Soccer Spotlight: Sacha Kljestan, Orlando City, Midfielder

Soccer Spotlight: Sacha Kljestan, Orlando City, Midfielder

We spent some time with Sacha Kljestan prior to the start of the 2018 Major League Soccer season. A family man, it seemed fitting that we put Sacha in our soccer spotlight following the Father's Day celebrations.

Q. How do you spend your downtime?
I spend most of my down time with my family. I have two young kids – my daughter and son. I think I find the most joy in just spending time with them and making them laugh. We walk a lot, we like to play at the playground. We have a playground in our neighborhood. The kids go to bed around 7 pm and I like to cook dinner for my wife and I, sometimes she cooks, sometimes I cook, but just spending time with my family is my favorite thing.

Q. What is your pre-game routine?
A. Usually in the morning if there is soccer on tv I like to just spend time on the couch watching soccer. Lots of times if my daughter is downstairs before me, then cartoons are on. I usually eat some type of pasta four hours before the game. On the way to the game I like to listen to hip hop music and then once I get to the stadium I’m pretty focused and I get pretty quiet just thinking about the game.

Q. Do you ever play soccer video games?
A. I used to before I had kids! Before I had kids I had played FIFA a lot probably since I was 10 years old with my brother. Something that was pretty fun for me was in 2010 I was on the cover of FIFA so that’s a memory that I’ll always have about being a former video game player.

Q. Have you had any challenges in your career that you’ve had to overcome?
A. When I was young I had a lot of people that doubted me and I questioned whether I was really going to play soccer as a career. It was my dad who always told me “don’t let one individual or one group of individuals’ opinion about you change your opinion of yourself.” SO I just kept going and I made it.

Q. How do you continually improve yourself?
A. I don’t watch the matches back, I typically just find ways to improve by training. During the off season, I’ll focus on one part of my game that I think can get better. I joked about that I’ve gotten better every years so hopefully by the time I’m 40, I’ll be the best player in MLS!