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Andriy Shevchenko was born on September 29, 1976 in the small
village of Dvirkivshchyna in the Ukrainian province of Kyiv. It seems
like he has been playing soccer ever since that day, and he has
certainly excelled at it. When Shevchenko was only nine years old,
Olexandr Shpakov recruited him to play for the Dynamo Kyiv youth soccer
league. He spent about ten years playing the junior leagues for Dynamo.
During this time, he won numerous awards, including several for top
In the 1994/1995 season, Shevchenko made his “major league” debut
with Dynamo Kyiv. He only scored one goal, but in a 1999 article in
World Soccer magazine, he states, “I’ll remember that goal for the rest
of my life… After a corner-kick the ball came off one of the defenders
and I blasted it into the top corner of the net.”
Since his first goal of his professional career, Shevchenko has
taken off and never looked back. He has been named top scorer for five
years in a row, and has played in numerous championship games. He led
his team to the Ukrainian Gold five years in a row, and was named
Ukrainian Footballer of the year four times.
In 1999, Shevchenko signed a $16.3 deal to play for AC Milan in
Italy. Just recently, he extended his contract, which was set to expire
in 2005, for another four years. In the beginning of his time with AC
Milan, Shevchenko went through a bit of a slump, but this his game has
picked up this year, as he was named Serie A Top Scorer for the second
Aside from being a world-class soccer (or football, whichever you
prefer) player, Shevchenko also seems to be a genuinely nice person.
The club will miss Shevchenko enormously. As head coach Valeri
Lobanovsky puts it: “He has everything a striker needs — good vision,
incredible pace and physical strength, plus the most important factor of
all, which is feeling for the goal, where it is in relation to the part
of the pitch in which he happens to be. He also likes to work in
training and is learning more and more about the game’s tactical side.”
Dynamo president Hryhori Surkis has no fears about Shevchenko’s future,
saying: “He is very mature for such a young man, a strong personality
who can overcome every possible problem.”
Dynamo players are sure that their soon-to-depart colleague will do
well. Fellow striker Serhi Rebrov says: “Playing with Andri is a
pleasure, and I have learned a lot from him since we teamed up in 1995.
He will develop in a truly great player.”
Defender Yuri Dmytrulin adds: “I can imagine how difficult it must be to
oppose him. I’m glad I don’t have to.”
Shevchenko seems to make every attempt to give credit where it is due.
He has been quoted numerous times as saying that every win was a team
effort, giving credit to his teammates, even if Shevchenko was the
person who scored the winning goal.
Because of Shevchnko’s popularity and winning personality, he is a great
help in bringing positive press to Ukraine, something that Ukraine is in
great need of.
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