Profile: Originally from Cape Town, South Africa, 28-year-old Nazeem Bartman now calls Madison home. We asked Nazeem 11 questions about his recent move + how he plans to help the Flamingos on the field this season.
Q: You’re new to Madison. What’s something a local has recommended you to try?
A: lot of things that people have recommended to me is to try a bunch of different coffee shops. I’m a big coffee person. I have to have coffee every morning, so I’ve been to a few coffee shops that I’m quite impressed with.
Q: What got you into soccer?
A: I’ve played soccer my entire life since the age of three. Basically, my entire family has played the sport. My father played, his siblings played, and all my cousins played. And it just became part of the family. My dad then also owned a soccer team, like a local amateur club, when I was younger. So, I started off playing for them and then just progressed my way into academies and stuff like that.
Q: What are you looking forward to the most this season?
A: I’m looking forward to playing in front of the fans. To be honest, I’ve heard so much about the fans and how great it is to play at home. How supportive they are, how loud they are, and just playing in front of them and winning. That’s one of the main things I’m looking forward to the season is just to win and to give our fans a great show, you know, put up a show for them, and entertain them with us winning a title.
Q: What’s your favorite part of the city so far?
A: My favorite part of the city has definitely gotta be the stadium. It’s downtown, so the views are amazing. Also, the lakes. Driving to training every day and having to pass through the lakes, it looks amazing.
Q: Who is a player you try to model yourself after or look up to?
A: That I look up to, um, growing up has always been R9 (Nazeem is referring to professional footballer Ronaldo, known famously for playing at Inter Milan + Real Madrid). Based on how he played, how freely it was, how fun it was for him just to play the game — I tried to do that, just enjoy my game. And have fun while doing it.
Looking at someone as a player taking care of his body off the field, it’s definitely gotta be Cristiano Ronaldo, just what he does with his body and stuff. I try to take care of myself off the field, being able to prevent injuries so I’m able to perform on the field. So, R9 on the field and Cristiano off the field.
Q: Who are you most excited to play this season?
A: Honestly, this is my first time playing in this league. So I don’t know much about the other teams, just based on everything that I’ve learned through teammates who have played in this league before and the coaches.
I’m looking forward to playing against everyone, to be honest. It’s exciting. It’s a new chapter for me, and I’m looking forward to just going out there, having fun, making sure that we win our games, scoring goals and getting maximum points every single time.
Q: What do you eat on a game day?
A: It depends on what time we play. If we play at night, like around 7-7:30 p.m., then I’ll probably try and have some salmon with mashed potatoes. That’s what I had the last time, and I scored, so I’ll probably do the same thing for the next game.
If we have an earlier game, maybe like around 3 p.m., I wake up earlier to get a good breakfast and then probably have some oatmeal or something like that as my pregame meal. Not something too heavy or anything crazy.
Q: What song do you listen to to pump you up before a big game?
A: It also varies. I like songs that I can dance to and songs that I can sing to. Most commonly, I listen to South African house music with this genre called Amapiano. It’s what gets me pumped on game days.
Q: Describe your perfect day in Madison.
A: I think right now a perfect day in Madison would be when the sun is out. It’s nice and warm outside. Being able to walk downtown in a pair of shorts and tank top, you know, and just taking in the views, the scenery. Since I’ve been here, it’s been snowing a lot, so I haven’t done any of those things yet.
Q: What’s your local coffee shop order (what + from where)?
A: I like Starbucks, um, a lot. But there’s this one coffee shop that’s like right next to the stadium. I think it’s called Cargo Coffee or something. (We confirmed it’s Cargo Coffee.) I go there sometimes before or after training and grab a coffee. But I don’t just get any type of coffee — I always drink a white chocolate mocha with almond milk. That’s my go-to drink.
Q: What’s your favorite dish in Madison?
A: I’m a big sushi person, but I haven’t had the time yet to go out to any local restaurants. But I’m hoping to do that soon now that the season has started and I have more of a set schedule that I’m able to work with.
Madisonians, you can send Nazeem your sushi recommendations and catch him playing at Breese Stevens Field during an upcoming Forward Madison game.*