Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySoccer World DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America ClassifiedsGame Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
Gebre Selassie: 'I am glad I am different'
by Paul Kennedy, June 21st, 2012 4:51AM

MOST READ
TAGS:  european championship

MOST COMMENTED

[EURO 2012 PORTRAIT] One of the revelations of Euro 2012 has been Czech right back Theodor Gebre Selassie. The son of an Ethiopian father who settled in then-Czechoslovakia after attending medical school, Gebre-Selassie has toiled in obscurity in the Czech league, but a move from Slovan Liberec is likely. He'll face the biggest test of his career when he takes on Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal in Thursday's quarterfinal.

Gebre Selassie’s father met and married a local Czech woman who was a schoolteacher.

Education was important to Theodor's family, and he almost gave up soccer to return to college when he moved to Velke Mezirici in the fourth level of Czech soccer in 2005.

But two years later, he became the first player of African descent to play for the Czech Republic when he debuted for the U-21s.

Football Against Racism in Europe claimed Gebre Selassie was subjected to racist insults from Russian fans in the Czech Republic's opening game against Russia.

But he has taken the attention directed at him in stride.

“I am glad I am different," he said before Euro 2012. "At least, I am more visible. On the other hand, that is a disadvantage when I play badly."

The Czechs lost the Russia game, 4-1, but recovered with a 2-1 win over Greece -- Gebre Selassie set up the first goal --  and 1-0 victory over co-host Poland to win Group A.

The 25-year-old Gebre Selassie's biggest test will come against Ronaldo, who scored both goals in Portugal's 2-1 win over the Netherlands to reach the quarterfinals.

"Gebre Selassie is performing very well, he's fit and of course it's a very interesting challenge for him because Ronaldo can score 40-50 goals in one season and you have to play exceptionally to defend against him," said Czech coach Michal Bilek. "But to defend well the emphasis is not just on Theo, we have to close the defense and not give him space because if Ronaldo runs at you it's impossible to stop him."



No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
What They're Saying: FIFA spokesperson Walter De Gregorio    
"This for FIFA is good. It is not good in terms of image or reputation, but ...
Twenty for Canada 2015: New Zealand's Ali Riley    
Ali Riley is about as American as you can get. Born in Los Angeles. Product of ...
FIFA bombshell: seven arrested in Zurich, 14 indicted    
Zurich's Baur au Lac, the preferred hotel of FIFA executives, was raided in the early morning ...
What They're Saying: FIFA spokesperson Walter De Gregorio    
"Well, he is not dancing in his office. He is very calm, he is fully cooperative ...
ICYMI MLS: Gooch sighting; Drogba back on the radar    
Oguchi Onyewu, who is out of contract after being released by English club Charlton, trained with ...
MLS: This week ...    
The busiest midweek of the season to date -- three games -- kicks off Week 13 ...
Road to Vancouver: Brazil's Formiga picked for sixth time    
Formiga was picked to play in her sixth Women's World Cup for Brazil as she was ...
What They're Saying: Greg Vanney    
"The beauty of this is that these guys have watched Manchester City play throughout the course ...
Video Pick: Chelsea loanee farther from Stamford Bridge with this miss    
Chelsea's Bertrand Traore is apparently having a successful loan spell at Dutch club Vitesse -- but ...
Road to Vancouver: Germany's Neid picks deep squad    
The loss of 2014 FIFA Women's Player of the Year Nadine Kessler, who is injured, and ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives