The weather for the home opener was quite a surprise for Thiesson. “I don’t get it,” he joked, “I’d been here since Wednesday and everything was shiny and nice.” Luckily, his 10 years playing in the Raiffeisen Super League in Switzerland had somewhat prepared him for the tough conditions. “It wasn’t the first time I’ve played in the snow. That cold weather, yes, but not snow.”
Prior to joining Minnesota United FC, Thiesson spent his entire professional career in Switzerland. Starting with FC Zürich and finishing with a six-year stint at FC Luzern. Despite his long tenure, leaving was something the 29-year-old had planned on. “It was always my goal to leave for another football [club], another mentality, another country… and MLS was already on my radar.”
Thiesson was well aware of MLS, and how it has developed over the years, prior to signing for Minnesota. “In Europe, everybody who is concentrated in football knows that, or sees that, MLS is growing and booming.” He also received firsthand experiences of what the league was like from friends who are current or former players, including Colorado Rapids forward Shkëlzen Gashi.
Thiesson and Gashi first met in the Zürich youth system. While their careers took them on different paths, they reconnected as teammates and roommates when playing for AC Bellinzona. Living and playing with Gashi could provide a unique insight into dealing with one of the Rapids’ most dangerous offensive threats. It is likely that the new Minnesota defender will be matched up against him when United travel to Colorado this Saturday in hopes to turn around their recent form.
Before Minnesota takes the field at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, Thiesson is working to make up for lost time with the team. “I want to fit in and get to know everybody as fast as possible. I’m here to do work and get better results.” The Switzerland native said he did not find communicating with the rest of the defense difficult during their first game together. He acknowledged that it will take time to become more familiar with each other’s style of play. “We are working together every day and getting better. The more games we do together the better we will be.”
It will be no small feat to make up the time missed by not participating in preseason, but head coach Adrian Heath is certain of Thiesson’s ability. “It was hard for [Thiesson] considering he got off the plane on [Wednesday], but it is what it is. We’ve seen enough of him to know that he’s going to be fine.”
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