KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Aurelien Collin wants to make it clear, in English: He loves Kansas City, and he wants to stay here as long as Sporting Kansas City's owners and coaches want to keep him here.
“I hope that Sporting KC is going to want to keep me around for a long time,” Collin said Thursday. “So we'll see. Right now I just want to focus on the games and the playoffs. What's going to happen next? It's hard to say. It's up to the owners and the coaches. Of course, me, all my life I would stay here in Kansas City.”
Last week, French outlet France Football reported that Collin was weighing a return to Europe, perhaps as early as this winter. But Collin tweeted “bad translation brother!!” shortly after that report appeared, and he repeated that position to reporters on Thursday.
WATCH: Collin goes shopping with MLSsoccer.com
“No, I'm not looking at Europe,” said the All-Star center back, whose current contract runs through 2014. “I came to America because every club where I was in Europe didn't have what America had.”
Collin bounced around the continent for several years before making the move to MLS in 2011, missing paychecks at several clubs and having one of them – former Scottish Premier League side Gretna – fold right out from under him. But in his three seasons at Sporting Park, he has become a fan favorite on and off the pitch.
He has put down non-soccer roots in the city as well, launching his AC78 fashion line this past summer during MLS All-Star Game festivities.
“I'm happy. Everything is going great,” Collin said. “You can see it in the way the fans love me, the way I've been playing. I've been developing as a person and as a player. This year, I'm focused only on the playoff and on the games, so everything's good.”
Sporting are one win away from their first MLS Cup final appearance since 2004, tied 0-0 on aggregate with Houston going into the second leg on Nov. 23 at Sporting Park. Collin wants to go one better and deliver the city's first postseason title in any major sport since the then-Wizards won MLS Cup in 2000.
“The city really deserves it,” he said. “The city, the stadium, the fans – all the Sporting KC people, they've been doing an amazing job for three years since I've been here. The new stadium, the marketing, everything has been amazing.”
Steve Brisendine covers Sporting Kansas City for MLSsoccer.com.