Spiegel sets ‘game-time’ target

  • Raphael Spiegel featured in both US Tour fixtures against Seattle Sounders and Carolina RailHawks
  • Swiss goalkeeper enjoyed trip and is now focused on more pre-season opportunities
  • Twenty-three year old won U21 Premier League Cup with Development Squad last season
Raphael Spiegel says West Ham United’s US Tour was a fantastic experience on and off the pitch.

The young Swiss goalkeeper trained intensively with goalkeeper coach Chris Woods and fellow stopper Adrian, initially at the Seattle Seahawks’ stunning VMAC training complex, then in hot and humid conditions at Carolina RailHawks’ WakeMed Soccer Park.

Spiegel played the full second half of both pre-season fixtures, making a number of fine saves against Seattle Sounders and conceding just a penalty to the RailHawks.

The 23-year-old also enjoyed the cultural aspects of the Tour, taking a trip to downtown Seattle to view the historic Space Needle, Pike Place Market and first-ever Starbucks Coffee House.

“It’s always nice to go away in pre-season and the further you go, the more exciting it is,” he confirmed. “It has been really good in America and I enjoyed every day and every training. It was a good experience and we came together as a squad.

“In training, it’s a bit harder when you have only two goalkeepers, but at this stage of the pre-season it’s perfect because you get very fit. I’m happy to have played two halves and got them under my belt.

“I didn’t really have a chance with the goals I conceded. I made one or two good saves in the first game and had a solid game in the second one, but didn’t really have much to do. Obviously I can’t control the game, so I just try to do my best when I have something to do and try to help the team.

“In the other pre-season games ahead, I’m sure I’ll have more work and I can show what I’m about.”
For my development, I need to get more game-time, wherever that is. That’s my main goal
Spiegel particularly enjoyed visiting Seattle, where his love of discovering new cultures and sightseeing were fulfilled with a visit to the Emerald City’s iconic landmarks.

“Seattle was amazing – it was an unbelievable experience to train where the NFL team [Seattle Seahawks] train,” he said. “It was a nice city and the weather was good to train in, as it wasn’t too hot.

“In North Carolina, again the facilities and pitches were good, but the weather was really hot and challenging. Overall, it was a good experience and I enjoyed it.”

The US Tour squad enjoyed a well-earned day or two off at the end of the week before packing their bags again for a training camp and three further pre-season matches in Austria.

With Darren Randolph granted time off after his Euro 2016 heroics with Ireland, Spiegel is again set to enjoy plenty of match action there – and potentially during a loan spell next season.

“I will work every day with Chris to get better and the games I get, I will give my best and see what happens,” he continued. “For my development, I need to get more game-time, wherever that is. That’s my main goal.

“It’s been a very good year. I had a good season last season, helping the team to win the U21 Premier League Cup and making a lot of progress with Chris as well. Now, I feel I am ready to play and ready for more.”