Iliohan back on Dutch soil: ‘It’s been an amazing adventure’

Brian Iliohan lived the American dream for two and a half years, but is now back on Dutch soil. The attacker hopes to find a club in the second or third division in the short term.

The Vanguard player from Nieuw-Vennep moved to America in the summer of 2020 and returned permanently last month. “It’s been an amazing adventure, but it’s nice to be at home with my family and girlfriend,” says the former FC Lisz player.

‘This is also a successful time. I have been one of the best players in the team and won many awards,” he said.

Iliohan tries to extend his stay in a land of limitless possibilities, but eventually comes home to a rude awakening. “My name was still in the draft for the new season, which is quite an achievement. Then I did an internship with the MLS club San Jose Earthquakes. It went well and I scored a hat-trick in the exhibition game. The coaches were positive, but I didn’t hear anything. Very strange, not even a message or a small explanation.

23-year-old Iliohan suspects the radio silence is a result of his European ancestry. “Being an international I think I should take the international spot. They can only have seven players in the squad, so they want to spend those spots on big name players.

That annoying tail doesn’t detract from the wonderful time Iliohan had in America. He played for California Baptist University.

“It was a very pleasant experience. The view of football is very different from the Netherlands, but also the traveling to the matches. We often flew to the matches and stayed in the hotel. It was very nice to experience it. In addition, it was a successful time. I was one of the best players in the team and won many awards. For example , I became the top scorer in the entire tournament, twice made the national team of the week, and twice in the top eleven of the entire tournament.

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Iliohan noticed a different attitude among American coaches. “The coaches are not strong footballers in terms of tactics and the way they see football. But I learned a lot from them physically and mentally.

‘At FC Lisz I was mainly a right winger, but in America I switched to striker. It suited me perfectly.’

Iliohan is now back on familiar soil looking for a new challenge. A trial period at a kitchen champion division club unfortunately did nothing. “Between Christmas and New Years I did an internship at TOP Oss. They were satisfied and wanted to invite me for a week, but unfortunately I got kicked and sprained my ankle ligaments. Thus, the training was cancelled. Very sorry.”

Hope for second or third division
Iliohan has now recovered and is maintaining his fitness at FC Lisse – the club he was active at before his American adventure and where father Dennis had great success. He hopes to find a club he can join soon. Does he secretly dream of a professional adventure? “No, the Kitchen Champion division will be tough, they’ve been on the road for weeks. I am aiming for a club from the second or third division.

A return to ter spec (final) is also possible. “It’s definitely an option, FC Lisz is also close. But I don’t write off other clubs immediately.

Iliohan thinks the clubs will bring him a ‘versatile attacker’. “At FC Lisz I was mainly a right winger, but in America I switched to striker. It was more fun. You get into scoring positions more often and score more goals. That nose for goal is with me.

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Main photo: Orange Pictures

read more: Iliohan: “I’m really looking forward to this adventure”


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