The night of Monday February 20 was only a regular day on the workplace for Watford’s Ken Sema.
The midfielder had simply scored two objectives in a player-of-the-match efficiency because the Hornets beat West Brom 3-2 at Vicarage Road and simply as he’d accomplished many occasions earlier than, he was about to go in entrance of the cameras.
However, this time it was completely different as Sema, who has had a stammer for the reason that age of six, went viral after being praised by the soccer world and past for his courageous post-match interview.
“It felt a bit unusual, I’m not going to lie,” he instructed Sky Sports News in an unique interview. “Obviously, I had a superb sport, was participant of the match, scored two objectives and the workforce gained. Everything was good and it was joyful days.
“All of a sudden, I did an interview, which was a traditional factor to do as a result of I’ve been right here 5 years and I’ve accomplished 10 to fifteen interviews with cameras and every part, however this felt completely different, and it simply blew up.”
Sema, who joined Watford from Ostersunds in July 2018, definitely felt the love from soccer and world wide as he was lauded for having the boldness to talk in a post-match interview, which has now been watched a staggering 40 million occasions.
He stated: “In the start, I used to be simply pondering how come? I did a traditional interview after successful the sport and now I’m listening to issues like, what a man, a task mannequin, inspirational and a hero.
“I did not see it as a result of I did not really feel prefer it. It was only a regular factor for me.”
He added: “There was a lot love. There was a lot happiness and pleasure. I used to be touched emotionally as a result of I did not pressure something. I did not say something due to it, it was simply regular.
“But I’m joyful about it and grateful for all the type messages.”
Sema’s stammer developed when he was at college in Sweden. He did get skilled assist in the type of speech remedy rising up however extremely it did not show to be a lot assist to him as a result of he at all times spoke completely when there.
“I began to have a stammer once I was six-years-old. It simply got here from nowhere. I did not understand how, and I did not understand how come. I simply got here house from faculty in the future and I began to speak a little bit in another way.
“At first, was it only a humorous factor I used to be attempting as a six-year-old. I do not know nevertheless it simply caught with me. When I used to be a little bit bit older, 10 or 11, it simply felt prefer it was me now and I converse a little bit bit in another way.
“My household at all times stated it was no drawback. I attempted to talk with a speech instructor however at any time when I went there, I by no means had a stammer. They had been pondering ‘why I used to be there and did I actually need it?’ They thought I spoke completely advantageous.”
Since these early days in Sweden, Sema has loved a profitable soccer profession which has introduced him to England the place he has remodeled 100 appearances for Watford.
The 29-year-old has additionally featured on the Olympics for Sweden and made 14 appearances for his nationwide workforce.
Has his stammer ever impacted his soccer? Sema insists his soccer has by no means been affected, even referencing his initiation tune at Watford.
“It’s by no means occurred to me,” Sema stated.
“I believed coming overseas to England that it could be bizarre or unusual to have a stammer, however the factor is, no-one actually cared. No-one requested about it as a result of I used to be nonetheless me, attempting to talk to everybody and attempting to be concerned.
“I by no means sensed anybody interested by why I spoke like that or desirous to ask me what my deal was. I’ve had nice team-mates and coaches who’ve been calm about it. They have requested me how I’m feeling about it.
“When you might be new in a workforce and it’s important to sing an initiation tune, I did not thoughts. I can do it. I did Stand by Me, which is a go-to tune for me. I do not thoughts standing in entrance of a crowd, saying my identify and the place I’m from and singing.
“Maybe it’s as a result of I like doing this and I’m not afraid of it. These interviews, spotlights and cameras, it is okay as a result of clearly it’s my job and it’s within the public eye.
“You are a footballer, everybody is aware of you and that’s regular for me, I assume. However, I do know lots of people can have struggles and have challenges being in entrance of crowds, nevertheless it’s about attempting to be assured in your self and staying calm.”
When requested if his stammer ever hindered him when he was youthful, he added: “I’ve by no means seen it as a problem for me.
“I’m an outspoken man, I like to speak, I wish to chortle and make jokes, I dance, sing and every part. I’ve by no means seen it as a problem like I am unable to discuss in public, or I am unable to go in entrance of a crowd as a result of I’m shy. I’m not that kind of man.
“But clearly, once I was youthful it was a bit completely different. In faculty you do not know how your pals and classmates will react, however it’s extra about the way you see your self quite than how the individuals round you see you as a result of it appears like no-one actually cares the way you converse or how you might be.
“As quickly as you might be joyful sufficient to be you, that’s all that issues.”
Looking again, what can be Sema’s message to his 10-year-old self?
“If I used to be younger and noticed myself now, I’d assume ‘wow’. I’d assume he is like me and if he can do it, I can do it. It’s not like you’ll be able to’t develop into a footballer as a result of you’ve gotten a stammer.
“It’s not a problem. If I can do it, then so can she or he. You do not must cease your desires. It’s free to dream. Just attempt to be you as a result of it’s your superpower.
“As a human, you might be at all times pondering of the more serious, whereas others round you, your family and friends, they do not actually care in case you converse with a stammer generally. It does not have an effect on the individuals round you.”
And lastly, whereas Sema nonetheless has loads of years left forward of him in soccer has the response to his interview doubtlessly modified what comes after soccer?
Whatever may come subsequent, Sema may be very eager to construct on the constructive impression his ‘regular’ interview had.
He stated: “This complete factor that has occurred would possibly really be for one thing extra. This is greater than me.
“But if I can assist in any method, even when it’s the smallest factor, I’ll do it each time.”