Who knew that Jimmy Nielsen’s burst of white hair wasn’t the craziest thing about Sporting Kansas City’s talented goalkeeper?
He was once a serious gambling addict.
In fact, it took three attempts at rehab for the efforts to finally, successfully stick.
None of this is gossipy stuff from some European rag sheet; this revelation comes courtesy of the man himself, who spells out all the tawdry details in his tell-all autobiography, Welcome to the Blue Heaven: Don’t Bet Against the Goalkeeper.
It’s available here at Amazon. Among the details:
Nielsen once ensnared himself in scandal in his native Denmark, once by betting on his own club and for his suspension from the Danish under-21 national team.
He talks about sneaking away to Las Vegas without telling his family. (How do you even do that? When you live in Denmark?)
He talks about betting in London as a 17-year-old at Milwall. (Interestingly, he was a young backup then to American goalkeeper Kasey Keller.)
There are tales of wins and losses that frequently were in the tens of thousands range, and even sometimes in the hundreds of thousands.
Much of the book is an update version of his 2006 Danish-language autobiography. So, while it’s not exactly new news, it will be greeted that way in some corners here. From the piece at MLSSoccer.com, where Nielsen talked about the book and about why he chose to re-open this part of his life:
All those things happened in the past. I’m over it. But still, it made me who I am today and people wanted to know me a little better. This is a great opportunity to get to know me better. Everything has not been perfect all the time. Maybe it looks like to people who don’t know me that we have a perfect life, but we had to work damn hard to make it work.”