TORONTO, Canada—Last week, an interview surfaced with Quentin Westberg on French news outlet Actufoot. Shortly after the interview was published (in French), Waking the Red translated the article using Google Translate for our readers.
The interview, translated in English, appeared to depict Westberg as unhappy and frustrated with the direction that the club was heading. However. after we published the translation, the original article on Actufoot was updated and corrected to what Westberg had actually said.
For clarity sake and ensuring that there is no confusion, we are going to be retracting our original story seeing as it is now inaccurate. Here is the updated translation, with the parts that have changed in bold.
Q: After passing through Tours and Auxerre, you join the Toronto club. How did your integration go?
A: What you need to know is that I left in February so it was relatively complicated to leave Auxerre but I felt it was time. I knew I was setting foot in a club with a top level structure, with a coach who advocated football that suited me totally and in a city where I had received only good feedback. I joined the club without a guaranteed playing time, I went there hoping that my phone conversation with the coach would materialize on the pitch, and it did. Footbalistically, it was the perfect match. I must have spoken with the coach five times in two years but as soon as we spoke we understood each other.
Q: What did you particularly like about this experience in the United States?
A: These are the conditions that are put in place to play football, namely that you are in a league in which everything is framed. The infrastructure, the stadiums everything is top notch and that’s the essence of why I play football. If I didn’t hang on to this pure pleasure, I wouldn’t be here. I find that in France, there are still places where we are not at the top on this. We will prefer to trade and sell the best players quickly enough to survive rather than rebuilding good ground.
Q: How would you describe MLS?
A: It’s a big paradox, the championship is top in terms of structures, stadiums, organizations and even in terms of level. You take great pleasure in playing football. Then, you realize that in a squad, you have players who have a European level with a very important pedigree and in the same squad, you have players who could not supervise a National. In the homogeneity of the workforce, you still have a kind of gap. There is a difference in levels and in culture too. In North America, many people think they earn their place by running fast, jumping high and lifting weights. There is a reductive image of football and there are still a few coaches who perpetuate it while we are in a league with resources and staff that can be sharp. Clubs have the opportunity to push skill to the limit, but it is not necessarily used and sometimes it is not even understood.
Q: Is there a real fervor for football in MLS?
A: Each club is different. Pretty much everywhere you go the stadiums are full but you have people who love soccer and others who know soccer. You have atmospheres like Atlanta, Toronto or Kansas City which are atmospheres worthy of fine European clubs. It’s packed with people, it’s fun when a pass breaks the line, we come to you at the end of the game and we talk to you about your interceptions or the passes you made. There is really this knowledge and this instinct where people recognize football. I’m lucky that the Toronto club is one of them.
Q: Last year, you finished 2nd in the championship with an elimination in the first round of the play-offs, what is your assessment of the season?
A: It’s been a tough season because we only played 4 home games and then we were relocated to Connecticut due to the pandemic. In the end, we played all of our games away from home. We were in a hotel room for 3 months away from our families, we won games but we weren’t having fun. We felt like robots, we just went out to play and practice. The band didn’t really take advantage of that time because there was a part of us that stayed in Toronto. On the quality of play and results, we had a superb season with an incredible record (13 wins, 5 draws and 5 losses, Toronto finished 2nd, 3 points behind Philadelphia).
Q: The championship started a little over a month ago, what are your goals for the season?
A: We’re relocated to Florida with a new coach, a new style of play. We’re almost a different club. The club from Toronto where I came for the game, the city and everything looks different to me, there is just the badge that does not change. Currently, I don’t know where we will be relocated next month. We went from a possession style of play to a vertical game based on high pressing with a team of ball players. Right now, for my family and I, the goal is to survive this season (laughs).