Last week, it was made official. Sporting a fancy new beard, Jacob Lensky had signed with FC Utrecht (Dutch).
The manager had a lot of encouraging things to say, considering the fact that Lensky has one career Eredivisie appearance and has been out of football for a year. The technical director was more realistic, calling Lensky a “long-term” project but sounding convinced of his physical and technical abilities. Lensky’s reportedly been getting a look at fullback rather than his native position, which was an attacking midfield role, which will be yet another hurdle for Lensky to overcome as he gets himself back into the professional game.
For those who aren’t familiar with Jacob’s story, the previous edition of the Jacob Lensky Saga is highly recommended reading: to summarise, Lensky was a brilliant prospect since he was old enough to kick a ball whose only question marks were his own desire and a family that may have desired a little too much. If Lensky has genuinely rediscovered his passion, all the luck in the world.
Lensky’s been predominantly getting action at fullback rather than his native midfield positon, and in a 3-1 friendly loss for Utrecht against Ankaraspor of Turkey he got bad reviews (Dutch) for his play in the first half. There’s been some very moderate anxiety over Lensky potentially jumping ship to the Czech Republic national team (his father, Boris, is of Czech descent) after Lensky badmouthed the Canadian programme in an interview back in the Netherlands. But Lensky’s been a good servant of the Canadian team for his entire life to date, including in the Olympic qualifiers and, more importantly, it seems doubtful that the Czechs would want him.
Frankly, for at least a couple years, it seems doubtful that the Canadians would want him.
The big question around Lensky is “is he doing this for the right reasons?” Is he simply another man in his early twenties facing the prospect of working for a living and realizing that kicking a ball around doesn’t seem so bad in comparison? Because if so, it might not be long before he remembers what drove him out of the professional game in the first place. Worst of all, is he succumbing pressure from people around him trying to live out their ambitions through Jacob?
Or maybe he’s someone who’s been flying around Europe since he was a boy, trialing here and getting a youth contract there, who broke into the freedom of adulthood, went to live a normal life for a year, and in so doing rediscovered everything he had loved about the game to begin with? If that’s the case, then the sky’s the limit. Maybe he won’t be the incredible attacking midfielder we’d all dreamed of, a worthy heir to Dwayne De Rosario, but he’ll be a Canadian playing professional football on his own terms. And that ain’t bad.