Interview: Denzel Duchenne, Zaragoza Hurricanes

Denzel Duchenne arrived at Zaragoza with the season started to help Hurricanes achieve their objectives. Those objectives were suspended due to pandemic we had and are living today. Thanks to Zaragoza Hurricanes and specially Denzel the disposition for the interview.

 

 

In these moments of crisis in which a covid-19 is ravaging the entire world, we would like to know how are you? How are you living through this whole situation? 

I am doing well, making sure I follow the quarantine rules here in Zaragoza. I witnessed the people in my community come together and support those who are fighting against Covid-19; also admire the unity in Zaragoza. Everyday at 8:00 p.m we give a round of applause for those working against the corona virus and it shows a bond here with the people of Zaragoza. I am living well, my coaches and family are very supportive of me even more so during this pandemic.

Recently, I lost my grandmother of natural causes, it hurt not seeing her before she passed but i got a lot of support from my new teammates here in Zaragoza, it is relatively peaceful where I am staying. I stay in shape and have a strong mind during these times because my football journey is not over. 

 

Tell us about your beginnings in football. How did you start in football? Where does your love for this sport come from? Tell us about the most important coach that you had when you were young?

I started playing football at the age of 15 In middle school after a classmate saw my speed and asked me to come to his football teams practices.The name of the team was called Mo better jaguars out in Brownsville Brooklyn NY at Betsyhead park.  My first practice there I ran so fast my shoes came off and I still won the race , they loved my effort. The head coach there (coach Chris ) I would never forget because he was a great motivational speaker and helped develop a lot of boys into men. Over the years my competitive spirit grew and it helped me better my skills as a football player and man.

I started to travel a lot more playing football as a youth with programs such as  (Brooklyn renegades) (Abraham Lincoln high school) it was a great experience for me and gave me a lot of exposure. My love of football comes from the feeling of winning a lot after training hard to overcome obstacles and defeat your opponents. I Played and won many games in my football career which helped me received high titles and put my name out there on the t.v , news, webs, papers and interviews. .

My high school championship was in Yankee stadium, I lead my team to a hard fought victory. Winning MVP a few times was a great confidence booster for me in my earlier years. Immediately after my  championship game my mom and I decided I should get my first tattoo which was a football with the words “born to win inside”. College was where my skills put my face on posters and a billboard to represent the school in Richmond Virginia .

That was a important milestone for me, because I do not know many people where I come from who can say that they were on a poster and billboard for their athletic skills and leadership. All of my coaches played a roll in molding me to become a better athlete and man. Football is life!

 

Denzel playing for Abraham Lincoln HS / nypost.com

 

Coming to the university time… did you receive any offerS? What motivated you to accept the Virginia Union offer?  

I did not receive as much offers as I wanted to coming out of Abraham Lincoln high school. The one that stood out The most was Virginia Union university  because of the official visit. They gave me a great tour around Richmond Virginia and showed me the campus life. The coach and I bonded instantly and he motivated me to accept the offer along with my knowledgeable mother Cherida’s advice.

 

The University of Virginia Union is known to be a historically African American  university, born of the union of Wayland seminary and Richmond Theological Institute. How is to attend a university with such heritage? 

This university is known as an  (HBCU) historical black college but Is still very diverse. They made me more aware of certain African Americans who helped pave the way to success and continued to mold me so I can become something positive in life. It was very old fashioned when i attended, keeping in touch with their roots. The university was very church influenced, having chapel every Thursday morning.

 

The University has given the NFL Champion players like Herbert Scott and Cornelius Johnson. Do you think that, even being in the CIAA, which belongs to D-II, makes the effort and the fight in each game, make it stand out more in terms of the talent that a player may have?

Having a different background from many ,being  born in Suriname and raised in NYC , I took every game as a opportunity to showcase my talent. I always want to be better than the compilation; I want to be great on my own terms.

 

Your biggest rival is Virginia State, What is it like to play against them?

I adapted the rivalry against Virginia state instantly. The coach preached about the rivalry and I fed off his aggression. I showed no mercy when I played against VSU. We tend to have more people in the stands or watching that game so, I knew it was also great for my exposure. I was playing like I was possessed against them. Every play I gave it 200 percent and now I try to carry that mentally every game. 

 

 

How is life as a college student?  

It was my first time being so far away from my family and friends but I adapted well. Being a college student athlete was fun! Time management is the key for success. You want to enjoy college life but also pass your classes and make your family proud. I have a few scholars in my family so I had to uphold the family name and pass my classes while still being in shape and on top of my game. College was very fun and I made lifetime friends while learning valuable lessons. 

 

How would you define yourself as a player? What are your positions?

Smart, versatile, elusive, quick, aggressive, team player, blessed. I can play running back, wide receiver, quarterback, kick returner, punt return and cornerback.  I do not like to lose and I will try to make my teammates feed off my energy so we can all play to our best potential. My vision is very well and it helps me escape and elude defenders at will. I love that I have many different aspects as a player and I am still growing and learning.

 

You arrived in Zaragoza and within a few hours you were already playing a game… Do you remember those feelings? Did you feel prepared?

Yes I remember it like it was yesterday. When I got off the plane, I was ready to practice with the team and build chemistry. When it was game time I felt so excited to be in a new country playing football. I was prepared mentally because I kept telling myself that it was a business trip. I have the support of my family and friends around the world and I was ready to represent. It was a amazing feeling.I feel that you should stay ready so you do not have to get ready when the time comes to perform.

 

By the way, how did Zaragoza Hurricanes contact you? Were you seduced by the idea of playing outside the United States or the idea of learning about another culture?

There was mutual interest in both parties. I wanted to experience overseas football and coach Jesús and Issac both showed interest in me being a part of the Zaragoza Hurricanes family. We communicated through a recruiting website, then once we came to equal terms we spoke on a daily basis until I arrived in Zaragoza. I love learning about new culture and that did play a part in me coming here to Spain. The llifestyle here is different and I like to travel, you gain a lot of knowledge and get to experience the many wonderful qualities this Universe  has to offer.

 

 

How do you see the differences between football in the United States and in Spain?”

Being that I only played one game here in Spain it is hard to compare fully. “A Football game can go many ways and I am excited to play more games in Spain to test out my skill level. I did well in the United States over the years and have good film. I would like to gather more film from me playing in Spain and compare.

 

Football is a minority sport in Spain, as you may have already seen, although bit by bit it is spreading and appealing to more people. Every day there are more young people that are interested and passionate about this sport. What advice would you give to those boys who are starting to play football? What values do you think should be instilled in new players?

I would tell those boys or men who are new to this amazing game that hard work beats talent when talent does not work hard. Practice and watch a lot of film so you can apply different techniques to your game. If you have any questions I am willing to teach and show different athletes things about football.  New players should have patience , this is a fast, rough  and cool game that many can’t play. Trust your skills and work on your kraft. Football is a great tool for me to release anger or stress , find your comfort zone and excel.

 

You posted on your instagram on Friday fourth of June that you had a new contract with Zaragoza Hurricanes. What does it mean for you? Tell us about your feelings right now with this news…

The relationship between coach Isaac, coach Jesús ,the staff ,players of the Hurricanes and myself is growing by the day; we all seem to have a common goal. We would like to bring a championship atmosphere here to Zaragoza. When I found out about my new contract extension I was excited and started to look for ways to better myself and the program. My family and friends around the world were proud and very supportive of me. I feel like I have to step my game up since more time and trust was put into me by the Zaragoza Hurricanes. I am looking foward to traveling with the team and learning more about Spain while enjoying myself in this beautiful country. I have thoughts of really doing big and productive things here in Spain daily! I cannot waste this time and opportunity; I feel blessed and honored.

 

 

 

Focusing a little more on the personal level …

 

What values has football taught you?

Football taught me many things. How to be a leader ,to be tougher , hard work pays off, it is not over until the clock hits zero, there is always a loophole to getting the results you want,  how be a great teammate and to be coachable.

 

What are your expectations about your professional future?

I have to level up daily and become a unique  Person and football athlete that many people look up to and try to imitate.

 

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I see myself very popular in the NFL and also playing in different leagues around the world. Breaking barriers that most athletes can not accomplish. I will be wealthy and healthy with my family living proud and happy of my accomplishments 

 

What is your sports reference? And in life?

I prefer to play many different sports , I want to push my body because I know I am capable of a lot. In life I feel the same way, I can motivate people with my actions. I would like to travel a lot and inspire the youth and those willing to listen to my story , while teaching my skills to them. Learning new things is a great feeling and to travel the world doing something you love makes it all more enjoyable.

 

Where does your family come from?

Most of my family comes from  Suriname 🇸🇷. It is located in South America. I was born in Paramaribo Suriname and moved to the U.S in my toddler years. I have family all across America and also in Holland.

 

What music do you like? What is your favorite song? and your food?

I enjoy a lot of different music from hip-hop rap, to reggae dancehall, gospel and now the Spanish music scene is growing on me. I do not think I have one favorite song But when I like  a song I will repeat it until I get tired of it. Food is probably my favorite thing, I love to eat and try different cultures dishes. I also enjoy cooking. I have a lot of favorite foods and am willing to try new things to eat, and I love chocolate.

 

What is the movie you like the most?

I enjoy watching anime, comedy, western and action movies most.  Apocalypto is a classic

 

Did you get to know anything about Zaragoza?

I know that Zaragoza had many beautiful places to view and the people here are friendly and  growing on  American football. 

 

 

What has impressed you the most?

How close my teammates and coaches are with me. The family like atmosphere surprised me the most. Also the many beautiful women.

 

How people can be in touch with you?

I use Facebook and Instagram to reach out to my supporters about my progress… if you want a in depth look at my personality, you can follow me at dchosen_won on Instagram and Denzel uno Duchenne on Facebook

 

And to end the interview now, what makes you happy?

Seeing my family healthy, wealthy,  happy and people I am closest with succeeding makes me happy . I am also happy when I win or have a great football performance. Helping someone who is genuine and motivated makes me happy. Traveling make me happy. Cooking and eating delicious food makes me happy. Praying and seeing my prayers being answered makes me happiest.

GOD IS GREAT!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spanishbowl wishes Denzel the best of luck in his career as a player and in his life, and congratulate him on his new contract!

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