Sunday Q&A with Pajtim Kasami, Olympiakos midfielder

  • Updated: August 2, 2014 - 9:16 PM

Macedonian-born Pajtim Kasami played for Fulham in the Premier League last season but signed with Olimpiacos a month ago.

Photo: SANG TAN, Associated Press file photo

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Big-time soccer made its way to Minnesota on Saturday in a match between international powerhouses Manchester City and Olympiakos, and the event could be described as a positive result all around.

Many stops on the Guinness International Champions Cup have drawn better crowds — a match at the Big House in Michigan sold out more than 100,000 tickets in a day — but the announced attendance at TCF Bank Stadium of 34,047 was hailed as a “great start with the relationships in the soccer community” by Lester Bagley, a Vikings vice president.

The Vikings, who helped promote the match, and another local group headed by Minnesota United FC owner Bill McGuire — his Loons, who play in the second-tier North American Soccer League, had a league match at the Bank as the second game of the doubleheader — are both vying for a potential Major League Soccer expansion franchise in Minnesota.

Though Saturday’s international match was ostensibly a friendly — a tuneup for both English Premier League club Manchester City and Olympiakos from Greece’s top pro league as they prepare for their seasons to begin shortly — the world-class nature of the players was evident.

Concerns about the natural grass surface — installed over the artificial surface normally used at the stadium by an outside firm, not the University of Minnesota — threatened the quality of play and the health of players but ultimately the event was a success.

After Olympiakos outlasted Manchester City on penalty kicks, Olympiakos midfielder Pajtim Kasami spoke about the match and the Guinness Cup with the Star Tribune’s Michael Rand and other reporters:

 

Q Are you looking forward to the new season?

A It’s been a very long trip in America. Everyone is very tired and everyone looks forward to going back to Europe and preparing for our first game.

 

Q Is it important to you guys to grow the game of soccer in the United States and places like Minnesota that don’t always get exposure to this level of soccer?

A I think we represented our club and Greece. I think it’s also great for America that soccer becomes, all the time, more important.

 

Q There was a lot of talk about the field condition. What specifically made it tough to play on?

A The pitch was not great. We were close to canceling the game. It wasn’t like a soccer pitch, and it’s too dangerous for injuries. But obviously everything [turned out] good.

 

Q Were the talks [about canceling the game] serious?

A Yes, they were very serious. Obviously the pitch wasn’t very great. It’s too great of a risk for injuries. The season starts in two or three weeks. You could see from the stands how the ball would land. The pitch was also very warm, but it’s important that we’re OK.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Houston 2 FINAL
St. Louis 5
Washington 9 FINAL
Atlanta 8
Miami 5 FINAL
Boston 3
Minnesota 1 FINAL
Tampa Bay 2
NY Yankees 4 FINAL
Philadelphia 1
Baltimore 4 FINAL
Toronto 5
Detroit - LP: J. Mantiply 4 FINAL
NY Mets - WP: C. Torres 5
Cincinnati 5 FINAL
Chicago Cubs 2
Los Angeles 10 FINAL
Milwaukee 1
San Francisco 12 FINAL
Texas 3
Chicago WSox 0 FINAL
San Diego 5
Kansas City 11 FINAL
Cleveland 9
Seattle 4 FINAL
Los Angeles 7
Colorado 0 FINAL
LA Angels 3
Oakland 7 FINAL
Arizona 2
Pittsburgh 3 FINAL
NY Yankees 1
Chicago 84 FINAL
Indiana 98
Sacramento 114 FINAL
Orlando 119
Utah 89 FINAL
Philadelphia 83
Miami 97 FINAL
Washington 99
Toronto 94 FINAL
Charlotte 103
Cleveland 97 FINAL
Atlanta 106
Boston 104 FINAL
New Orleans 98
Detroit 93 FINAL
Houston 103
LA Lakers 90 FINAL
Memphis 97
Phoenix 108 FINAL
Brooklyn 100
Denver 111 FINAL
San Antonio 120
Dallas 40 3rd Qtr
Golden State 52
Columbus 3 FINAL
New Jersey 2
Minnesota 3 FINAL
Carolina 1
Buffalo 2 FINAL
Ottawa 3
Calgary 5 FINAL
Detroit 2
Edmonton 1 FINAL(SO)
Chicago 2
Pittsburgh 3 3rd Prd
Anaheim 0
Longwood 68 FINAL
Char Southern 60
Ark-Pine Bluff 94 FINAL
Miss Valley St 75
Southern Ill 45 FINAL
Wichita State 56
Winthrop 67 FINAL
Radford 66
Evansville 67 FINAL
Illinois State 71
Towson 69 FINAL
Elon 74
Gardner-Webb 72 FINAL
High Point 71
Samford 76 FINAL
UNC Greensboro 81
Northern Ill 71 FINAL
Ball State 67
Bowling Green 75 FINAL
Buffalo 77
Brown 69 FINAL
Dartmouth 75
Toledo 59 FINAL
Eastern Mich 85
Akron 77 FINAL
Kent State 79
Ill-Chicago 72 FINAL
Oakland 69
Miami-Ohio 65 FINAL
Ohio 95
Columbia 46 FINAL
Penn 54
Cornell 53 FINAL
Princeton 66
Central Mich 62 FINAL
Western Mich 74
Bradley 46 FINAL
Northern Iowa 71
Morehead State 77 FINAL
Murray State 80
Yale 62 FINAL
Harvard 52
Furman 73 FINAL
Citadel 56
Coll of Charleston 56 FINAL
Drexel 48
UNC-Asheville 57 FINAL
Coastal Carolina 74
Texas Tech 74 FINAL
Baylor 77
Pacific 58 FINAL
San Francisco 62
Loyola-Chicago 81 FINAL
Indiana State 53
Detroit 53 FINAL
Cleveland State 70
Belmont 48 2nd Half 5:22
Eastern Ky 48
Loyola Marymount 8 1st Half 12:11
Santa Clara 20
Chicago 0 2nd Half 13:00
Los Angeles 1
Saint Louis 63 FINAL
(21) George Washington 77
Wake Forest 68 FINAL
(16) Duke 77
Furman 55 FINAL
(17) Chattanooga 68
Monmouth 61 FINAL
Quinnipiac 82
Michigan State 60 FINAL
(4) Maryland 70
Belmont 65 FINAL
UT Martin 71
Arkansas 36 FINAL
(3) South Carolina 58
Mercer 56 FINAL
East Tenn St 66
Richmond 45 FINAL
Fordham 46
Miami-Florida 61 FINAL
(2) Notre Dame 77
Siena 61 FINAL
Iona 71
Washington St 48 FINAL
(9) Arizona State 67
Ark-Pine Bluff 63 FINAL
Miss Valley St 51
(23) Rutgers 57 FINAL
(24) Northwestern 62
Tennessee St 71 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 59
Loyola Marymount 50 FINAL
Gonzaga 70
(18) Texas A&M 65 FINAL
LSU 71
Cincinnati 76 FINAL
UCF 66
Saint Josephs 61 FINAL
Dayton 80
UCLA 62 FINAL
(19) Stanford 67
Santa Clara 42 FINAL
San Diego 51
Virginia Tech 43 FINAL
(7) Florida State 82
SMU 59 FINAL
Memphis 71
Lehigh 75 FINAL
Holy Cross 62
Rhode Island 53 FINAL
Duquesne 66
North Florida 35 FINAL
(20) Fla Gulf Coast 74
Kennesaw St 54 FINAL
Jacksonville 55
USC Upstate 45 FINAL
Northern Ky 64
Lipscomb 69 FINAL
Stetson 92
Nebraska 65 FINAL
(14) Iowa 74
Saint Peters 57 FINAL
Marist 62
Navy 60 FINAL
Bucknell 49
Lafayette 56 FINAL
American Univ 79
Colgate 45 FINAL
Army 48
Georgia 41 FINAL
(5) Tennessee 75
Dartmouth 71 FINAL
Brown 53
Penn 50 FINAL
Columbia 36
(13) Princeton 70 FINAL
Cornell 37
Kansas 49 FINAL
Kansas State 57
Harvard 68 FINAL
Yale 63
(15) North Carolina 75 FINAL
(10) Louisville 77
San Jose St 99 FINAL
UNLV 97
Houston 39 FINAL
Tulane 64
Utah State 58 FINAL
Colorado State 76
Colorado 68 FINAL
(8) Oregon State 65
New Mexico 66 FINAL
Wyoming 55
Minnesota 71 FINAL
Ohio State 83
(12) Kentucky 76 FINAL
(11) Miss State 67
San Diego State 44 FINAL
Nevada 50
Niagara 57 FINAL
Fairfield 65
Texas Tech 40 FINAL
West Virginia 59
Boise State 48 2nd Half 1:11
Fresno State 45
Washington 15 1st Half 13:00
California 7

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who is doing the best job coaching a Minnesota pro sports team?

Weekly Question

Countdown to great deals

Bid March 15-23

    ADVERTISEMENT

    ADVERTISEMENT

    ADVERTISEMENT

    ADVERTISEMENT

    Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

    ADVERTISEMENT

     
    Close