FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Goalkeeper Tomáš Vaclík says he feels incredibly excited by the opportunity to thrive with the New England Revolution.
The Czech Republic international, who signed for the Revs at the end of August, has now joined up with the squad following receipt of his visa, and is settling into life Stateside.
Having enjoyed his first few days in Foxborough, the shot-stopper highlighted the chance to work with goalkeeping coach Kevin Hitchcock as a major factor in his decision to join the club, alongside the rapid and remarkable rise of Major League Soccer.
“So far, so good,” he smiled. “It was my third day in training, getting [it] all in, and just feeling better and better.
“When New England came [in for me], I just felt really excited about that – the MLS as a global market and also now [having Lionel] Messi makes another step in the process of MLS, and the World Cup is going to be here in three years.
“It was one of a lot of positive things that came to my mind, and we decided to move. The work of ‘Hitchy’ [Hitchcock] speaks for itself – the last two goalkeepers he had here (Matt Turner and Djordje Petrović) moved to the best league in the world and two really good clubs: Arsenal and Chelsea.
“This was also a really important part in my decision. Hopefully, I will be an important part of the team.”
Though interim head coach Clint Peay advised this weekend’s trip to Chicago Fire FC could come too soon for the shot-stopper’s involvement, the former MLS defender has been impressed with what he has seen from Vaclík, and hopes the Czech star will play a crucial role as the Revs chase postseason glory.
“[Tomáš is] a true pro,” Peay stated. “He’s been great so far with the guys and he works hard in training. I think we’re still getting to know him a little bit as a player and us him.
“I think this weekend may be a little too soon, but we want to make sure his fitness is right and he’s in tune with what we’re trying to do as a team.
“I don’t believe he’ll be the guy this weekend, but we certainly believe that he will play a part as we move forward.”
Vaclík was equally complimentary of his new head coach and is looking forward to staking his claim for the number one spot between the sticks.
With 16 years of professional experience under his belt across Europe and a glistening array of medals celebrating domestic and continental success (and plenty of individual acclaim), the Czech ‘keeper describes himself as a calming influence on the pitch.
On his first impressions of Peay, he reflected: “[He’s] really good, a really nice guy.
“I'm really happy to work with him, so everything is going well and hopefully, we will get ready ourselves for the playoffs – obviously the most important part of the season.
“I'm calm, I'm really calm. I'm not the guy you will see come and make crazy actions to go somewhere in the ‘huddle,’ if you use the word from other sports. I'm really calm, experienced; I'm really communicative on the pitch – I try to give really good instruction to the guys in front of me just to help them, as well.
“Hopefully, you will see me play soon, so after you can make your own opinion on it!”
Needing to await international clearance to make the move to America, Vaclík and his young family have had to be patient over the past few weeks before their new adventure could begin.
Now ready to start their new life on U.S. soil, the 34-year-old is looking forward to fully exploring his new home with his loved ones.
“It was a very long process with all of the paperwork – the work permit and the visa,” he explained. “On Saturday, we were here with the family. We are trying to settle in as quickly as possible.
“For me personally, it was a really long summer because I was a free agent. The summer was really long for me and also for me family. I have two kids so for them, it was also quite important because Nicky (the older one), she needs to start school somewhere, and the younger one, they want her to start also with kindergarten to start the school routine, as well.
“I enjoyed [Boston] a lot. Mostly, on Sunday we spent all day in the city. Because of the jetlag, we tried to spend all the time, all the day away from the bed, from the hotel room so it was really nice – and here in New England, [we are] trying to explore the area around the hotel, around the stadium.
“It was really nice. Also, we get some really nice weather here, so it helps us, as well.”
Should Vaclík need an experienced tour guide to show him and his family around his new city, he could always call upon countryman David Pastrňák of the Boston Bruins.
Though the pair are yet to meet, the goalkeeper hopes he will have the chance to shake hands with his compatriot in the coming months.
“I'm really looking forward to seeing him because I never met him actually, despite that we are from the same country,” he continued. “Also, we were born in the same region in Czech.
“We didn't meet yet, so I'm really looking forward to seeing him in person – hopefully, really soon. I’m also a big fan of him, so it's going to be nice.”