The Interview: Sacha Kljestan
The LA Galaxy midfielder, nearly 37, wants to play at least one more year and eventually go into coaching or television
I love this interview with Sacha Kljestan. The LA Galaxy midfielder has had a lengthy and productive career, and he brings a special perspective on MLS as someone who played in the league in 2006 and still does in 2022. Whether he decides to become a coach or a TV analyst, he has a promising post-playing future in the sport as well. We get into a lot in this conversation, and I hope you enjoy it.
The entirety of the written interview below is reserved for paid subscribers. As always, you can still get the entire free audio version of my podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you like to go for your pods.
Our guest now is right at the top of American soccer players who, when they speak, I listen. Sacha Kljestan of the LA Galaxy is in his 17th season as a professional. He's one of three players ever to have at least 20 assists in an MLS season. He also played 52 times for the U.S. men's national team. Sacha, it's great to talk to you. Thanks for coming on the show.
Thanks for having me, Grant. It's nice to be here.
Lots to talk about here, but I'm laughing at myself because I've covered you for years and years and I've never actually asked you the very correct way to pronounce your name, because I've been writing about you, I didn't need to worry about it. But this is audio. How do you pronounce your name?
You said it really well. I say Sacha kles-tchen. Although my dad, a proud Serbian man, would say it's klee-es-tan. When I played in Europe, a lot of my teammates said my name the proper way. Especially when I've had Serbian teammates over the years, they're like, "You don't even say your own name the right way." I'm like, "Dude, I'm born and raised in the States, man. I've been here for 36 years, so it is what it is."
It's a little bit like Christian Pulisic. He likes puh-liss-ick, and he's got teammates at Chelsea that do not say it that way.
It's exactly the same. We talked about this when we were teammates on the national team.
“For TV, especially, I think we might have a little bit of a lack of some personalities on TV that can explain the game tactically and personnel-wise, like through a coach's eyes, of why decisions are made or why certain things are played in a certain way, why certain things are happening in a game. I think that's something I would be very good at.” — Sacha Kljestan
You're 36. You're about to turn 37 in September, which is young for anybody who's a layperson out there in the world, but isn't so much for a professional soccer player. You're still playing, still getting some important minutes for the Galaxy. What continues to motivate you as a player?
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