As a young adult, Josh Sargent was faced with the decision of which sport he wanted to play for a professional career. This was a difficult decision from the young American as he was talented at multiple sports. Eventually, Sargent opted to become a professional footballer unlike several other Americans his age. The 18 year-old went on to rapidly develop and high expectations were placed on the young prospect. In this second part to WERDER.DE’s exclusive interview with the young American, we explore how the Werder striker coped with his high expectations and who sparked the beginning of his promising career.
WERDER.DE: Josh, what is your biggest dream?
Josh Sargent: “I believe I am still young and have made a good start to my career. I am hoping to reach the highest possible level of football in my career.”
WERDER.DE: That was a diplomatic answer. Who was your role model as a child?
Josh Sargent: “I liked Wayne Rooney a lot. I liked his style of play and how powerful he was on the ball. Additionally, my father was obviously a role model to me. He never played in the same position as me but he helped to define the characteristics of my game. I always looked up to him, but also Wayne Rooney.”
WERDER.DE: As a child, you played lots of different sports including basketball. Did you always want to become a professional footballer?
Josh Sargent: “Yes. I could’ve probably turned professional in other sports as I was fortunate enough to have a natural talent for multiple sports. However, my ability to play football was just a step above the rest. When I was 13 years old, I had to make a decision as to which sport I wanted to pursue: football or basketball.”
WERDER.DE: Where does your sporting talent come from?
Josh Sargent: “It comes from my parents. Both of they were very athletic and both played football. In the back of my head, I probably subconsciously knew that I would end up playing football.”
WERDER.DE: Did your parents play as strikers just like you?
Josh Sargent: “My father was a centre-back while my mother was a fast attacker. She liked to claim that all my best traits as a striker come from her (laughs)! My father believes it was a combination of the two.”
The support recently has been phenomenal.Josh Sargent
WERDER.DE: You were forced to leave your family and your home to fulfil your dream of becoming a professional footballer. How would you rate the support you get back home in St. Louis?
Josh Sargent: “The support recently has been phenomenal. Of course, I’ve been getting a lot from my family, but also a lot of people back home are pleased for me, and are tweeting words of encouragement, for example, and congratulating me. I can feel their love.”
WERDER.DE: Back to Werder-related matters. You’ve mentioned multiple times that there are experienced players within the team who help you out, such as Claudio Pizarro. What has helped you the most?
Josh Sargent: “The most important thing has been the lads who have helped me settle in and make me feel like a part of the team. This is my first club as a professional footballer, and I wasn’t sure what to expect and how things work. A lot of football-related things were clear to me, but I’ve learned a lot mentally, psychologically and as a person in particular.”
WERDER.DE: You’re a big talent, and a lot of people have high expectations of you, especially in the USA. With that comes a lot of pressure, presumably. Do you feel this pressure?
Josh Sargent: “No, I wouldn’t say that I feel the pressure. People can have their opinions, whether they see me as the next big talent or just an average player. I don’t really enjoy hearing other people’s views. I’m focussing purely on my own self-expectations, and how good I should be performing.”
WERDER.DE: Are your self-expectations very high? Would you say that you’re a particularly self-critical person?
Josh Sargent: “I’m very critical, as well as very competition- and performance-orientated, so I don’t enjoy it when I can’t do something. If I notice that I’ve done something wrong or I can’t do something, I try to make amends as soon as possible.”