Q & A with Alain Rochat

Getting to know United's newest member

How is the adjustment to D.C. going?
Alain Rochat"It takes time, but I know I have been here a week and was in Vancouver for the last three or four days, so it takes time, but I look forward to spending more time here. Until the baby’s birth, I will be a little bit here and there, but once everybody’s fine I look forward to being settled here. I’m excited."

Do you know if you’re having a boy or girl yet?
AR: "I’m going to be having a boy."

And you have three other kids, right?
AR: "Yes, two girls and one boy."

How old are they?
AR: "My oldest daughter is six-and-a-half, then my son is four-and-a-half and my other daughter will be two in July."

Are the ones who are able to playing soccer yet?
AR: "He was, he did back in Vancouver. He did some soccer lessons, but he likes hockey as well. He watched baseball and wants to go outside and play baseball, so for in the offseason I bought a football and we will be playing on the beach, so he likes every kind of sport. But, because Dad plays soccer, he plays soccer too."

I know you haven't had much down time, but have you done anything besides coming to training here in D.C.?
AR: "I’ve been at the hotel. I haven’t had time to look around besides talking to Francisco and coming for practice. But now, I’ve got 10 days to look around the neighborhood, Virginia, Maryland. I need a driver, so I got a driver so that’s good."

Have you heard about anything that want to see the most here?
AR: "My house first. I’d like to see the place I’m going to live. It’s probably going to be in Arlington or Alexandria. I don’t know exactly, but it depends on the situation of the house I’m able to find. Then I’d like to see the Potomac River. I’ve heard if you got for a walk over there it’s nice, and I’ve heard about some trees with some cherry [cherry blossom] when it’s spring, which is beautiful. I look forward to that and the free museums. It’s good to get an idea about the history. And I look forward to going to a hockey game as well, I hope the club will have me."

You're known for being versatile. Do you think being able to play anywhere helped or hurt your career?
AR: "It helped me at the beginning when I needed to make myself a starter, because I could play anywhere, so if the coach didn’t know where to put me I knew at least I have an advantage over the guy who can only play in midfield or whatever. At the end, as a personal career, I think all the time I played for the team first, and I’ve looked more in the interests of the team I’ve played for instead of looking for me and having a good performance. I remember some guy in Europe coming to a game and saying: “Oh, we need a left-back.” He called me, “I’m going to watch you in the next game,” and he came to the game and I played midfield or the opposite. I’m happy to play, but at some points, you know, someone can say “We need a centerback, you can watch this guy for two, three, four, five games and he will play centerback”, you can say “OK, I want this one.” I use my versatility as an advantage for the team and as long as the team has success, I don’t care."

Right, that makes sense. So, what’s your favorite soccer memory?
AR: "Playing Real Madrid in the Bernabeu. We lost, but it’s amazing. It’s like it’s another sport. The grass is perfect. There’s 75,000 people in the stands, it’s huge. It’s like the stadium is going to fall on you. You can’t hear yourself talking on the pitch—that was really, really amazing. It’s like you are down when you’re in the stadium, you’re in a different level from the pitch and then you hear the noise. It’s crazy. Then there is a few steps, you go up and you see the stands and it seems like it never ends. You go out, and it’s like there is no end, it’s so high. It’s unbelievable. Usually you’re not focused on what’s around but at this point I was like a kid. That was really amazing."

That sounds incredible. You've lived in a few countries - what was your favorite place to live?
AR: "Switzerland. I grew up there. I’ve been in France in the beautiful part of France. I’ve been in Canada as well, Vancouver is beautiful. But I like to see, I like to live other experiences, but I know I will be back there [Switzerland] not just for friends and family but for the lifestyle there. It’s really for me. I’m really attached, I can go away, but I will always be back. That’s exciting, because I know I can go wherever I want now because I have one spot to live in and to be back in. That will be Switzerland."

What’s so different about it?
AR: "I grew up there. It’s very nice. It’s very quiet, but I’m sure you can find that kind of place in the world. I miss Switzerland if I’m anywhere in any other place. I’ve got a house there, and I always know I’ll be back there, and I can’t imagine not being there. I don’t know why it’s so important, but I know it."

Has this been your hardest move yet?
AR: "It’s been the most sudden. Before this year, I always used to know if it was the last year of my contract, and I liked to think way before it’s happening, so I knew if there would be a big move that year or a big decision. But once I got the news, it’s like “OK, let’s do it.” We were in a little bit of a rush. It’s not difficult, you have just to be organized. I like the challenge, I like the new experiences. I always said I’d like to see the United States, maybe on the east coast as well. It’s not hard, it was just sudden and then you have to be prepared for that. Once I knew and I digested having to move 3,000 miles away from nothing. After we managed to get an option for the baby to decide where my wife’s going to give birth and everything then it’s fine. I’m happy."

How are your kids doing, away from you for so long?
AR: "I think they don’t really realize that I was gone until I’m home. Once I’m home, I can’t do anything, they are all over me, especially the two youngest. I think for their future it’s good for them to have another vision and show that it’s not always going to be everybody together, that we stay in the same place for the rest of our lives. Open your mind, see new stuff. It’s harder for me, I think. The first two days I’m here, I couldn’t sleep and missed them so much. I can’t wait to be back. In July, when the baby’s going to be born I can bring them all here and it’s going to be very cool. I can’t wait to find a house, a school and show them their new place and I can’t wait for it in a couple of weeks."

That will be so exciting. How has everything been going with the team?
AR: "Good. They’ve made me feel very welcome. I wish we could have won this game against Toronto, but we have to keep focused on what we have to do and not the result. If you start to think “Oh, we have to win, we have to win,” you’re nervous, you bring some anxiety. But if you keep focusing on what you have to do when I have the ball, when I don’t have the ball, and be focused and be concentrated, the results will come, I’m sure."

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