Julian Johan Bechler has travelled a long way from his birthplace Germany to realise his dream of playing professional football. Born in Munich but raised in Dubai and Frankfurt, 19-year-old goalkeeper Julian now calls Kuala Lumpur home after moving from Johor Darul Ta’zim to Kuala Lumpur United FC. Here, Julian shares his hopes and dreams, how he came to be in Malaysia and his thoughts about his new club.
Q: How did you end up at Kuala Lumpur United?
A: When I set out to play football in Asia, I checked if there were possibilities in Malaysia through my contacts including (now KL United coach) Bojan Hodak, who gave a recommendation on good clubs in Malaysia including JDT. I accepted a two-year contract and applied for a sport scholarship. After two years there, we were thinking about opportunities in Selangor (his mother’s birthplace) before we came to know about KL. We received an invitation to train from KL and here I am now.
Q: You’re still waiting to make your senior debut. Do see that happening here?
A: I had several friendly matches and trained with JDT II but did not play in competitive games. It’s something I’m determined to accomplish and I believe that I can.
Q: How are you going to balance playing and studying international business at a private university?
A: It’s not something you learn overnight but I’ve managed to balance studies with playing by managing my free time. You’ll end up balancing the two evenly by allocating your time appropriately.
Q: How was the one-week plus of training with Kuala Lumpur United?
A: It was quite similar with JDT’s level and the standard of training was the same. From an athletic point of view, I did quite well and show a bit of myself. After two weeks with KL, I showed every aspect of my talent and potential and for the trainer to judge accordingly.
Q: Do you see a career path to becoming a professional footballer?
A: A lot of people have asked me why I chose Asia over Europe and my answer is not really about where you go but about seeing what opportunities you have and what you take. Obviously in the long-term playing football is my dream. So I will take it to every extent I can in Malaysia. I had numerous options in Europe as well but my mom was the one who insisted that I try out in Malaysia and see how it goes. I do believe I will realise my long-term objective to be a career footballer.
Q: Do you think Kuala Lumpur United is the club for you looking at it long-term?
A: I never know what my future is going to be but optimistically I believe KL is potentially a good team that could end up high up there someday. I believe they will certainly stay in the Super League this year and even go to the middle or upper ranks. If they progress well, I think KL is the club, not only for me but for a lot of young Malaysians.