I carry the family torch. We have always had a ŠKODA vehicle

I carry the family torch. We have always had a ŠKODA vehicle

Models KODIAQ

What role does a car play in the life of Czech football goalkeeper Tomáš Vaclík? What car was he driving when practicing for his driver’s license tests and what does he drive nowadays? What is it like to drive in Spain where he currently plays for Seville and in Switzerland where he played before? Read the interview!

26. 3. 2020

The thirty-year-old goalkeeper of the Spanish FC Sevilla and the number one goalkeeper on the Czech national team has a very good relationship with cars. He perceives the car as a place of relaxation and “recharging”. Read our interview with the ŠKODA ČR ambassador and get a peek into his life.

Do you remember the first time you sat in a car?
I cannot remember the first time, but I still remember our dad taking me and my brother to an empty parking lot in the winter to try out sliding on ice and in snow. Since childhood, I and my brother loved cars. As our parents drove us to practice, we used to spend a lot of time in them.

We come from a family with a strong ŠKODA tradition. As far as I remember, we have only had ŠKODA cars: ŠKODA 120 at first, then FELICIA, FABIA and OCTAVIA. OCTAVIA is the car our parents drive these days. I drive KODIAQ RS, so I carry our family torch.

What do you like most about the ŠKODA KODIAQ RS model?
What I absolutely love is how spacious it is. It doesn’t seem that way at first sight. I used to drive an SUV of one premium German brand and it seems big from the outside, but KODIAQ RS is even more spacious. Plus, it has a large trunk. We have now a second child so it’s the perfect car. And it looks good.

What car were you driving in your driving school?
Black ŠKODA FABIA, I remember that clearly.

"I couldn’t wait to be able to drive on my own, not dependent on anybody."    photo: Radek Mauer, X Production

At the first go?
Well, I passed the driving test at the first go, though I had to retake the theoretical exam. I already had a car at home so I was really looking forward to finally get my “papers”. I managed to save up some money, my parents helped a little, and I bought my first car right when I was 18. I couldn’t wait to be able to drive on my own, not dependent on anybody.

What did it feel like to sit behind the wheel for the first time? Joy or nervousness?
Well, of course I was a bit apprehensive. But I was also really excited, which had a lot to do with the fact that I had a car already waiting for me at home.

THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IS GETTING BACK HOME

How would you describe yourself as a driver? Are you a calm one or do you get angry behind the wheel?
I’m a calm driver. I see driving as a way of relaxing so I don’t get angry. For me, driving is a way of recharging my batteries. Sometimes I like to enjoy a fast ride but everything in moderation. I have my family.

Did your driving change when your daughter was born?
I never drove like a madman. The fact that there is always someone waiting for me at home was always on my mind. Anything can happen on the road - and I'm not the only one who would be affected. So, the most important thing is always getting back home.

What role does a car play in your life?
An important one. It’s my daily partner. I need to drive to my training sessions. I used to drive my daughter to her kindergarten but now she goes to one that is closer to our house. But I spend a lot of time in my car daily.

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Do you keep your interior clean?
Sure. Men always keep their cars all tidy and don’t care about anything else. So yes, I am a typical man. (laughing)

Are you one of those people who like a long journey?
Driving relaxes me. I listen to music or make hands-free phone calls. Behind the wheel, I always manage to make the calls I postpone when I’m with my family. When I’m driving I’ve got plenty of time to deal with all of those. I used to drive for 10 hours from Ostrava to Basel or back and I didn’t mind at all. When I came back to Ostrava I was absolutely fresh. I like driving, even with my family.

Any favourite albums or do you listen to the radio?
I like to listen to Spotify. I got a whole audio system at home and I connected everything with Spotify. I’m really excited about this. I have my phone paired with the car, not just because of the hands-free but also because of music. Since I’ve moved to Spain I’ve been mostly listening to reggae, reggaeton, and urban music.

What language do you set your car Sat Nav to?
Czech, but I turn the sound off. I don’t like it when it talks to me. All of my car systems are set to Czech.

Do you hate people who tend to comment on your driving?
I don’t really know, because my wife doesn’t and I don’t do that to her either. I am the kind of a passenger that sits and either reads or sleeps.

"My daughter is delighted when I wave at her during a match."   photo: Radek Mauer, X Production

As a goalkeeper, you need to have really fast reflexes and keep track of what’s happening in the field. Do you think you use these abilities behind the wheel as well?
I think sportsmen have better peripheral vision and anticipation skills than others, so yes I think I do. I try to anticipate a lot and look further than right across my bonnet. That’s what our dad taught me and my brother: to always anticipate and be aware of all the things that could happen. Life can completely change within one second so it’s good to be alert all the time.

Technology is progressing so fast that we cannot really do anything with our own cars anymore. But still, are you one of those who can repair their own car?
I can change the wheel and that’s it. I always go to the repair shop. They have the right gear and know what they’re doing.

Has football also made progress?
It’s faster these days. As for the football and football shoes, the technologies have really progressed, which makes things a bit harder for us goalkeepers. You do not really have to have a good technique or strength and can still score from 27 or 30 meters. When I started with football you didn’t see such goals. Nowadays it happens every weekend. Someone scores from 25 meters and we have a TV news goal.

BETTER IN SPANISH THAN EVER IN GERMAN

What language do you speak in the lockers?
Usually Spanish, maybe because Spanish people are really proud of their language. After four years I found out some of them actually speak English but they didn’t speak it to me on purpose. On the other hand, it helped me. In Switzerland, I only spoke with my teammates in English. Now, after a year and a half in Spain, I speak much better Spanish than I ever spoke German. And I spent four years in Switzerland!

You have lived in Spain for quite some time. What’s ŠKODA’s reputation out there?
Spanish people connect ŠKODA with cycling, which is really popular in Spain. But when I first came with my red ŠKODA KODIAQ RS my teammates were quite curious about the car. They liked it.

Who are the wildest drivers - those from Sevilla or those from Frydek-Mistek?
Those from Sevilla. It’s pretty wild over there. For us it was a really big leap. Especially after spending four years in Switzerland which is really strict about all the rules. People follow them, they turn on the blinkers when turning, they park the way they should. You don’t need to worry about your car in Switzerland. In Spain, it’s the other way around. The first time we saw what happens on the roundabouts we were quite surprised.

"I used to drive for 10 hours from Ostrava to Basel and I didn’t mind at all."   photo: Radek Mauer, X Production

Has anyone crashed your car?
No, but it is a little scraped. It’s from parking. It doesn’t matter if you’re parking in front of a kindergarten or in front of a mall. People don’t care about cars - for them it’s a consumer product. In Switzerland, everyone’s car is super beautiful and polished. Fast driving is prohibited. If you speed, you pay a huge fine taken directly from your salary, so everyone is really careful.

Is there any place in the world you would really like to drive?
I would like to drive on a closed road just like in a rally. I would love to get a chance to drive while knowing no one will drive in the opposite direction. I also liked trying out the ŠKODA KODIAQ RS in Spanish Jerez. Driving on roads near the ocean was great, the trails were chosen perfectly.

THE MOST PRECIOUS MOMENTS ARE THOSE WITH MY FAMILY

Your ex-teammate Petr Čech plays the drums. Except for driving, is there any other, non-traditional hobby that charges your batteries?
Well, not really. What I like to do the most is to spend time with my wife and daughter. That’s the greatest relaxation. My daughter doesn’t understand football, she doesn’t care if we win or lose. She’s happy when I wave at the stands, just like she’s happy when I’m at home with her. She simply wants to play and draw so when I’m with her I totally unwind.

Does she like watching football?
Yes, she does. Both on TV and on the playstation. She steals the remote control and always demands the one that’s shining: meaning the one you can play with. She also likes to watch basketball, especially the NBA.

How much time do you spend with football?
People think that we train for an hour and a half and then go home. Obviously, things are not that easy. On top of the training we have other duties. But most importantly, there are no weekends for us. On weekends there are always matches. We leave one day before the match and come back one day after, so we spend a lot of time on the road. On days with no match, I usually finish everything in the morning and then I’m free to go home to my girls.

Do you come back to the Czech Republic for reasons other than meetings of the national team? For Christmas, for instance?
When we lived in Switzerland we did go home for Christmas. But that is not possible now that we live in Spain. On December 22nd we have the last match. My wife was pregnant so flying to the Czech Republic wasn’t an option. But we always like to come back home when the schedule allows it.

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