With a six-month delay and pro life in a “luxurious room”: Amber Tysiak makes the big leap to the ‘place to be’ for Red Flames

“I am delighted to be signing for West Ham United,” Tysiak said in a first reaction on the Hammers’ website. “This is a wonderful club with a rich history. I’ve done a bit of research and I know West Ham is traditionally a hard working club. I have seen the team play a few times now and see a group of players who work well together to achieve their goal.”

Tysiak has played for OH Leuven since April 2020, which took her over from Racing Genk. With the team from Leuven she was in the lead in the Super League. The Limburger is a permanent fixture with the Red Flames and has collected twenty caps since her debut in February 2021. She was also part of the European Championship selection last summer. Tysiak can play in different positions: central back, on the flank or in front of the defense. As a result, she was quickly portrayed as the ‘Vincent Kompany’ of Belgian women’s football.

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Summer not, winter yes

Now she is following ‘Vince the Prince’ with an adventure in England. “I’ve been here for a few days now,” says Tysiak on the phone. “Everything happened step by step. From the trip there by car and the traditional photos to the medical tests. Especially the scan of my heart was very important for the club. It is anyway, but here they find that procedure crucial. When it turned out that everything was in order, I was able to draw. I also trained for the first time, but playing this weekend is not yet possible. I am not yet eligible to play.”

West Ham are currently number five in the Women’s Super League, the Premier League for women. One of the best leagues in the world. There was also interest from Germany, Italy and Norway, but the choice for the UK was quickly made.

“West Ham’s style of play is perfect for me,” said the Red Flame. “Giving your life on the field, that appeals to me. England is currently the most beautiful country to play football in, it is the place to be. It’s also very alive here, I’ve noticed. If you step into a cafe here, it regularly has a women’s competition on it. There are also so many more fans here and the environment here is just on another level. I also become a professional here, a world of difference. Everything it’s supposed to be, really. Your whole day is nicely arranged. So I say goodbye as a teacher, but not with pain in my heart. I am glad that I found out that I really liked doing it and that it is therefore an option for after my career. I still have years enough to stand in front of the class.”


Tysiak could actually go to West Ham last summer, but then the transfer fell through. “I am very grateful to my management, because I still don’t understand much of it now,” she laughs. “Apparently you have to get a certain number of points over a period of two years by playing matches. It then depends on which competition you are active in and the Champions League also counts, just like playing for the Red Flames. At that time I (just) did not reach the required number of points.”

Luxurious room

A (small) disappointment for Tysiak, but one she quickly forgot. Just like her less European and unfortunate moment during the play-offs for the World Cup, when she caused a penalty and was sent off in the eventual loss against Portugal.

“I was able to turn the switch quickly. I was already happy to be there at the European Championships, after my injury in March. It was all a bit of a downer and I really regretted it, but you have to move on. Otherwise you will be stuck in disappointment. Moreover, I went back to play for OHL, the club of my heart and the best team in terms of education for women in our country. It was a super fun half year and I hope I was able to help them on their way to the title (OHL is currently leading, ed.). I told my teammates to make me regret my transfer by raising that cup in the air soon.”

“I have a bit of mixed feeling, but it was the right time for me to make the step abroad. That was my dream. So I couldn’t pass up this opportunity,” said Tysiak.

©  Instagram Amber Tysiak

A first trip abroad, it is always a leap into the unknown. Even though she spoke to Justine Vanhaevermaet (Red Flame at Reading) about England.

“I am leaving my family and friends for the first time, so there were some nerves. But that’s healthy tension. There are so many tools to keep in touch these days. My first week here went well. I was given a budget for an apartment, but I chose to stay in a players home. I’m still young hey. That is with three other players in a house, where I have my own bathroom. We share the kitchen and stuff. So it’s a bit like a flat in Leuven, but more luxurious (laughs). It’s pretty quiet, because everyone has the same goal here,” she says.

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