Dirk Carlson: “I had three offers on my table.”

Dirk Carlson (@d1rkprieto) has become a vital part of Luxembourg’s national football team in the last years. The 20-year-old has high ambitions and works hard to reach his goals. The Grasshoppers Zurich left-back tells us more about his career path to date and which teams were in the bid for him in 2018!

Thanks for having you Dirk! What do you do?

Hi! I am a young footballer who wants to fulfill his childhood dream. I‘ve been working hard and fighting for this all my life. I have high ambitions and I want to reach the goals I have step by step. I want to be a role model for football in Luxembourg!

Tell us more about yourself! You are born in the US, right?

I was born in the United States, yes, in Portland (Oregon) to be exact. When I was 5 years old, my family moved to Luxembourg. I finished school here and attended the national football academy in Monnerich. I graduated at the Lycée Michel Rodange and always wanted to study medicine in the first place, but just as the year where the final exams took place, I got my first call-up for the national team. During my school career, I managed to handle both sports and studies pretty well.

When I got my first call-up, I realized that I actually have a chance of becoming a professional footballer and so I started to focus more on this. I didn‘t graduate with the grades I expected, but at least I‘ve got a diploma and can focus on my sports career. For me, being a footballer is the best job I could imagine.

How did you manage to get yourself the chance to become a professional footballer?

As I said before, I always combined football and school in my life and spent my youth in the academy in Monnerich.

My day was basically going to school in the morning and later on during the day practice in the academy. After practice, I took the shuttle bus which drove me back home. At 9PM, I usually came back home and used the rest of the evening to either study or relax a bit before going to bed. There was just no time left for other things. The only day where I took a break was on Sunday where I enjoyed my family‘s company.

“For me, being a footballer is the best job I could imagine.”

Obviously, I enjoyed this lifestyle because the lads in the academy, both staff and other players, became my second family. When I got my first call-up for the national team, my career really took off. The international games with Luxembourg helped me to gain international experience and that‘s how I‘ve been approached by Grasshoppers Zurich.

Why did you choose Grasshoppers? Apparently, there were other teams after you..

I had 3 different options on the table: Either SC Freiburg, AS Monaco or Zurich. After some reflection, I made my mind up and chose Grasshoppers because the package convinced me.

Do you have any side projects besides football?

No, unfortunately not. My focus is 100% on football. Right now, I don‘t have the time to work on other projects. Team practice is either 2 or 3 times a day (except for Thursdays where we have one session) and Sunday, which usually is match day. I want to invest all of my time available into my progress as a footballer so that I can‘t say to myself that I haven‘t worked as hard as possible.

What about the evolution of football in Luxembourg?

If you look at both the national team and the BGL League (Luxembourg‘s highest division), you can see a clear evolution. I can tell you the most about the national team (laughs): In 2018, we played some brilliant matches and had the most successful year ever in terms of results with 5 victories and 2 draws. Of course we‘re disappointed not to win our group in the Nations League. It still hurts until this day. But you know, maybe it was a bit too early for us.

We have to learn from this and work in the same way as we did in the past. If you take a look at the squad, you see that we are still extremely young. It is an extremely promising squad and I‘m proud to be a part of it. Let‘s see what the future holds for us!

“In 2018, we played some brilliant matches.”

What are your plans for the future?

I want to take everything step-by-step, I‘ll try to reach my goals slowly but surely. I have high ambitions and I‘m driven and committed to work as hard as possible to reach them.

You have to be patient in this game. Of course, I want to play in one of the Top 5 leagues, but that‘s all dreams for me as of yet. But as I said before, I‘ll try as hard as I can to make them come true! Hard work always pays off!