When the adidas Skate Copa contest tour stopped in NYC we rolled over to Coleman Skate Park to chat it up with Lem Villemin. Check out what lem had to say about turning pro and who his favorite soccer player is.
Congrats on turning pro. Was that expected, given your long journey to this point?
Thank you very much. It was an unforgettable moment. They had a surprise party for me, and I still thought I was filming for the part. This one weekend, they all just invited me to hang out — mind you, I hadn’t gone out in like three months because I was working on this video part — and the Cliché team was there. All my family and homies were there, so it was quite a big thing for me. It was easily the biggest thing I’ve experienced in my life.
It’s pretty unique that your pro board was a collab with the adidas Skate Copa campaign and Cliché Skateboards. How did that whole project come about?
The collab is just about representing our country, where we live, and where we learned how to skate. All the jerseys have history behind them. My jersey in particular is the 1990s jersey for when Germany won the World Cup. It’s very special for me to have this jersey with my name, the number eight, and my board on it. Soccer has been a big influence in my life because I’ve been playing every week since I was a kid. It’s sick to have a mix with soccer and skating.
With skate and soccer being fairly opposite sports, how did you transition from one to the other? What made you choose skating over soccer as a profession?
With soccer, you have a coach, a team, a time to be at practice, and you have to do all of that in order to play. If you don’t practice well, the coach won’t let you play. In skating, you really just do whatever you want. I can go skate at 8:00 a.m. or 2:00 a.m. The need for more freedom and space is one of the main reasons I stopped playing soccer in a club.
What position did you play?
I played left wing. I wasn’t really a big scorer; I was more of a runner. I had some good crosses, too.
With the World Cup coming up, we have to ask who’s your all-time favorite soccer player?
100 percent would be Zinedine Zidane. For me, he’s the most stylish, idol player. Even with that head-butt in his last World Cup game, he played on such a different level his whole career. I just find him to be a good person. To this day, he’s a big idol to me.
New York is such a different place for skateboarding. What’s it like for you when you come here and get on the board?
I came here eight years ago for the first time, so this is my second trip ever. It’s been a long time, but I remember from last time that everything moves fast out here. You take the metro or push through the street, but nobody really drives. Skaters are everywhere, and there’s so much life going on. It reminds me of Germany. It’s a big city, but at the same time the daily interaction is so close.
What’s next after this great turn in your career?
There’s a Cliché trip coming up called the Gypsy Tour. All the skaters go on a skate trip with 10 euros a day — no hotel, nice bed or shower. We’re just camping outside and street skating everyday. This is going to be my very first Gypsy trip, so I’m really excited. We’ll be going through Spain, Italy and Morocco. We’ll pretty much be skate rats. [Laughs]