U.S. Defender Carlos Bocanegra's Off the Ball - Final Chapter
U.S. Men's National Team defender Carlos Bocanegra shares his eighth and final edition of Off the Ball from the team's base in Lyon, France, prior to today's matchup vs. Cameroon. In this chapter, he answers a few questions from fans, addresses the team's performance and bids farewell to the team's equipment manager, who will be leaving the team after this trip.
June 22, 2003
I. My Final Entry
Saturday was a frustrating experience for the US team. We instilled our game plan and stuck to it but we just couldn’t sneak a goal in against the world champs. Sometimes it looked as if they were just cruising around the field but their touch is so fluid that they are a little deceiving. Even with Brazil’s great skill we still frustrated them by getting numbers behind the ball and getting a few counter attack opportunities. Now we have to put them behind us and focus on Cameroon, who has been playing excellent this tourny. Bruce is gonna give us a game plan today, we will stick to it and hopefully get a good result tomorrow. Today at practice we will just jog and get the game out of our legs so we can prepare for tomorrow. By the way, it’s a real chill day out there.II. Answering Your Questions
I love that so many people are interested in the men’s team and this journal. I got more great responses yesterday, but you guys need to ask more questions instead of just giving me praise for the journal (which I don’t mind of course).
Chris Lantzy asked with such a young team compared to the World Cup if guys have assumed leadership roles on or off the field?
Chris – Yes. Obviously, Earnie Stewart is a great leader and all of us youngsters look up to him. He is the epitome of a professional on and off the field. We watch and learn. I think you’re talking about the younger guys, though. I would say most of the young guys stick together and give a vote of confidence to each other. One person that stands out would probably be Timmy Howard; he is glowing with confidence and it rubs off onto all of us. Leadership is not always with words, a lot of times it’s with action.
Tara Harrell is a big Columbus Crew supporter and wished all the boys good luck especially Kyle, Jeff, and Frankie. She said her and her friend were the only two single girls over the age of 18 and under 30 who actually like soccer. They were heading to Crew stadium to catch the game on the big screen. I found this hilarious. Soccer fans come in all different ages but thanks for the support maybe you should tell your friends to come out and watch the Crew play, I’m sure once they see the guys running around in their little shorts they will be instant fans too.
III. Aurevoir From France
For the final day of the journal, I would like to point out that we are losing our equipment manager, Joe Ahearn. He has been with us since the World Cup and now is going to be moving on to bigger and better things. We’d just like to wish him good luck in his journeys and I’m sure we’ll see him around in Chicago (most likely at McGee’s).
We’ve had a good experience over here in France. The results didn’t go exactly the way we wanted them to, but it was good for the younger players to get some playing time. The older guys have been great to us, too.
In closing, I will be continuing my journal during the Gold Cup. I'll mix things up with new topics and a new set of questions. Thanks for all the responses to the journal. You guys are great, thanks for supporting us and I will talk to you in few weeks.