Since moving away from Hanover and across the Atlantic to Scotland, former Dartmouth men’s soccer player Kevin Dzierzawski has transitioned into a top-notch player for Queen of the South F.C. Kevin spoke with Dartmouthsports.com to discuss the differences between Hanover and Glasgow.
How have you adjusted to playing international soccer?
I think I have adjusted well so far. The training sessions are different from what I was used to at Dartmouth, but the soccer culture here is fantastic. The guys on the team range from very experienced veterans to younger guys coming through the youth team ranks. It has been a great opportunity so far. I'm learning and growing as a player with every session.
What differences have you seen from the American game to the Scottish game?
The Scottish game is much more intense than the American game. The movement off the ball is much sharper, the game is more physical, and the overall pace of the game is quicker. Everything is crisper in terms of passing, shooting, decision-making. Off-the ball awareness and movement are areas I have found the players to be extremely good at. The biggest difference for me though has been communication. Every player is screaming the entire time they are playing. Whether it is to give directions or to make a player’s mind up, they are always shouting at each other.
What is the lifestyle in Scotland like? How does it differ from living in Hanover?
The lifestyle in Scotland is much more laid back than America. It is slower for me and in general. It is nice to have free time; something that was very rare at Dartmouth. The people here love soccer, and it is on television all the time. It is so nice being able to watch European soccer matches on television at nighttime.
I live in Glasgow, so it is much different than what I have been used to in Hanover the past 4 years. It is a great city, with a lot to offer on days off and weekends. Hanover is in it’s own little world, separate from everything else. Glasgow is a major city with shopping, great restaurants and sight seeing attractions.
After spending four years at Dartmouth, did you feel fully prepared to play internationally?
Saying I felt fully prepared to play internationally after being at Dartmouth for four years might be a stretch, but it definitely did prepare me. It prepared me for on-the-field as well as off-the-field components. The characteristics the Dartmouth program instills in its players have helped me tremendously thus far. Having the right mindset, being determined, working hard, and enjoying the game are all things you learn, and things that become a part of you, when you play for the Dartmouth soccer program. Those attributes prepare any Dartmouth player for the next level they choose.