Exclusive: Sebastian Lletget On West Ham, the World Cup, Landon Donovan and more…

Sebastian Lletget MLS
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The New England Revolution are around 2/3 of the way through this MLS season, and they still have a lot of work to do. Away from the field though, I spoke to midfielder Sebastian Lletget about a wide array of topics. From his inspirations in the game, to his spell in London, to his secret love for drawing.

An Exclusive Chat With Sebastian Lletget

How Did Sebastian Lletget Get Into the Game?

Sebastian Lletget grew up in San Francisco, California, but his parents are both Argentinian. This played a major role in his upbringing when it comes to soccer. Talking of his father, “he was born in Argentina so he was surrounded by it when he was young and so he kind of did the same with me although circumstances were a little bit different seeing as I was being born in America.”

Lletget revealed that he hasn’t always been this confident and outgoing character. As a child, he was very different, as is highlighted in his earliest memory of soccer: “[It is] my dad asking me if I wanted to join a group of kids play on a team and I remember being so nervous and scared and I remember being that kid that always went the wrong way for whatever reason.”

Along with the motivation from his dad in particular there were a couple of big names who inspired him along the way. “Our local team was the San Jose Earthquakes and at the time, Landon Donovan was 17/18 years old and so he was always, like a lot of Americans, a big idol, being so young and already doing great things. Steven Gerrard, that was also a huge one, again I was lucky enough to play with all of these guys. Again at the tail-end of their career but to get a glimpse of how those guys got there and got to the levels that they did, that was pretty cool.”

A Time For Learning in London

Fast forward now to Sebastian Lletget spending a tumultuous time in the English capital. He has previously spoken about how he maybe didn’t see eye-to-eye with various people at West Ham, most notably Sam Allardyce. The overriding quote of it all, despite the setbacks suffered, was: “I know it’s nothing personal, it was just the way it is.”

“I saw managers love me, some managers who I probably wasn’t their favorite, and all of them were valid because they had their reasons. I learned a lot in that sense and it almost added a layer of strength.” Allardyce was the most prevalent manager during this period but Lletget was also at the club under the likes of Gianfranco Zola and Avram Grant.

It was a lack of regular playing time that saw Lletget make the decision to depart the Hammers. “Leading up to that point, I would have considered myself one of the youngsters who was ready to take that next step but you also need somebody who’s going to align with the way you play football and he wanted to play a different style. It was one of those things and I think the more time that went by, it was clear to see that this was not the right match. My clock was ticking in a way because as soon as you enter 20, 21, 22 years old and you’re not playing consistent first-team forward, the perception of you as a player is decreasing and it’s not appreciating.”

Current Ambitions in the Sport

Now on to present day and while the Revolution are struggling in terms of the standings, Lletget has had a strong debut season. The key to his move over from the West Coast was Bruce Arena, the pair having crossed paths with both the Galaxy and the USMNT. This was also the case with Omar Gonzalez and Jozy Altidore. “He definitely expressed a lot of interest and I have known him for years. We’ve always kept in touch so I think we both thought it was a good match for the time and honestly, I’m enjoying it.”

Besides his time in England, Lletget is an LA Galaxy man through and through. This was his first transfer within Major League Soccer and he said this, when comparing it to New England: “I wouldn’t say it’s a culture shock but it’s definitely very, very different.” He continued, “I want to be part of the team that brings its first championship to New England. As opposed to when I was in LA, we were trying to get the sixth.”

Lletget was previously a USMNT mainstay but due to the level of this new crop, he’s faded slightly into the background. The World Cup in Qatar is getting ever so closer but the 29-year-old isn’t letting that prospect distract him, “I’m trying to do what’s best for the Revolution to be honest and my belief is if I focus on that, everything else will take care of itself. “

Talking of the national team and Lletget outlined last summer, Nations League and Gold Cup glory, as the highlight of his career to date.  It was made even sweeter to do it against Mexico too, “Growing up with that [the rivalry versus Mexico] and then being able to experience two games that you’d put as historic games, again to be part of that and play pivotal roles.” Overcoming Mexico wasn’t without its challenges though, “60,000+ people completely whistling at us, it was all green or all black as far as their jerseys, including my girlfriend because she’s also from Mexico.”

Read More:Brad Friedel on the USMNT, the record-breaking Revs, the potential of biennial World Cups and more…

Life Away From the Field for Sebastian Lletget

Finally then, going behind the curtain into the everyday life of Sebastian Lletget. “As of recent, a lot of people don’t know this about me but I draw. I’ve been loving to read books. I’m big on business and figuring out what that looks like for me after soccer.” He was frank in the fact that sportsmen and women need to plan for life afterward.

On another light note, what players eat is always intriguing to hear about. “Pre-match is easy. Salmon: white rice, avocado- pretty clean and pretty simple.” Next, in a different vein, is Lletget’s guilty-pleasure/cheat meal: “I really take pride in my body, but I do allow myself [a cheat meal] every now and then. I’ll just go with pizza man, you can’t really go wrong.”

Lletget is one of a number of new faces in New England this season. It goes without saying that he is a high-profile name in the States due to his exploits with the national team and the Galaxy. This was a hugely interesting look into the life of Lletget.

Click here to read an interview done with Damian Rivera earlier this season.