FC Schalke 04 is in Orlando for the Florida Cup, and United World Soccer got a chance at an exclusive interview with Klas-Jaan Huntelaar and team captain Ben Howedes before an autograph signing at United World Soccer's Florida Mall location. Read the Q&A below!
Q: Besides the Florida Cup, do you continue to train over the winter break; did you have time off to vacation?
KJH: We had the first week off; I spent time with family, also went to London and caught the Arsenal vs. Newcastle game. But we still had a running schedules and exercises we’d do on our own.
BH: We rested the first week, but have to exercise and run to maintain stamina. I went to Austria in the mountains, relaxed with the family, it was different from 2 years ago when I went Miami and Key West.
Q: What are the views on the MLS?
KJH: It’s gaining popularity because it’s on television more… It’s on later so if I am awake late some night can I try to catch some games, the LA Galaxy are usually broadcasted so I enjoy seeing them play…ever since Beckham went over it’s been getting bigger and bigger.
BH: Yes, it’s on TV more in Germany so people are more familiar with the teams and players. I liked to watch the Revolution when Jermaine Jones would play…they’re usually on late but it’s nice to catch some of the matches.
Q: How do you feel about the first half of the season? Do you think you’ll qualify for Champions League?
KJH: Of course, we’re in 6th place now so every year our goal is European football. We lost some quality players from last season so we’re trying to build a good foundation, but feel good about how we’ve been playing.
BH: I feel the same way.
Q: What boot do you wear and what do you like about it?
KJH: I’m Nike, the Hypervenom, and I usually get a half size too small because I like a very tight fitting boot.
BH: Adidas X, German players tend to lean towards Adidas and I really like the boot, it’s very durable.
Q: You’ve spent time at well-known clubs around Europe – any idea yet of where you would like to finish your career?
KJH: I don’t know, I’ve spent some time with some great Clubs. I’m an Ajax fan so I’ve always loved the fans and loved playing there. But will have to see about the future.
BH: It’s always been FC Schalke for me.
Q: What do you guys and the team like to listen to before matches?
KJH: Hip-Hop. There’s typically techno, dance or hip-hop playing in the locker room.
BH: Some guys like to listen to their own music but we usually have hip-hop playing on the jukebox.
Q: What are the best stadiums to play at?
KJH: Dortmund of course, it’s nice to play there because of the big rivalry. Also when they come play us at home, those games are crazy. Those are the two most important games.
BH: I think we have the best crowd in the Bundesliga, our fans are really aggressive. Our home atmosphere is amazing.
Q: Who is the funniest guy on Schalke?
KJH: It depends on what kind of humor you like haha. But I like to joke and have laughs with the guys. It’s important to keep everything fun, it makes the tough days easier.
BH: Klas Jaan, he’s like a child. He’s 32 but always joking like a kid haha.