HANOVER, N.J. -- Ronald Zubar practiced with a heavy heart on Monday, the New York Red Bulls defender and former French U-21 player clearly challenged by the attacks on Paris this past Friday that reportedly has left 129 killed and hundreds more injured.
Having played much of his professional career in France including most recently with Ajaccio, the 30-year old Zubar was watching the France –Germany game on Friday from his home in northern New Jersey when he fell asleep on the sofa. It was the game where terrorists tried to enter the stadium but were turned away by alert stadium security.
He dozed off during the game and when he awoke, his phone was filled with messages about what was unfolding.
"When I wake up, I check my phone and I see that things are going on in Paris right now. I put the TV now and I realize obviously that it was bad and I heard all about the shooting in the restaurant and everything. I get my phone and try to get my sister and uncle and everyone in Paris to make sure everybody was alright," Zubar said on Monday in his first comments following the attacks.
"It was a tough night on Friday, can't really sleep. But unfortunately, a hard time for the country. I'm so proud, everyone in the world has been supportive. I've seen from everybody [with] text messages."
France has promised to retaliate and show no mercy towards the terror groups behind this attack. Already on Monday there were reports that the nation was bombing the bases of the terror groups.
Friday's attacks, which included a popular theater where Bruce Springsteen once played, is just the latest attack on the multi-cultural nation that has seen plenty of strife in recent years.
This past January, the offices of Charlie Hedbo were attacked by terrorists with links to Al Qaeda. The shooting left 12 dead in Paris.
Zubar said that the French people knew that their pluralistic nation was expecting more attacks but he was shocked at what unfolded. He sees changes needing to come to his nation.
"Can you imagine eight people try to set-up something like that? Organizing something for maybe a couple months, nobody sees it coming. It's what is weird, what is curious about it. We live in a country tolerant of religion, politics and everything. We are really a democratic country. That's why sometimes some people don't like, obviously. For me, maybe now, we have to be a little more tough with the law and everything because with the border, this is Europe, so everybody goes back and forth as they want," Zubar said.
"We know people sometimes in France, they go to Syria, come back. They go to Turkey, Afghanistan, whatever. We don't really know what is going on sometimes. People are going back and forth from the country and plan things against other countries. Hopefully now we learn from that. Of course we have to move on and try to find something to be better in the future because we can't let happen [again].
"Those people try to scare the world right now."
But while change is likely coming to France, Zubar doesn't want to see the nation changing its identity, even if it needs to take a look at its security in light of Friday's attacks.
"Keep doing what we're doing, believing in what we believe," Zubar said. "And keep moving forward."