[Lions Abroad] Joel Zielke

Outside of Wrigley Field – Home of the Chicago Cubs

Interview of Joel Zielke

FB: When did you leave China ?
JZ: After 7 years in Shanghai, we left in June 2014.

FB: Where do you live now ?
JZ: We moved back to my hometown of Elmhurst, IL.  It is about 20 miles West of downtown Chicago.  My family is all within 30 minutes of here so it is very nice to get together with my parents, siblings and my nephews on a regular basis.

FB: Still two kids or more in the pipe line ?
JZ: Still two.  Kylee is now 7 and Paxton is 4. They keep us busy.  They have started their soccer careers and it is a lot of fun to watch them play.

FB: What do you miss the most from China ?
JZ: I miss our friends from Concordia and the Lions family!  I always looked forward to game day on Sundays!

Our HS team won the Illinois State Championship in 2015

FB: What do you not miss at all beside the pollution ?
JZ: The traffic and congestion.  It is nice to have some personal space again!

FB: Are you still coaching soccer ? or playing in the USA ?
JZ: I am an Assistant coach for a HS team at Timothy Christian Schools where Trixy teaches and our kids go to school.  I haven’t found time or a good club to play with yet…

FB: Heard you changed your job how is the new job ?
JZ: The new job is great.  I am now selling Real Estate with Berkshire Hathaway.  The flexible schedule allows me to spend more time with my kids.  Let me know when you guys are ready to buy some US property!  

FB: In the Lions you were famous for your power and goal scoring capability ?  What was in your mind the best goal you scored.
JZ: That is a hard one…  I was always proud of all of my goals – especially PKs and headers I scored off of set pieces.  The ones that stick out more than anything are the ones I missed… I remember a free kick I took from about 30 yards out.  I hit it so hard it drilled off the cross bar and flew back over my head!

FB: I remember one game you exceptionally lost it against the referee was it because of the referee or because of you own state of mind ?
JZ: Kevin!!! I am usually pretty level headed.  I must have had enough of getting taken out from behind.  So clearly it was the referee…

FB: Do you remember any specific game you played with the Lions more than the other games ?
JZ: The championship games really stick out in my mind.  It was always fun winning the title and the celebration afterwards.

FB: Did the coach put you on the bench sometimes ?
JZ: My first season as a Lion I didn’t play much.  That was when Brian was still coaching.  We all know he didn’t make the best decisions…  I think I might have been benched once after that.

FB: You woke up bathing in sweat and realized you had a nightmare about the Lions ! What was the nightmare about ?
JZ: We didn’t win the Title!  Thankfully we always did!!!

FB: Usually topscorers of a team tend to be selfish but in your case it’s the opposite how did you manage to score so many goals for the Lions ?
JZ: I have always found it more fun to get everyone involved in the game.  I always had a strong desire to outwork the opponent and win!  I probably could have scored a few more goals but we had so many talented players it was not always necessary. 

FB: How was life without Trump and How is life with Trump ?
JZ: I don’t watch the news and don’t feel any difference in policy on a daily basis.  My biggest concern is with North Korea.  I hope that doesn’t escalate into something horrific!

FB: Have you met any other Lions in the USA since you left ?
JZ: Unfortunately I have not.  The International Champions Cup comes through Chicago every summer.  I am waiting for the Lions to get a spot in the tournament! 

We are thinking about a trip back to Shanghai in the Spring of 2018 or 2019.  Hopefully you can squeeze me on the field for a few minutes!

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