Tomáš Souček achieves his dream to play in the Premier League!

13.02.2020 10:30

From a humble beginning in a small Czech town, all the way to East London

Hanging above the bed in his home are the posters of his idols, amongst which Wenger's famous Arsenal, which he'd stare at whilst fantasizing of scoring goals in the world-renowned English Premier League. For Slavia Prague's former captain, Tomáš Souček (a.k.a. Suk), participant of the 2013 CEE Cup, it certainly did not take long to transform these dreams into a reality. In fact, this young midfielder's stellar performances in the Czech League, as well as in the Champions League, caught the eye of West Ham scouts, who quickly jumped on the opportunity to enlist his services.

He was but a boy when he began his relationship with football, playing alongside others from Havlíčkův Brod in a playground on the grounds of Na Losích on Giroud, imagining himself playing alongside idols such as Bergkamp and Rosický for his beloved "Gunners". At the young age of 10, he decided to bring his talents to a Slavia try-out, where they decided to give him a chance. He was quiet, calm, and not particularly impressive. At the time, he had as much talent as any one of the other boys his age. Despite this and the long commute from Havlíčkův Brod to Prague for training, the boy was undeterred.

"He never had any special demands or negative reactions. He did what was asked of him. He played where you put him. Fellow teammates respected him and he gradually took on the role of a leader in the team", his former coach, Milan Titěra, recounts of the boy's journey into professional football.

As a teengaer, he already had a good grasp of the game, was good at handling the ball and a killer shot worthy of the best strikers out there. He seemed to have serious talent.

"He wasn't a fast or dynamic player; he was one of the top players on the pitch. A good boy with an excellent character, a great vision of football coupled with a strong desire to achieve something", said one of his first coaches, Petr Karoch.

His first appearance in a top-level tournament was in the 2013 CEE Cup, in which he and his fellow teammates easily cruised all the way to the final. There, inside Viktorky stadium, they went up against the Hungarian's of Györ, and though Slavia took the lead in the first half, they were ultimately reached and finally overtaken in the very last minute of the match.

He graduated to adult football shortly thereafter, but it was to be a sobering experience. He failed his try-out inVlašim under the strict, watchful eye of Vlastimil Petržela, nor did he fair any better in Frýdek-Místek. At that point, he decided to try his luck not far from Vršovice, as he joined Viktoria Žižkov.

It was here that he first met the coaches who would turn this diamond-in-the-rough into a gem – Trpišovský, Houštecký and Köstl. "Suk was 'enthusiastic' at the possibility of taking part in the 2014 winter preparation. Before that, he had failed his previous try-outs and had come to us as a blind horse, as someone who had been determined to not possess the skills needed to play in the top leagues of football. After a week of training, we began to thinks so as well", says Jaroslav Köstl, today's assistant at Slavia A, with an ironic smile; even Trpišovský was not impressed.

He was saved by a not-so-popular figure in Czech football, Ivan Horník. He came and said, "Boys, don't be foolish. It's free, give it a try". And try they did. Can you guess who ended up being his great mentor? Jindřich Trpišovský. A fateful encounter with this special coach changed his life. Souček's period of tribulation came to an end when he finally returned to Slavia, in great form, after a brief stint on loan at Liberec, again under Trpišovský's guide, who sent him back to Prague as a newfound player. You all know the story from that point. Back at Slavia, he participated in an epic season which culminated in a league title, a national cup, and a sensational spot in the Champions League. He also helped the Czech national team promote to the upcoming 2020 UEFA EURO. "Today he is the best player in the Czech Republic, a player for the European market and a player who will one day be the captain of the Czech national team. We are very happy about this", concluded Köstl. Propelled by a carefully assembled mosaic of honest work and a desire to one day play in England, the Premier League took notice and finally came calling shortly before the end of January.

The ultimate dream of getting a chance to play for Arsenal, in their Emirates Stadium, has not yet been achieved, but in the meantime he is playing close by, in East London's Stratford neighborhood, home of the rich West Ham United. It is from here that he hopes to send the message that he is ready for the challenge. History has been favorable to Czech footballers in West Ham. The question is, will fans at the Olympic Stadium fall in love with "Suk"?
Tagy: tomas soucek    slavia    west ham united    england    2013   

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