An American in Warsaw: Interview with Gerry Madden

On the weekend the new Polonia played their first match of the new season at KS Łomianki.  Unfortunately Saturday’s events had little to do with football as the game was abandoned after 35 minutes due to the scandalous behaviour of KS Łomianki and Legia fans.  Hooligans repeatedly unveiled an offensive banner, threw apple cores at Polonia players and invaded the pitch a number of times.

'fans' on the pitch

Photo: Marcin Żelechowski /@m_zelek

On a positive note Polonia had flown into a 2-0 lead through wonderful goals from Jacek Kosmalski and Michał Strzałkowski.  It is likely that Polonia will receive a walkover due to the violence perpetrated by Łomianki’s fans, however this will be decided in the near future by a Mazovian Football Association commission.  Polonia’s goals can be seen below.

Kosmalski’s opening goal

Strzałkowski’s goal (20 seconds in)

After the circus in Łomianki, attention now turns to Polonia’s first home game of the season on Sunday.  The opponents will be Wkra Żuromin, and a big crowd is expected as Polonia’s fans get their first real chance to cheer on their team since the final home game in the Ekstraklasa.

Of the players who will hope to play some part in the game is Gerry Madden, one of only three non-Polish-native members of the Polonia squad.  RightbankWarsaw had the opportunity to talk to Madden as his team prepares for Sunday’s game.

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Madden in action whilst on trial at fourth tier Swedish club Bodens BK earlier this year

Photo: Jens Lindmark

RightbankWarsaw (RBW) : Hi Gerry. First of all welcome to Polonia! Can you start by telling us a little bit about yourself and your football background?

Gerry Madden (GM): Hi and thanks! I’m from Washington D.C and I just turned 19 this January.  I’ve pretty much been playing football my whole life.  If I remember correctly I was playing on a team when I was 3 with kids a few years older then me.  I went on to play club soccer for Bethesda in Maryland and for my school as well (Walter Johnson High School).

RBW: I hear you have Polish roots, right?

GM: Yes I have Polish roots, I am actually a Polish citizen and do have a Polish passport.  My mom is 100% percent Polish and I am currently living with my family in Warsaw.

RBW: How did you come to play for Polonia?

GM: Well, last year I played with the Polonia youth team for a week.  After I left I kept in touch with one of the younger coaches and this summer I contacted him and that was that!

RBW: Can you tell us something about you as a player? What is your preferred position on the pitch? What are your main strengths/weaknesses?

GM: I play in the centre of midfield, I can play either as a defensive or attacking midfielder. My strengths as a player are technique and vision!  For a weakness, I would like to improve my aerial ability.

Gerry in action in the United States

RBW: Ok, let’s move onto your experience at Polonia.  What do you know about Polonia’s history? 

GM: I am very familiar with Polonia’s history from when the complex and field burned down to last season’s relegation.

RBW: How have you found being at the club so far?

GM: So far the experience has been great, I love the city and the other players have been very welcoming compared to other places I’ve played.

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Madden in action for Polonia in a pre-season friendly against Bug Wyszków

Photo: PhotoTeodorczyk

RBW: Have any members of the Polonia squad particularly impressed you?

GM: I think our team is very strong all over the pitch.  We’ve also got a deep squad which is what makes us so effective.

RBW: Could you tell me a little more about what you know about Poland?  Do you speak any Polish? If not, how do you communicate with the other members of the squad?

GM: Well I speak a bit of Polish and am learning more every day.  I communicate in a mixture of English and Polish with the team.

RBW: What do you know about Polish football and footballers?

GM: I do know quite a bit about Polish football and its players. I often watch the Ekstraklasa and the National team, both the youth and first teams.

RBW: What are the main differences between the way football is played in Poland compared to the situation in the States?

GM: Players here are a bit more technical and physical than in the US, although they’re maybe not as fast without the ball. I’d say the overall pace is a bit faster, but I’m not having many problems adjusting.

RBW: Moving onto your future, where do you see yourself playing eventually?

GM: I would love to stay in Poland for a while, but eventually I could see myself playing in other parts of Europe.

RBW: One final question, is there anything you’d like to say to Polonia’s fans?

GM: I would just like to say thanks! The fans here are amazing, so much support, I love it! They really create a special atmosphere.

Thanks ever so much to Gerry for taking the time to speak with us.  You can follow him on Twitter.

RightbankWarsaw wishes him and the team luck in Sunday’s game vs. Wkra Żuromin.

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