Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Get to Know Monsieur Baudet: Q&A With Julien

ColoradoRapids.com was able to sit down with newly-signed Rapids defender Julien Baudet for an exclusive interview after training today.

He speaks excellent English, in case you were wondering, given his recent spell in England.

Check out everything you need to know about Julien below!

How much did you know about MLS before coming to the United States?

Julien Baudet: "Not a lot, to be fair to you. When David Beckham came to the play it was a big thing in England. After that I got into watching some MLS games. Then, funny enough, a couple weeks later I got a call from my agent saying that I had a club in the MLS that was interested."

CRC: Had you ever been to the US before?

JB: "Yeah, I went to Texas 15 years ago. My sister came over for a year, staying with a family. So my family came to visit her for 2 weeks. Still, I was pretty young, so all I can remember is nice weather and water parks! It was a good first experience, and here I am again."

CRC: After watching MLS games in person, how do you feel professional soccer in the US differs from England?

JB: "I think we can all agree that, you know, the soccer in England is much quicker. You have to be on your toes, because you get pressured quicker at every area of the pitch. And now I’ve gotten to watch 2 Rapids games so far, and it looks like there is more time on the ball and it is just different. But yeah it’s just another aspect of the game, but the level of play I've seen has been good so far."

CRC: What excites you most about playing in the US?

JB: "You just have to look around. It’s a beautiful stadium. It’s another lifestyle. I started my career in France and then I went to England for 8 years and now it’s a new challenge. I was really looking for a fresh challenge at the end of my English contract and I mean, it doesn’t come better than a challenge like this, and it's one that I am really looking forward to. And now I just need to get back in shape and back into fitness. And hopefully they will ask me to play on the 18th of July." [the first league match Baudet would be eligible to play in]

You were born in France. Was soccer your only reason for moving to England?

JB: "Yes, because I started my career in Toulouse. I signed my first professional contract in Toulouse. It was a 4 year contract and I really enjoyed my time over there. We got promoted in '98 to the top division in France and I was a part of that squad. I think I played in 28 games. That was my break-through in French futbol. Then the year after, I started the year with an injury and the manager got sacked and when the new one came in he didn’t like me. So I spent a year without playing really. And after that year the club found itself in a financial irregularity and so they got relegated 3 divisions. And you don’t want to play in the third division in France because it is rubbish. So that’s why I headed up to England, and that’s where I ended up playing the 8-9 years of English ball."

CRC: How was it different playing in England than in France?

JB: "It was only my first year when I started playing in France. So you see, it was the first time you play in a big stadium, you play against professional players, so it was something really new for me, something really big for me. And then when I moved to the UK, I was kind of ready because I had already played a full year in the French League, so I knew what it was all about. But when I went to the UK, obviously once again, the speed of the game and the physical aspect of the game was so different. Hopefully, after 8-9 years in England speed is something I can bring to MLS."

CRC: With all that moving around, where do you consider your hometown?

JB: "That is in France, the southeast of France in the Alps. This is where my parents live and it is a place where I like to go back to whenever I can. It is a place about 10 minutes away from Grenoble. It is a little town, but it is gorgeous. I go back during holidays or whenever. I always like to find time because it is a place I like to go and spend a couple days."

CRC: Have you always played at defender?

JB: "No (laughx). I started as a right wing, funny enough. When I started playing, I was a right wing or a striker because I was strong and quick and I have a pretty strong shot. So every time I had the ball on the attacking half I was shooting and I was scoring a lot of goals. Then, when I started playing in the higher levels, I was told that I should not play on the right wing and that I needed to play in the back. They said I could do well in the back because of my passing range and physical presence. Since then, I think that I have had a decent career in the back, and I have never looked back."

CRC: You scored a couple goals as a defender in your career, haven’t you?

JB: "Yes, headers from corners and set pieces. I love going and attacking the ball, that is what I am really strong with. And I have also scored a couple of free kicks....I consider myself a pretty good free-kick taker. I think we are going to try and have me work on free kicks." [for the Rapids].

CRC: So we heard you are a big skier. Is it true you had to decide between professional skiing and soccer? What made you choose soccer?

JB: "Yes, well obviously when you are born in the Alps, it is easy to go up and ski a lot. My parents took me up to ski every weekend so I really got into skiing and I was getting really good at it, but I came to a certain stage in my career, when I was younger, where I was playing fotball with Grenoble. There was a lot of traveling involved and there wasn’t time to go skiing every weekend. It was just a choice I had to make but I think deep down it has always been soccer anyway."

So Crewe fans gave you the nickname “The Beast” in England. What aspect of your game do you think this refers to?

JB: "When you are 6’3 and 95 kilos like I am, the first thing that any manager or any person is going to look at is your physical presence. The Beast was given to me for my performance at the back."

CRC: Is there anything else you would like Rapids fans to know about you?

JB: "I would like them to make up their own minds about me, but that is going to be based on how I play week in and week out. And that is something I am really looking forward to."

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