Having quickly integrated into his new team in Belgium, former Red Bull Kyle Duncan spoke about his European ambitions and experiences so far in a recent interview released by his new team
Duncan had a dream to play in Europe. As a teenager, he signed on with Valenciennes in France’s Ligue 2 and spent two seasons there, starting off with the reserves before being promoted to the first team.
After some time in the land of wine and cheese, and after no first team games to his name, the Brooklyn born right-back returned to the Empire State where he signed on with the Red Bulls; the team he spurned when they previously offered him a contract as he pursued his dream.
Now 24-years-old, the cousin of Timothy Weah served the MLS side well where he made 72 first team appearances, scored five goals and was named the team’s defender of the year in 2020. That year he also earned a USMNT call up and featured against El Salvador.
But Europe was still calling the young man and when his contract ran out, Duncan didn’t hesitate to sign on the dotted line with Belgian Pro League team, KV (Koninklijke Voetbalclub) Oostende. Located on the Belgian Coast, KVO is a team that is in the process of rebuilding, as their roster consists of mostly very young players.
Having only arrived and started training with the squad in the new year, Duncan was still able to make an immediate impact on his new team, and has secured his spot in their starting lineup. He sat down with the KVO press and spoke about life on the seaside and his journey so far.
The full interview (in Dutch) can be read on the KVO website.
“I feel great here in Oostend,” the new Kustboy said to the KVO press. “It’s a bit quieter here than in New York [laughs], but that’s not so bad. A friend of mine, who is also from New York, but now lives in Germany, came to visit me recently. He also thought it was very quiet here. Life never stands still in New York, there is always something going on there. Here it is also very nice, but in a calm way.”
Being a New Yorker, it seemed to make sense that he would join the NYRB academy as a child.
“I wanted to play at a club where I could develop further and that was the case there. The way of playing at that club quickly appealed to me. I’ve been playing at Red Bulls since I was a kid.”
But the first chance he got, he jumped on the big silver bird and landed in Paris, then headed north for a couple of hours to the city of Valenciennes where things didn’t go according to plan.
“So my first adventure in Europe was not a great success, but that didn’t discourage me, on the contrary. We are now several years later and I want to make it all the way in Europe.”
Head coach Markus Pflanz saw something special in his new acquisition and gave him his chance almost immediately, for which the Yank is grateful.
“Markus did drop me quickly into the team. He sees a lot of room for growth in me and I know that about myself. I can still take a lot of steps and those playing minutes are very useful for that. Experience is very important, and I am now gaining it.”
Unfortunately, results haven’t been going KVO’s way lately. They lost over the weekend at home to Leuven and have only picked up four of a possible 12 points since the year began, which leaves them dangerously close to the relegation play-off.
“We have a very young group with little experience,” he said. “I do think that there is enough quality in the core to climb a few places in the standings. So let’s hope we can show enough quality and score points in the coming weeks. We have already started well in the last two games.”
But his aspirations are greater.
“I would just love to inspire other people. There are many young football players like me in America and I want to show them that you can really make your dreams come true. If you believe in yourself and you work very hard, you can go far.”
Duncan and Oostende have a very big game coming up on Wednesday night when they take on Zulte-Waregem, a team that is a couple places below them in the standings. A win would surely put them in a safer position as they look to hold onto Pro League status.
Duncan covers these topics as well as a range of others in the full interview at the link above.