Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySoccer World DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America Classifieds
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
NASL's Peterson doesn't see union in picture    
NASL commissioner Bill Peterson says players in his league don't need a union as his owners ...
USL Week 3: Results & Standings    
Whitecaps FC 2 won their first game in team history with a 3-0 road victory over ...
MLS Trade Central: Seaton headed on loan to Sweden    
D.C. United has loaned 18-year-old Michael Seaton to Orebro of the Swedish Allsvenskanliga for the 2015 ...
Video Pick: All 11 players in on England U-21 goal    
England beat Germany 3-2 in a U-21 friendly earlier this week. James Ward-Prowse scored the gamewinner ...
What They're Saying: Raheem Sterling    
"It's not about the money at all. ... I talk about winning trophies throughout my career. ...
What They're Saying: Florida state senator Jeremy Ring    
"My guess is every one of you has seen a coach, a parent-coach, on the other ...
MLS adds to Fred suspension    
For the second week in a row, the MLS Disciplinary Committee has added a game to ...
Mexico and Argentina friendlies average 56,500    
Just how strong is the U.S. market for international soccer? Mexico and Argentina both played two ...
Road to Russia: Kluivert's Curacao advances    
Former Dutch great Patrick Kluivert has led Curacao to the second World Cup 2018 qualifying round ...
Klinsmann, ever the optimist, refuses to buckle    
Another blown lead didn't prevent U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann and his players from finding positives ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives