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James set for French challenge

After returning to New Zealand for the All Whites clash with South Africa in May, the 27-year-old linked up with the French club for their pre-season and hasn’t looked back, signing a contract until the end of the 2014-2015 season.

“I had contact with a French agent who discussed this potential opportunity with me a couple of months ago,” James said.
“I joined the team for the start of their pre-season for two weeks and also went away to a training camp in the mountains of Gérardmer and I was able to integrate with the team really well.
“After that I played a friendly which we won 5-0 and I performed well and I signed officially soon after.”

James – who scored in both legs of the All Whites intercontinental World Cup playoff loss to Mexico in 2013 – sees CS Sedan as a perfect fit as the club work their way back to the top divisions of French football.

“I just think the potential is enormous at this club,” James says, “it is a very historic club, that has won many things in French football and had many players fulfil their potential.
“I believe I can achieve things here and I can progress even further as a player while enjoying the excitement and challenge of trying to help the team win promotion from this division.
“It’s also in the heart of European football and that is important I believe. The difficulty of playing in Finland was the lack of exposure and the season calendar, so this opportunity allowed me to get back in line with the European calendar which makes a big difference for the future.”
James says his determination to find the right situation, one that balances his on-field ambitions with the right experience off the field, has now paid off handsomely.
“I had to be patient and believe the right opportunity would appear and trust my qualities as a player.
“I avoided re-signing with my former team in Finland in June, and other opportunities I had in Asia, as I believed I would find an opportunity in Europe and I’m glad it has worked out. I love being in a country that lives and breathes football.
“The club is important to the people of Sedan and many come just to watch training every day.
“The team is very professional with everything and have been extremely helpful with allowing me to settle in as quickly as possible. It’s nice when you feel the club cares about your well-being as well as what you do on the pitch. Too me it feels very much like home already.”

CS Sedan’s first league game is on August 16 against the second team of Ligue 1 club Lille and the 18-cap All White has clear intentions now his immediate playing future is secure.

“Obviously my targets this season are to play as many minutes as I can on the pitch and contribute in a big way within my role in the team. I want to give this club my best because they have provided this wonderful platform to perform.
“With that I want to adapt and experience as much of the French culture as possible and learn the language. I think this is important to help with integration into a team, showing that you are willing to take on board a part of their culture whilst imprinting your own at the club also.
“I am looking forward to experiencing it all and fighting for three points, week in and week out.
“It will be a tough and long season, and to win any type of league in any country is extremely difficult but, from what I have seen from this team so far, we have a group of players willing to do what it takes to make that happen.”
Story courtesy of New Zealand football www.nzfootball.co.nz


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