Jason Van Achteren chooses Belgium after adventures in Iceland and the United States.  “I estimate the level in the second division in Iceland to be slightly higher,” says Van Achteren.

Jason Van Achteren chooses Belgium after adventures in Iceland and the United States. “I estimate the level in the second division in Iceland to be slightly higher,” says Van Achteren. © RR

Lyra-Lierse made a remarkable transfer at the end of last week with the arrival of Jason Van Achteren. The 29-year-old midfielder has played most of his career in the United States and Iceland and has been working for third provincial Oxford Hemiksem in recent months. Nevertheless, the Pallieters were quickly convinced.

Kurt Guldentops

“I understand that people frown,” Jason Van Achteren opens. “Lyra-Lierse that gets a player in third provincial. Never before have I played football at that level and I ended up there somewhat unexpectedly. I had my career on my return to Belgium on hold after a passage in the United States and Iceland. There I met my wife. Corona, homesickness and our daughter brought me back to my own country. During the season, Matthias Schaessens suddenly rang the bell. He was in charge of Oxford Hemiksem, which was in serious relegation distress. He asked me if I wanted to help the team out of trouble. We barely managed to save our skin.”

And meanwhile, Jason Van Achteren had once again got a grip on the football bug. The midfielder came into contact with Lyra-Lierse through Jaric Schaessens, brother of Matthias.

“I took a test and was able to convince the sporting staff quite quickly. And I was also quickly charmed by the Lyra-Lierse club. I still know some people from my period as a youth player at yellow-black. In that way it is also a bit like coming home. I am really looking forward to this new challenge. I did follow some matches from the series last season, when I went to see my friend and Londerzeel goalkeeper Stefan Roef. So I can estimate the level somewhat.”

Van Achteren himself has played football for the Icelandic second division team Selfoss in recent years, where he worked as a professional.

“I am currently in education and the pay is comparable. I have gained quite a bit of experience abroad and I hope to be able to lead the younger players along. I estimate the level in the second division in Iceland to be slightly higher, so I really have to be able to play a significant role here. I have heard that the club is very much alive. I’m looking forward to that first match more than anyone.”

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