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The Real Truth on Jacob Lensky


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Finding urge to play again

Jacob Lensky's back home to restart career

Marc Weber, The Province

Published: Tuesday, January 27, 2009

He's only 20, but Jacob Lensky has already risen to one of the top soccer leagues in the world and retired from the sport.

Now he's trying something normally reserved for aging superstars: the comeback.

The Vancouverite, who first garnered interest from English soccer giants as a seven-year-old, was one of 14 trial players on hand Monday as the Vancouver Whitecaps trained at the Burnaby Lake Sports Complex.

These are the midfielder's first touches of the ball since asking well-known Dutch side Feyenoord to cancel his two-and-a-half year contract on Sept. 1 last year, saying he was quitting the sport.

"I didn't expect to be playing again," said Lensky, who spent three years in Scottish side Celtic's youth system before switching to Feyenoord in late 2006. "I just didn't want anything to do with soccer anymore. I didn't want to think about it, talk about it, watch it on T.V.

"I just wanted to completely remove myself from the situation because I burnt out so badly I couldn't take it anymore. But now that I've taken that break, got some perspective, I've found the urge to play again."

During a 2006 training camp in Turkey, Lensky debuted for Feyenoord as a 17-year-old against Galatasaray. In Feb., 2007, he made his first Eredivisie appearance as a substitute against FC Twente.

"Feyenoord is saddened by the player's departure, given that his footballing qualities were unquestionable," the club's technical manager, Peter Bosz, said when the decision to leave was made last fall.

Lensky wouldn't reveal the amount of money he left on the table, nor would he get into what his next contract might have looked like.

Happiness, he said, was the only priority, and he's found that again since returning to Vancouver.

It's come in the little things, like being able to call up his friends and go for coffee.

The next step for the Canada under-23, is to transfer that level of enjoyment into playing the game.

"If you can't have that," he said, "then what's the point?"

Whitecaps head coach Teitur Thordarson learned that Lensky was itching to play again from Caps' youth coach Bart Choufour, who knows Lensky's dad -- and former coach -- Boris.

Thordarson expressed excitement at having Lensky in camp and said the former Vancouver College student was in good spirits.

"I'm very pleased to have him here because the guy obviously has fantastic qualities," the coach said. "But I also understand that after the experiences he's had he might be a little down. You can get broken down [in Europe]. It's not easy as a young player.

"He seems to be enjoying himself and I really hope that is the case."

With Lensky's resume, it's almost impossible to imagine there not being a place for him on the Whitecaps if he's in a good head space. Contract negotiations will of course play a role, too.

A return to Europe is the ultimate goal for Lensky, and next time he'll do things differently. Balance, he said, was important, and that means working hard at having a social life.

"As a young player you don't really know that, but you have to make friends, learn the language, stuff that I really didn't do," he said. "I'd approach things differently, be more open, not so doom and gloom about being away from home.

"Right now, I just want to keep on improving to what I was and, if I keep enjoying it, go from there."

mweber@theprovince.com

http://www.canada.com/theprovince/news/sports/story.html?id=d7684f95-406c-4b82-ae1f-9b102cec4624

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quote:Originally posted by Keegan

that is random....

quits a contract with a big dutch side then just 3 months later decides he wants to play again?

Back home amongst friends, eating mom's cooking and relaxing for the first time in years. Yea that can change your mind and give you a different perspective in a hurry.

I'm glad he is back. I hope he stays with the Caps for at least a season.

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Fighting every day to keep a spot on a big European side, living by yourself when you're still a kid really... A big strain on some people. Living back at home, prospect of playing for the local club and a coach who is excited to have you, with far less pressure before home crowds could be very appealing. I can understand 100% how he feels.

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Best wishes to him on his 'comeback' (at age 20?). It would be sweet to see a team with plenty of young Canucks on the rise - Edwini-Bonsu, Gage, Lensky among them. Let him get his feet under him with the Canucks and then, when he's hungry again, TN can get him a spot in Germany.

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quote:Originally posted by Ed

Best wishes to him on his 'comeback' (at age 20?). It would be sweet to see a team with plenty of young Canucks on the rise - Edwini-Bonsu, Gage, Lensky among them. Let him get his feet under him with the Canucks and then, when he's hungry again, TN can get him a spot in Germany.

I would like to see him get a season with the Whitecaps before he goes to the NHL. ;)

I agree though, he would probably be the Caps best player no? I mean he has come through some impressive teams. I don't think Lensky has much ambition, I would like to see him play in MLS and become a star here before moving back overseas.

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It is always best to speak the language of the country you are in but I find it surprising he found it a problem to get by in Holland with English. I always found it to be the non-English country that spoke the best English. It seemed to me that the only ones in Holland who didn't speak English were older people from small towns.

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From the title of the thread, I thought it was going to be another rant

by a certain manager/agent.

If you lose a certain amount of enjoyment in the game, it's virtually impossible

to play at the highest level, at your very best. Good luck Jacob, nice to see

him with the Caps. (I'm sure TFC would have wanted him as well.)

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quote:Originally posted by Grizzly

It is always best to speak the language of the country you are in but I find it surprising he found it a problem to get by in Holland with English. I always found it to be the non-English country that spoke the best English. It seemed to me that the only ones in Holland who didn't speak English were older people from small towns.

I can't speak for Jacob, but I can speak from my experience as an American living in Mexico. I live in a border town and as a result a lot of the locals speak passable English due to tourism. That said learning Spanish has been key to being able to fully participate in the culture. You get a lot more respect and it opens up a lot of doors for you. I also agree that most Dutch people speak flawless English. Probably better than most Americans and Canadians. Grammatically speaking anyway. That said I'm sure the Dutch would mainly speak Dutch to each other. If you are walking about and can't understand anything being said I'm sure that would be very disconcerting for a young kid living far away from home.

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quote:Originally posted by Ed

A blogger with the Seattle Times is saying that Jacob Lensky has signed with Seattle FC! Kind of odd given that it's been reported he is in training camp with the 'Caps.

http://blog.seattletimes.nwsource.com/sounders/2009/01/29/fc_adds_lensky.html

I'm guessing Seattle must have been scouting the Whitecaps camp or heard that he was there, had a quick look and made him an offer. Still though - wow!

Perhaps goods news as well for the chances of the other young Canucks trialing there with one less young Canuck to compete against for a roster spot.

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quote:Originally posted by Ed

A blogger with the Seattle Times is saying that Jacob Lensky has signed with Seattle FC! Kind of odd given that it's been reported he is in training camp with the 'Caps.

http://blog.seattletimes.nwsource.com/sounders/2009/01/29/fc_adds_lensky.html

If true...wow! I would be a little upset as a Caps fan. I was at the team scrimmage yesterday and he played virtually the whole game. Can Seattle offer him that much more financially than Vancouver? Weird.

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quote:Originally posted by masster

If true...wow! I would be a little upset as a Caps fan. I was at the team scrimmage yesterday and he played virtually the whole game. Can Seattle offer him that much more financially than Vancouver? Weird.

How did he look compared to the rest of the players?

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If he's planning on making a go of an MLS career, you'd have thought he'd wait out the expansion announcement on Vancouver. He can probably make the same money in Vancouver in USL for two years before making the jump and becoming a major player in the Vancouver and Canadian soccer scene. It doesn't make sense that he'd go to Seattle, even less so if his real intention is to get back to Europe.

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I tell you if GOL TV can get some kind of MLS package on this summer it will be great with Canadian players on Chivas, Real Salt Lake, Houston, Seattle and Toronto (I think they actually do have a Cdn or two).

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quote:Originally posted by Ed

I tell you if GOL TV can get some kind of MLS package on this summer it will be great with Canadian players on Chivas, Real Salt Lake, Houston, Seattle and Toronto (I think they actually do have a Cdn or two).

Don't forget Dallas. And Colorado if people here count Ihemelu as Canadian.

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