U.S. Defender Carlos Bocanegra's "Off the Ball" - Day Sept
LYON, France (Friday, June 20, 2003) - Get a behind the scenes look into the U.S Men's National Team as they train and play in the Confederations Cup with Carlos Bocanegra's "Off the Ball," a personal chronicle about the team's daily events in France. During the team's quest for the Confederations Cup title, Bocanegra will continually present U.S. soccer fans with a unique perspective they won't be able to get anywhere else. In this segment, Carlos talks the tough loss to Turkey, answers some questions he's received from U.S. soccer fans, and asks defender Gregg Berhalter his famous four questions, ranging from what they do for fun to what superhero they most resemble.
June 20, 2003
I. Tough Turkey
Last night, as you know, was our first game in the Confederations Cup. We had a tough result against Turkey. Obviously, we are disappointed; not only for ourselves, but also for all the people who support us. The boys played hard last night and we got a few unlucky calls. The crowd was pro-Turkey but we had a nice little section of Americans. I think I saw the Sam’s Army banner, which was nice because everywhere we play is an away game. We got a nice goal from Beas who used his head (I’ve never seen that before) on a perfect cross from Landon. We hate losing but we have to push that game out of our minds and get ready for the world champs, Brazil. Today, we had a light practice and got organized for tomorrow. One thing I have noticed from watching the games in the tournament is that teams capitalize on their opponent’s mistakes very well. In international play you’re not going to get as many chances as you would with your club team – maybe only one or two a game. The great players and teams capitalize in those situations and turn a half-chance into a goal.
II. Cross Cultures/Cross Colors
Our police escort was phenomenal to the game yesterday. I have never seen anything like it before. We must have had fifty French policemen and Secret Service with us – in front of us, on the side and behind. If that wasn’t enough we had a helicopter over us the entire way to the stadium. To say the least, we felt very secure. The motorcycle cops would go ahead of us and clear the freeway and on-ramps. I would be pissed if I was driving and they pushed me of the road for some bus, but I’m in the bus so I guess its OK.
III. Holla Back
Today, I just talked to Gregg Berhalter. Gregg grew up in New Jersey, went to UNC and has one son, Sebastian, with his lovely wife Rosalind.
What’s your favorite thing to do outside soccer?
I like to go play golf and go out to eat at restaurants. I also like to take my son to the zoo.
For you, what are the biggest pros and cons of playing in Europe?
I like that I get to see a lot of different cultures and meet a lot of different people from around the world. I get to see a lot of these great European cities, something you might not get to do if you are living in the U.S. It’s great to take the train to places on weekend trips. I miss my family and friends, but the positives outweigh the negatives.
What are your biggest pet peeves? What really pushes your buttons?
Littering. A lot of times you see people throwing garbage out the window and that’s just no respect for other people.
What superhero would you compare yourself to and why?
I’d say the Green Lantern, just because he’s cool. He has a cool costume.
IV. Back to Ya
Thank you for all the e-mail responses. I have enjoyed reading them and seeing what questions you guys have. I am going to try and respond to a few every day.
I got one from Jim Toliver asking if I could talk more about the jokes and games that go on in the hotel and other places, and interview Frankie Heyday (Hejduk).
Jim -- I can’t tell you all the jokes and games that go on or I would get in trouble. We don’t really have any practical jokers on the team. One thing I will tell you is that our strength and conditioning coach, Pierre Barrieu, was the victim to a "magic sit-up." Clint had a good hand in this.
Another one from Dree asked if there were any karaoke exploits on this trip. She wondered whom on this team, if anyone, could be in the running for "American Idol?
Dree -- If you only were here to experience it yourself. Frankie loves to sing and he loves for everyone to hear. "In Da Club" is one of his favorites, but he puts a slight "Rasta funk" into it, which makes it very interesting. He walks into a room singin’ and leaves singin’ something else. Pablo is another candidate. He is always strumming on his guitar, which he is not bad at. Pablo writes his own lyrics, as well as covering Jack Johnson pretty well. It’s nice to just chill in his room sometimes and listen. So I guess Pabs would be our best bet. If soccer doesn’t work out for him maybe he can cut it serenading women at the local coffee shops.
I look forward to getting more questions. If you want to comment on my journal or ask me any questions, just firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll try to respond.