Mike van der Hoorn Swans Swansea City
13th July 2016
Swans new boy Mike van der Hoorn is relishing the opportunity to pull on the Swansea City shirt for the first time tonight in the club's opening pre-season friendly.
The big Dutch centre-half, signed from Ajax a fortnight ago on a three-year deal, is set to make his debut against Charlotte Independence tonight as part of Swansea's USA tour.
And having been put through his paces over the last 10 days as the Swans build towards their sixth Premier League campaign, the 23-year-old can't wait to get started for real.
"I can't wait to wear the Swansea shirt,'' declared van der Hoorn. "I'm really looking forward to representing the club for the first time in a match situation.
"Training has been good, but there is nothing like playing a game. That's why I've come to Swansea.''
With two training sessions a day during their 10-day spell in Washington, it's been a tough introduction to his new life with the Swans.
"It's been hard,'' he admitted. "I've probably done a lot more running than I would have in Holland, but I've coped and I think I've competed well with the boys, which should stand me in good stead for the season.
"In fairness the boys have made it easy for me to settle in here. They are a great bunch and they've welcomed me in with open arms.
"The fact that I have the Dutch links with Leroy (Fer) and Kenji (Gorre) helps, but they've all been great. I'm rooming with Leroy and he's looking after me!
"We've only been here a week, but it feels like a month from the point of getting to know everyone. That's the benefit of coming on tour together like this.''
The former Dutch Under-21 international is likely to play 45 minutes tonight as manager Francesco Guidolin looks set to share out the game time between the squad against a Charlotte side who play their football in the United Soccer League.
Andre Ayew is unlikely to figure though having only joined up with the squad on Monday after being given an extended beak due to international commitments.
It will be the first time a Premier League club has played at Charlotte's Ramblewood Stadium.
"To have Swansea City come here for the local fans to see and for us to compete against is huge," said Independence head coach Mike Jeffries. "It's something that the guys are looking forward to. Our whole group is excited because it's not every day they will get to compete with a group that's playing in the Premier League, with guys that are at that level."
Independence midfielder and Liverpool native, Jack Metcalf, added: "To have a Premier League team over here is exciting. The whole club and the whole city is excited about it. "We're just going to go out and have fun. It's an exhibition match, but everybody knows it's a big team. It's a big opportunity as a club and individually to show what everybody's made of."
You can follow all the action on the official site, Twitter and Facebook tonight with the game kicking off at 12.30am UK time (7.30pm US time).
We'll also bring you the match highlights here later on Thursday via SwansTV.
You can read more about Charlotte Independence HERE
Check out their website HERE