Kevin Paredes: “I’m living my dream”

VfL Wolfsburg

Kevin Paredes: “I’m living my dream”

29.06.2022, 19:06

| Reading time: 6 minutes

Kevin Paredes is on his own for the first time in Wolfsburg – far away from his family in the USA.

Photo: Darius Simka / regios24

The 19-year-old needed time to settle in at VfL Wolfsburg. Now he wants to take the next step – and not just in the Bundesliga.

In the US, soccer still has to line up behind American football, basketball, baseball and even ice hockey when it comes to the most popular sports. But its popularity is growing. And thus also the number of talents who want to recommend themselves for higher things. One of them is Kevin Paredes. The 19-year-old has been with the Bundesliga club since the end of January VfL Wolfsburg under contract. So far, the lively winger has only made two short appearances. That should change now.

The youngster has set goals for the new season. “I want to play more and help the team where I can. Score goals, provide assists. I want to start small, play a few minutes here and there. And towards the end of the season I would like to be part of the regular rotation,” says Paredes. They are achievable milestones. Paredes knows how difficult it is to gain a foothold in the Bundesliga.

John Anthony Brooks as a supporter and shopping assistant

The first half year was one time of acclimatization. He had never lived alone, always under the protection of his parents. Now he’s on his own. He has to do his own shopping and keep his apartment clean. “Doing the laundry is a big deal,” he says, laughing.

Although – Paredes was not completely without support. Especially Jay Brooks helped him a lot in everyday life. “He treated me like a little brother. I already miss him,” says the 19-year-old about the defensive giants who have migrated away. His parents were there too. In February they were able to visit their offspring for five days. It’s a long way from the US state of Virginia to the VW city.

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Because the parents wanted it that way – football instead of sunburn for Kevin Paredes

Incidentally, his parents were also the reason why Kevin Paredes decided to play football. They are Dominicans. Baseball is a big deal there. “My brother played baseball when we were younger. But my parents said it was too long to stand in the sun for three or four hours. So I switched to a sport that only lasts 90 minutes – and that was football,” says the left-footed player.

He now feels at home in Wolfsburg. “I’m living my dream. Who doesn’t want to be in the Bundesliga play?” And his path almost took him to the Mittelland Canal earlier. He was there in 2019 and wanted to join the junior academy. “But that didn’t work out back then.” At the second attempt, Paredes ended up in Wolfsburg. Here he is now sweating in his first pre-season with the wolves. The new coach Niko Kovac help him a lot to achieve his goals. There is also support from the other players – especially from Maximilian Arnold and Jerome Rousillon. “Arnold, telling me to stay after practice to work on my game. Defensively, it’s mainly Roussillon who helps me. Everything he knows he tries to pass on to me,” says Paredes.

The VfL Wolfsburg player is studying German diligently – and wants to go to the World Cup

Adaptation remains the keyword in Paredes’ short history at VfL. The opponents he faces in Germany are stronger and faster than at home. The 19-year-old still looks like a schoolboy in a men’s team – a little thin and at 1.70 meters a little too short. But also at the physis files Paredes, working on “gaining a few kilos.”

In addition to strengthening the body, the US boy also strengthens the mind. He still understands German only fragments. But he studies hard, has a teacher. “But it’s very difficult,” says the 19-year-old and laughs. He already has his next goals in mind. To the World Championship he would like to drive. Best of all this year. “That is my goal. If that doesn’t work, I keep working. 2026 is another World Cup.”

Kevin Paredes sets goals without going too far. He wants to progress, but remains realistic. And he has already reached a few milestones. On April 9, he made his Bundesliga debut in Wolves’ 4-0 win over Arminia Bielefeld. Four minutes left him Florian Kohfeldt on the square. After all. When the ex-coach and his protégé at the time were waiting for the substitutions on the outside line, Kohfeldt gave the youngster a fatherly hug. Paredes actually wanted to change his jersey after the final whistle in the old footballer manner. his compatriot George Bello but advised him against it. “He said to keep it because it was my first game.” And so did Paredes. Now the jersey has a place of honor – framed on the wall of his first apartment in Wolfsburg.

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