As a young boy, Ritsu Doan (now 21) left his home Japan for a soccer stay in the Netherlands.
PSV loosened him from FC Groningen’s grip in the summer. We talked to him about what it takes to succeed as a Japanese football talent in the Netherlands and his preference for everything that concerns fashion. Being unique is what it’s all about for him…
The road to European fame is long for every talent, but especially for a young soccer player from Japan. The country, the language, food. As soon as you move, everything suddenly changes. And then you are completely dependent on yourself.
‘Already from the moment I joined the selection teams in Japan and since high school, I’ve stayed in dorms and I didn’t see my parents much. When I came to The Netherlands two years ago, I was already used to doing things on my own. You cannot always have your home comforts and that makes you insecure, nervous. In the beginning I suffered a bit, but now the Netherlands has really a become a second home.”
A new home, that includes good food? At FC Groningen it was standard breakfasts and lunches with the team, and there was really no steamed rice with miso soup on the table. “After two years I got used to it, potato life,” Doan laughs.
“Japanese food means a lot to me. It is an important part of my life. Fortunately, in Eindhoven, there are much more Japanese restaurants than in Groningen, that makes my life a lot easier. “
Doan came from far, but adapted very quickly.
Groningen did a great job for the Japanese international, it is where he played himself into the spotlight. Although the switch to PSV did not fall completely out of the sky.
“Coincidentally, or not: four years ago, when I was sixteen, seventeen, PSV already had once made an offer for me, but the club where I then played for (Gamba Osaka, ed.) refused it. There were many rumours at the time, there were all kinds of club interested, but in retrospect, I believe that FC Groningen has been a good choice. It was, compared to Japan, a step up, a bigger club. And PSV is even bigger. It is up to me to prove that I can handle the level. “
Read the rest of our interview with Ritsu Doan in the new issue of Life After Football. Order yours here.