Curacao int’l van Kessel scores on Oxford City debut

Gino van Kessel (blue jersey), shown playing against Mexico in the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup, is continuing his club career in England with Oxford City. (Photo: AFP Services)

OXFORD, England – Curacao international Gino van Kessel launched his career in England in the best possible way Saturday, scoring on his debut for Oxford City in a 3-0 win over visiting Portsmouth in a League One encounter at Kassam Stadium.

The 24-year-old attacker -- on loan from Czech side Slavia Prague -- entered as a substitute in the 79th minute and made it 2-0 three minutes later.

“I have always wanted to play professional football in England and to do it and score was a privilege for me,” van Kessel told “The league is physical and it is going to take some time to learn the league, but to go out and score and make a positive impact made me extremely happy. So this is good news for me.”

His career had previously taken him to clubs in Slovakia, France, Czech Republic and Poland. Van Kessel was the 2015/16 Slovakian Super Liga’s top scorer with 17 goals for Trencin, also helping it to the title.

After spending the 2016/17 campaign with Slavia Prague (Czech Republic) and Lechia Gdansk (Poland), he is excited to prove himself in England.

“I'm very happy to join this amazing team and I'm looking forward to all the matches,” said van Kessel, who was the joint-top score in the 2016/17 Scotiabank CFU Men’s Caribbean Cup as Curacao lifted the trophy for the first time. “So far things are going well and I am settling in quite nicely. I just want to play and keep working hard and improving as a player. I have had a good summer for Curacao and I feel content to carry on my good form into this new season.”

Van Kessel also played in each of Curacao’s three games in the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup.