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Recently, Goalden had the good fortune of interviewing Northern Ireland football striker, Paul Munster.  Munster, dubbed early in his career as The Real Deal, is an excellent example of a player overcoming an injury setback in order to chase one’s dream of becoming a professional footballer. Originally from Northern Ireland, the athletic 5’11.5’’ forward came to Canada in his early twenties before returning to Europe and becoming a professional footballer.

Munster immediately established himself as a dangerous goal scorer in the CSL (Canadian Soccer League) winning the league golden boot, league rookie of the year and MVP for his then club London City.  Munster is especially dangerous in the 18 yard box. A smart, quick and deceptive player, he is able to elude defenders thereby creating scoring opportunities for himself. He also puts himself in the right area at the right time to score.

Munster currently plays for Northern Irish football club Linfield.  The 28 year old has made 76 appearances and scored an impressive 31 goals. He is a natural goal scorer who should not be left unmarked.

Goalden: Do you recommend players to take the college route in order to go pro or to go for trials in Europe the way you did?

Munster: Players should go straight out of high school to Europe.  The longer you leave it, the harder it becomes.  Players in Europe train full time where they are able to develop as a player.  Canadian soccer is not full time training and therefore players do not develop the same way as in Europe.  However, if you want to go to the MLS then US college soccer is the route to move forward.

Goalden: what was your experience like playing your first game as a professional?

Munster: My first time playing pro was live on Czech Republic television. We won the game. Everyone in the country knew me as I was the first Irish man to play in the Czech Republic for Slavia Praha.

Goalden: what do you feel was the turning point for you in soccer career?

Munster: Playing for London City changed for me.  I was out injured for two years with a knee injury.  Then in the summer of 2004 I killed it; scouts were watching me and I ended up going on a three week trial in Europe.  In my second week I was offered a contract with Slavia Praha.

Goalden: who and what has been your biggest inspiration in pursuing your soccer career?

Munster: My family is an all soccer family and has been my inspiration. I wanted to be the best I can be. Now I have played at the highest and become professional player.

Goalden: originally from Ireland, tell us how you came to Canada and how that opened doors for you for a professional career back in Europe.

Munster: I finished school in Ireland, then did my ACL. I went on a two year program in Canada coaching kids.  After two years were up, I played that summer with London City and the rest is history.

Goalden: how was the transition from amateur to professional?

Munster: Big transition.  Every day there is training.  Sometimes there are two games per week.  There are no distractions, only soccer.

Goalden: what are some of your future goals?

Munster: I only have a few future goals left as I have achieved a lot of personal awards in addition to team awards.  However, I want to play for the National Team.  So far I have been a stand by, but I want and am ready for the call up.  The goal is always to play at a higher level and to be a better player.  You can always improve.

Goalden: where does Canadian soccer rank in comparison to European soccer? More specifically, where does it rank in comparison to the level of soccer you are currently playing in.

Munster: To be honest, the Canadian soccer level is way below that of Europe. Now that I have moved on I realize it is amateur football in Canada.  Youth soccer in Canada is OK, but the longer you stay in Canada the more difficult it becomes going the professional route.

To see Munster in action, watch the video below.

To read more on Munster you can view his online profile by clicking here. You can also follow him on his facebook page “Paul Munster Fan Group” and you can follow him on twitter under Munster_23.

Goalden looks forward to following more of Munster’s success. He certainly is The Real Deal.

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