I played there as peak hours at min-17-jarigen. A beautiful championship. Games against Lyon, Saint-Etienne, Sochaux. But the first plough missed promotion, complete staff disappeared and I zat without club. I tested afterwards at rijsel, which me lent to Tourcoing. There as attacking middenvelder, behind, played I a good pierce season in the fifth divisie. In the CFA, the Championnat the France amateur. After six months I could meetrainen already with rijsel. I signed there an agreement for two years. But the first season I could not even participate at the reserves. Them used me as defending middenvelder and I knew problems with the adaptation there. I sailed that year in the third plough, in the eighth divisie. Play soccer on synthetic fields against small clubs with boys who played sometimes rather brutally. The second season I central verdediger became, because it was injured there in the back of at the reserves someone. I have remained and played all games. Fourth divisie was that. We went up. That has been an important year, in which very much were tactically trained. I also a couple time as behind was finished, but then felt themselves I better central. You must run there less and your antagonist stands there more often with the back to the aim then on the flank. With a good timing and a good head game I can you in the centre of maintaining easily, find incorporate myself. Drawer Louvière came obtain him in rijsel. He signed are first there real profcontract. The warmth of the club found him, he felt himself there sticking out between the vele young expatriate. Ariël Jacobs put him hurries himself immediately in the plough, as behind still. Michael Klukowski brugge made one's debut and scored for the first time against GBA with a staircase of on 25 meters against club. In its first profjaar he won the goblet of Belgium, in its Second he played for the Uefacup against Benfica. He could be known as a biped player with a good position game and a hard worker who remains in all circumstances cool and seldom catches yolk. In France I also played especially 4-4-2, such as this season with Albert Cartier at drawer Louvière, whereas I hurry myself in Belgium every weekend discoveries made. Because here almost as many tactical alternatives are such as there plough are. Ariël Jacobs frequently adapted to the antagonist, there I learned also much of. After 2.5 year he left Louvière at drawer. Not to RC Genk, which sold the vel of the bear in the media for he were shot, but to club brugge. He also changed that time of broker. Jacques Liechtenstein for Michael Beck. That is an in fact more friend then a manager. I know him of at rijsel, where he was prof and because of a blessure early its career had conclude. He had me always said that he manager wanted become and cooperates now with Martin Dahlin. He lives in rijsel, we encountered each other regular and he gave me regular Council. When club communicated himself brugge, its recommendation was also: more better club brugge than Genk. It plays every season for the first and always takes part in the Champions League or the Uefabeker. That is nevertheless not unimportant, if your weet that some players in large clubs in Italy and United Kingdom played soccer never in the Champions League. He was obtained as a substitute for peter of of the Heyden, who plays next season at Wolfsburg. Long zat he on the bank, but since the enkeloperatie of of of the Heyden has been he basis player. There in the competition game on drawer Louvière a good irruption turn had already preceded. He substituted then Nastja Ceh, tested immediately its long shot and ensured the assist at the delivering second goal of Gert Verheyen. In the goblet game on drawer he started Louvière as a defending middenvelder and finished he there on the linkerflank. The expectations are that he it will make brugge at club. "I am possible still improve", find he. If I there what will have more games opzitten, physical will be still grown and entirely in rhythm will sit. Eventually I did not play nevertheless a complete time. At brugge energy there more is progress, here I can develop my offensive qualities further. There space here more on the flanken lies, because the antagonists wait our, thereby especially conclude the centre and the they sides release. But defend well, is for a verdediger still most important. Question is offensive take riscico's at the good moment. Trond Sollied are a coach who puts players at their ease. We know what we must do and he is very quiet. We always train with the ball, improve donot can find you it as a footballer. Perhaps work you still harder than if you must frequently run in the bunch, but you feel and you realise it also not, because it is at the same time pleasant. Club brugge will not be be last club. Such as Tomasz Radzinski in United Kingdom play soccer, is its ultimate dream. For Canadians the premier League dé is European competition. "I hope there on a day of getting a chance", nod he. I love the English game style, but with that am I now not busy. Now club brugge counts. To be parents return soon to their roots in Poland. Its brother will not do that. He left two years hotel school in Warsaw, played soccer there in the meantime at amateur level and works now in the buurt of Toronto as a manager in a hotel. Michael learned know then wer its girlfriend Justyna in Warsaw. They live together in Wasquehal, in the agglomeration rijsel. In September is possible she to the battle in a hairdresser's salon in vieux Lille. "I want work still harder than formerly", decide he am tale, improve still to do. I can reason also: three years club brugge, I am at my ease. But this way I am not. It can very fast bergaf go in football, saw I already at some. For its neck a kruisje hangs. He not only stands. I go regular to the church and I pray every evening at home. If I my parcours bekijk and the difficult moments in France which I passed certainly, then weet I that god has helped me thereby. But I am someone who prays in good times still more than in bad. I made myself also never nervously, because I knew: I do not succeed in Europe, then I return and will I study in the United States. Why then frightened is? Friday 3 June 2005 for 10.09

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Fun with Babelfish!

"But my mothers were hoogzwanger of me and could not the plane on"

"Of then I heal small was, had I a good staircase with left."

"I could play also ijshockey of him, but I wanted that not." (Yoda?)

"I scored much. If I aim saw, I kicked" (is that haiku?)

"a hard worker who remains in all circumstances cool and seldom catches yolk" (that much is obvious, no yolk on this guy!))

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An hour of Dutch practice for me, a slightly-better-than-babelfish translation for you. I apologize if the English is a bit stiff; it tends to be that way when I translate things. I had to guess in a few places (my Dutch is, umm, not that good), but I think the point gets across. It seemed a bit strange to translate this article, because mostly it is just a transcription of Klukowski talking, and he probably gave the interview in English, or possibly French. Still, here it is.

Klukowski: "I want to work harder"

After winning the national championship Michael Klukowski lost in the cup final with Club Brugge. Not so long ago the left-back was playing in the French eighth division..

Bron: Sport/Voetbal Magazine

Michael Klukowski's timing is wonderful. He was there in 2003 when La Louvière won the Belgiaun Cup for the first time since 1912, and when the team took on Benfica Lissabon. And he left there just in time to play for just the third Belgian double in 111 years..

"Now I know for sure that I made a good choice to go to Club (Brugge) in January instead of the start of next season", he joked last week in the lead-up to the cup final.

"Staying with La Louvière for 6 months, with the transfer already settled, didn't interest me. I knew that in the beginning here I would be sitting on the bench, but I didn't look at it as a disadvantage. It appeared that in this situation I would be brought along slowly. I didn't feel the pressure of having to impress immediately with a new club. Imagine if I had played two bad matches to start. What would happen then?

Club Brugge didn't win the double on Saturday..

Michael Klukowski's roots lie Poland. His parents come from Warsaw. His mother was a top-skater, his father worked for the post office. In 1981 they fled the communist country and emigrated to Canada.

"They wanted to make something of their lives", tells Michael. "The choice was between Australia and Canada, where there were great opportunities. In the end, it was Canada they chose."

On the way Michael came into the world

"Because there were no direct flights out of Poland, they had to drive to Switzerland, via Austria. But my mother was already quite pregnant with me and couldn't fly. Going back wasn't an option. Eventually, my parents and my brother stayed with family in Amstetten, a small village in Austria. When I was three months old, we crossed the Atlantic. I haven't been back to Amstetten since, but I'll certainly go back someday."

In Canada the Klukowski's settled first in Quebec, and a year later moved to the outskirts of Toronto. Michael's mother went to work at a warehouse, his father at a restaurant. Michael grew up with this brother, older by three years, amongst other immigrant children. He participated in basketball and track, but football was thing. It was in his blood.

"My father played football, but not at a professional level, and my grandather was a good striker in Poland and Germany before and after the Second World War. I spoke to one of his old coaches that said he could have been a great player, but he played at the wrong time."

"My mother emphasized the importange of my studies, without putting any pressure on me, while my father dreamed that I would become a footballer. He also would have been glad if I played ice hockey, but I didn't want to. My brother and I would often go after school to shoot with him. Since I was quite little, I had a good kick with my left foot. My father always said that I also needed to use my right foot, but that hasn't always been apparent. In the last few years I've worked a lot on my right foot and I have made a lot of progress."

"I scored a lot. If I saw the goal, I would shoot. I was a left=ftooed striker in my first patch and I immediately scored five goals. Indoors. I changed teams almost every year. I was good and I was looking for the best team, because I wanted to play for the champions. Had you told me before I came to Europe that I would be playing professionaly for Club Brugge as a defender, I would have said you were crazy. In my eyes, it was impossible, because I didn't like defending. I should also say that in the beginning I wanted to be a keeper. If I was playing with my friends, I would often be the one with the gloves on."

When Michale Klukowski was 15, he was given trials via Wlodek Lubanski at Lokeren and Standard (Liege). But he didn't stay.

I played in an international tournament with Standard in Lille, and it went well, but I was young and they weren't ready to take me on. My father had earlier arranged that I could trial in Belgium. He got Lubanski's number from Lato (?) in Toronto and called him to ask if I could make it in Europe. He saw that I had talent and didn't want it to go unnoticed, and thought: to become a professional, he (Michael) will have to leave as soon as possible. I travelled alone to Brussels, where Lubanski was waiting for me. It wasn't anything unusual. When I was seven years old, I already had flown alone to Poland to visit my grandparents. That has never been a problem for me. For some others it is. I know players in Canada that had the same chance to leave Canada, but weren't ready for the challenge and stayed where they were."

Two years later he left for Europe again. This time he would stick, but it was no bed of roses. A French-Canadian agent arranged for him to spend time at Saint-Etienne.

"From there they sent me at their expense to Dijon. I lived there for one year in a hotel. Saint-Etienne paid for everything. It was a difficult time, because I was there alone, didn't speak French, and had to train the evenings. I did my studies. I worked by correspondence. I took my exams in Dijon under the supervision of a French teacher who sent my papers to Toronto by fax. I played there as a striker for the Under-17s. It was a nice league, with matches against Lyon, Saint-Etienne, Sochaux. But the first team missed out on promotion, the whole staff left and I was again without a club."

"After that I had a trial with Lille, who loaned me to Tourcoing. As an attacking midfielder, playing behind the strikers, I had a good season in the fifth division. In the CFA, the Championnat de France Amateur. After six months I was able to train with Lille. There I signed a contract for two years. But the first season I didn't even get to play with the reserves. They were using me as a defensive midfielder and I was having troubles adapting to that position. I spent that year in the third team, tin the eight division. We played on synthetic fields against small clubs with guys that sometimes were rather rough.

"The second season I became a central defender, because someone in the back-line with the reserves was injured. I stayed with the reserves and played in all of the matches, in the fourth division. We promoted. That was an important year, in which I received a lot of tactical training. I also played a few times as left-back, but I was more comfortable in the middle. You don't have to run as much, and your opponent has his back to the goal more often than on the flank. If you have good timing and are strong mentally, you can easily work your way into the central defensive role, I find.

La Louvière came to Lille to get him. He signed his first real professional contract. The warmth of the club attracted him, and he fit right in among the many young foreign players. Ariël Jacobs immediately inserted him into the team, as left-back no less. Michael Klukowski made his debut against Club Brugge and scored his first goal against GBA with with a shot from 25 meters. In his first professional season he won the Belgian Cup, in his second he played for the UEFA Cup against Benfica. He made himself known as a two-footed player, who was strong positionally, a hard worker who remained cool in all situations, and rarely saw a yellow card.

"In France I played mostly 4-4-2, as I did the season as well with Albert Cartier at La Louvière, while in Belgium nearly very weekend was a learning experience. Here there are nearly as many tactical variations as there are teams. Ariël Jacobs often adjusted his scheme to the opponents, and I learned a lot from that.

After 2.5 years Michael left La Louvière. Not to RC Genk, who made premature claims to the media (here the expression is, literally, "sold the bear's fur before it was shot"), but to Club Brugge. During this time he also changed agents, Jacques Liechtenstein replacing Michael Beck.

"He is really more a friend than a manager. I knew him at Lille, where he was a player and unfortunately had his career cut short by injury. He had always told me that he wanted to become an agent and now he works together with Martin Dahlin. He lives in Lille, and we get together regularly, and he gives me good advice. When I signed with Club Brugge, his advice was: better Club Brugge than Genk. Brugge players every season for first place and always gets a place in Champions League or the UEFA Cup. That is not unimportant, when you realize that some players with big teams in Italy and England have never played in Champions League.

He was picked up as a replaced for Peter Van der Heyden, who will be playing next season for Wolfsburg. He spent a long time on the bench, but since Van der Heyden's ankle injury, he has been a starter. In the league match against La Louvière he made a quick first impression. He came on in place of Nastja Ceh, immediately had a long shot at goal, and assisted on the second goal by Gert Verheyen to seal the match. In the cup match against La Louvière he started as a defensive midfielder and finished the match on the left flank. That is the role he is expected to fill at Club Brugge.

"I can still get better", he finds. "This will come s I play in more matches, continue to develop physically and get completely into rhythm. For a while I didn't get to play. With Brugge there is more energy with which to go forward, and here I can further develop my offensive qualities. There is more room on the flanks, because our opponents wait for us, shutting down the centre and leaving the outside open. But good defending is always the most important for a defender. It is a question of taking offensive risks at the right moment. Trond Sollied is a trainer that puts players at ease. We know what we have to do and he is very relaxed. We always train with the ball, otherwise you can't improve as a footballer. Maybe it is harder work than a run in the woods, but you don't feel it, because at the same time it is enjoyable."

Club Brugge won't be his last club. To play in England like Tomasz Radzinski is his ultimate dream. For Canadians, the Premier League is the top European competition.

"I hope to get a chance there one day", he nods. "I love the English playing style, but I'm not concerned with that right now. Right now Club Brugge is what counts".

His parents are soon returning to their roots in Poland. His brother won't be doing that. Two years ago he left hotel school in Warsaw, and played football at an amateur level, and now works in the Toronto area is a hotel manager. In Warsaw, Michael met his girlfriend Justyna. They live together in Wasquehal, in the Lille area. In September, she will begin work at a hair salon in Old Lille.

"I want to work harder than ever before", he says in closing, "so that I can do better. I could think: three years with Club Brugge (his contract length), I can relax. But I'm not like that. Things can fall apart very quickly in football, as I've noticed in some others.

Around his neck hangs a cross. It is not just for show.

I go regularly to church and I pray every evening at home. As I look at my journey and the difficult times in France that I came through, I can see clearly that God helped me. But I am someone that prays more in the good times than in the bad. I never make myself nervous, because I know: if I can't succeed in Europe, then I will go home and go study in the United States. Why be afraid?"

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That's what I thought it said!

The yolk reference was really puzzling me but it should have been obvious: catching yolk = getting a yellow card.


Thanks Jonovision, a great success story when it all comes clear.

(I thought you totally carried that Street Cents show, btw)

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