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Interviews

De la Paz: "I'll Take Every Chance"

27 September 2019

A familiar face returned to the Latics goal last weekend, as Zeus de la Paz stepped in for the injured Gary Woods in the 3-1 win over Morecambe at Boundary Park.

With the Curacao goalkeeper feeling proud to be back in action wearing the Oldham Athletic badge after returning to the club in the summer.

"I'm really happy. It felt like a homecoming to me, I had a little misunderstanding in the summer but I'm glad we could work it out and I'm glad to be back."

He added: "Since my résumé is not that big, I was pleasantly surprised that I could get a couple of games in and show what I could do last season. Show the fans, show the club, show the staff and show how much I work in training and show it off on the pitch."

Whilst away from the club in the summer Zeus was a part of the Curacao squad that exceeded expectations in the CONCACAF Gold Cup, narrowly losing out to the USA in the quarter-finals and it was an experience that will last a lifetime.

"It was amazing. You can't describe it because it's such a small Caribbean island and everything we do is for the island, for the people there and everybody is so proud of us because we made history twice. It's crazy and we hope to get better every time we go."

On his performance last Saturday, the 6'2" shot-stopper felt comfortable being back at Boundary Park, which was also his first victory whilst being in action.

"It's like I said, it was like a homecoming. The fans were shouting my name when I came onto the pitch, had a little clap, it was great, it felt good. To get the legs going again, it felt like another usual day and it was my first win for Oldham as well."

And now de la Paz is working under a new Head Coach in Dino Maamria and someone who he firmly believes will take the club forward.

"I think he has a lot of personality. I think that's good for the boys, keeps us together, keeps it strict and I think he's going to do good things for us."

Still finding himself as back-up in the goalkeeping department, his motivation and determination to keep improving personally is still his top priority. 

"Exactly the same as last year. I'll take every chance I get and I'll do whatever I can to get in that number one spot.

"I think it's more important than the first choice, because the first choice knows he's going to play and the second choice has to be ready in case, whenever.

"So I think their job is harder because they have to compete with the first choice and make them better and themselves better. 

"If you mope around and be negative, it's not going to help and it's not going to have an impact in the right way. So you have to be positive and work hard and make sure you get ready and stay ready."

With it unclear who will start between the sticks on Saturday, de la Paz witnessed first-hand from the bench the 6-0 defeat last season at Brunton Park and knows how important it is to get a positive result this time round.

"I think it would be amazing to do that. I haven't heard anybody say anything about the last game, from last season. 

"But I think it's still there in their minds because it was a battering and it was not a good game. To get a good result there now would be amazing for us and the fans deserve that."


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