Goalkeeper Jo Coppens On Scoring A Goal & Playing Alongside Hazard

Goalkeeper Jo Coppens On Scoring A Goal & Playing Alongside Hazard

James Rowe spoke to Carl Zeiss Jena’s Belgian goalkeeper, Jo Coppens, about his time at Cercle Brugge in Belgium, MVV Maastricht in the Netherlands, and of course his current team Carl Zeiss Jena in Germany.

Can I ask for your reaction to the recent 4-2 victory against Werder Bremen II — a match in which you scored a goal?

Yes I did score in that match, and it was a strange feeling afterwards. I did not realise that it was so unique and it’s only in the past few days that I realise how important it was.

We were 2-0 down and we managed to fight back in the second half and we went on to win the match 4-2.

My teammates mentioned my goal to me and the German media wrote about it on the news sites only then did I start to realise that it was unique for a goalkeeper to score direct from a goal kick.


In 2017 you signed for German team Carl Zeiss Jena. Are you enjoying your time at the club so far and how is it for you to play your football in Germany? 

I am really enjoying myself here at Carl Zeiss Jena. As a player you hear many good things about the German football mentality and professionalism, and I had previously heard about it when playing football at club level in Belgium and the Netherlands.

When my agent told me about the interest from Carl Zeiss Jena I did not hesitate for a second and I really wanted to come here. Things happened really quickly after that and I am happy to be here.


You played for 6 seasons for Cercle Brugge in Belgium (2008-2014) How do you look back on your time at the club?

Cercle Brugge gave me the opportunity to make my debut in professional football, and I am grateful to them for that.

I learned a lot, particularly in the first year learning from fellow professionals. I have fond memories of my time at the club and I am proud of the fact that I was able to make by debut for the club at 18 years of age.


You have had managers in the past at such as Bob Peeters and Lorenzo Staelens at Cercle Brugge. Did either of those managers help you with advice during your time at the club and what was your experiences playing under them?

Lorenzo Staelens was an assistant to start with and then he was made manager of the club. He is a very relaxed person with a calm personalty.

Bob Peeters was a manager who really liked to motivate his players and give his players confidence with encouraging words in the changing room, and that made for a great atmosphere in the squad.

I also had Dutch manager Foeke Booy as my manager at the club, and he made a great impression on me.


You played 2 seasons for MVV Maastricht in the Netherlands (2014-2016). What was your opinion of the level of football in the Jupiler League (Dutch second tier)

I must say that the position I was in at MVV Maastricht was ideal. I view the Jupiler League as a sort of training league for young talents who can continue to grown and learn their trade in the Netherlands.

I also believe that the level of the Jupiler League is very good and full of many talented players in all positions.


Could you say who is the best player you have played with so far in your career?

I have been fortunate to play with current Chelsea midfielder Eden Hazard at under-17 level for Belgium.

Even at a young age you could tell he was going to be a great player. Back then he even had tremendous vision and fantastic speed. It was a pleasure to play with him.


Who is the most difficult opponent that you have faced so far in your career?

At under-17 level with Belgium we played many international matches. I remember a friendly against Germany who had current Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos in their starting lineup.

In the 2007 UEFA Under-17 European Championship in our own country, we played against Spain in the semi-final and we drew 1-1, but lost the match 7-6 on penalties. Bojan Krkic scored for Spain in that match. He was also crowned player of the tournament.


Finally, Jo, who are the managers that have helped you the most so far in your career?

There are two managers that have really helped me during my career. At youth level I had Ronny van Geneugden at Genk. He was strict and he always pushed you to try and make yourself better.

I would also like to mention Glen De Boeck who was my manager at Cercle Brugge. He had the confidence to give me my debut and put me in goal at a young age, and I will always be grateful to him for that.