w/ MNT Defender Heath Pearce
What’s it going to be? Door number one, door number two, or door number THREE?!? Okay, so this section has less to do with “Let’s Make A Deal” and more to do with the Multiple Choice section of an SAT test. “In 3’s” peeks inside the head of a select National Team player as they pick one of three choices for 25 questions about personal tastes and pop culture.
Dec. 20, 2005
Name the club of U.S. defender Heath Pearce? If you said Nordsjælland, give yourself a point. Now, pronounce it correctly. That’s what we thought. Not too easy, is it? We’ll admit we were a bit stumped. Heck, we think Heath is still a bit stumped. I mean, what’s up with that “æ” smack dab in the middle of the name? Considering you can’t pronounce his club name, we figured you probably don’t know much else about the former U-17 and U-20 defender who recently snagged his first cap with the U.S. Men this November against Scotland and is the only overseas player in the January camp at The Home Depot Center. In this edition of In 3’s, Heath lets us know a little bit about life in Denmark, what he misses most about the U.S. and how many vowels there are in Nordsjælland…well, kind of.
Favorite place you’ve lived the past five years: Modesto, Calif., Portland, Ore., or Denmark?
“Modesto, Calif., because home is home. Ever since I was 15, I’ve been living away from home, away from the family, so every chance I get to go home for awhile it’s always an amazing time for me.”
Activity you do to pass the time during the Denmark winters: Ice fishing, curling or just complain about how cold and dark it is?
“(laughing) I like to go ice fishing while wearing a tank-top and shorts.”
Best city in Denmark: Copenhagen, Aarhus or Odense?
“Copenhagen. That’s the big city, that’s where all the fun and the life is. That’s where I live, so that’s where I think is the most fun. It’s the biggest city and where the whole country kind of evolves around.”
Thing you miss most about living in Cali: The warm weather, the food or 24-hour convenience stores?
“Oh, man. I don’t know if I can decide between the warm weather and the food. It really goes hand-in-hand. You go somewhere nice in the afternoon and get some burritos at the local taco shop, but I’ll probably have to say the weather.”
Best pre-game ritual: sleeping, listening to music or just relax?
“Just relaxing. If I listen to too much music I get too wound up before a game and if I go to sleep I won’t be able to wake up again.”
Favorite thing to do on the road: play cards, play video games or read a book?
“I prefer video games over all of those. No matter where you are in the world you can’t get tired of video games. Especially in Scotland when you’re beating up Benny (Feilhaber) in soccer. We had some real, real battles. People say video games aren’t a matter of life and death, but some of those matches were a lot bigger than that.”
You have one meal sent to you from Modesto to Denmark, what’s it going to be: In-N-Out burger, a burrito from your favorite Mexican joint or a Chinese/Asian dish?
“Burrito from my favorite Mexican joint, hands down. I think they have the best super burritos in the world. I’ve eaten at thousands of different places but it doesn’t compare. I feel like if I go to another Mexican joint and totally enjoy it, I feel like I’m cheating on my local taco shop.”
You’re in charge of providing dinner: Making a meal, hitting the frozen pizza or going out?
“Depends on the atmosphere and who it’s with. If it’s something that’s got to be big, then always go out. I wouldn’t put my name on my cooking and a frozen pizza is not going to do the job.”
Type of fish you’ve eaten the most while in Denmark: Cod, herring or salmon?
“Salmon. I’m not a big fish eater what-so-ever. If anything, I’ll have it with sushi, but salmon mostly.”
Best part about Christmas: Getting presents, the decorations or the holiday parties?
“The holiday parties. Getting to come home at this time of year and getting the chance to see all the people I grew up with and family that I don’t see very often, that’s priceless.”
Most famous Danish football player ever: Peter Schmeichel, Michael Laudrup or Brian Laudrup?
“Personally, I’d say Michael Laudrup. He was just as successful as the others even though most might say Peter Schmeichel was the best ever. I think that Michael Laudrup is a better people person, much better to fans and gave a better fan interaction where as Peter Schmeichel was known as kind of an arrogant guy and only cared about himself. They’re both really successful, but I think Michael Laudrup had the biggest impact.”
Toughest U.S. World Cup opponent: Czech Republic, Italy or Ghana?
“I’d have to say Italy because of the form they are in now. They are so deep in their attacking (players) and organized defensively. I’d say they are going to be our toughest opponent in the opening stages to defeat.”
Number of vowels in the name of your Danish club, Nordsjælland: Three, four or five?
“Ummm…dude, I don’t know. There’s this one letter that is “a” and “e” put together. I have no idea if that’s a vowel or not. (laughing) I have no idea. I would have to say three if the “ae” was counted as one. I guess it could be three, four or five. If the “ae” counts as two then it’s five, if it counts as none it’s three, if it counts as one it’s four.”
European league you’d most like to play in other than Danish Super League: English Premier League, Serie A or German Bundesliga?
“Serie A because they attack a lot out of the back in that league and there’s a big focus on defense and building up from the back. Since that’s the position I play, I think it would be a dream come true to play in that league.”
Favorite part of your first Men’s National Team camp: Meeting new guys, playing with the best in the U.S. or actually getting first cap even though it was at left midfield?
“Probably just the interaction with the guys. When you first come in you just want to meet the guys, almost like a fan. Then you get to sit down with the guys, find out how down to earth they are and how much they back you up and help you. It makes the experience all worth while.”
Best soccer player to come out of the University of Portland: Kasey Keller, Conor Casey or Steve Cherundolo?
“I would have to say Kasey Keller. He’s been one of the guys who’s paved the path, not only for Portland guys, but all American soccer players trying to play abroad. He’s had, and is still having, and extremely successful career. The other two guys are also doing well in Germany, but I’d have to say Kasey.”
Superstitions on day of game: Have one, have more than one or don’t have any?
“I don’t have any superstitions that have to take place for me to be prepared. I have a routine of how I put my clothes on, but I wouldn’t call it a superstition, something that if I changed up I would be in any trouble. I don’t think about it, it’s just something subconsciously I do to get prepared.”
Best San Francisco 49ers player of all-time: Joe Montana, Jerry Rice or Steve Young?
“Joe Montana. Jerry Rice is right up there, as well as Steve Young, but Joe Montana was my favorite player and was a quarterback when I was little. When he went to the Kansas City Chiefs I followed his career and almost changed my favorite team because of him.”
Barry Bonds and steroids: No doubt took ‘em, 73 was all natural or not sure?
“I have to say not sure. It’s too hard to tell. I’d say most players are taking some sort of performance enhancer, but to what extent, I don’t know.”
Winning Super Bowl LX: Indianapolis Colts, Seattle Seahawks or someone else?
“I’d probably say the Indianapolis Colts. They’ve been the most consistent, they’ve proved themselves. Besides their last game, they’ve pretty much done their thing all season and have a style of play that answers anything that comes at them, so I think they have the best chance at this point.”
Best Cali’ NBA team: Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers or Sacramento Kings?
“I’m a Kings fan personally, but I think the best team right now is the Golden State Warriors. I think they’re the most fun team to watch. They have Baron Davis, who if he’s on your fantasy team is going to screw up a lot of your stats, but he’s an entertainer, he’s fun to watch.”
Reality show you’d like most to be on: “Survivor,” “The Amazing Race” or “American Idol”?
“I would think at first ‘Survivor’ because for some reason I always say I could do that kind of stuff. You know, be that savage beast living out in the middle of nowhere trying to make it every day. But, I’d probably have to go with my singing skills and say ‘American Idol’ as my final answer.”
Funniest animated series: “Simpsons,” “Family Guy” or “South Park”?
“‘Family Guy.’ It’s a new kind of humor and kind of dry humor. It’s got the best episodes in my opinion.”
Favorite boyfriend of Denmark’s own Brigitte Neilsen: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mark Gastineau or Flavor Flav?
“Flavor Flav, no question! Flavor Flav! (laughing) For sure. He has the most character and is kind of a funny guy. He’s passionate about everything, but doesn’t have that many brain cells left.”
Holiday movie you liked the most or most like to see (if you haven’t seen any): King Kong, The Chronicles of Narnia or Syriana?
“I would say ‘The Chronicles of Narnia.’ I just saw that last weekend. It’s the only one I’ve seen of the three, but it’s the one I’d been wanting to see the most. It was based on the book that I read when I was little so it’s good to see the high-tech version of it.”
You become blessed with amazing musical voice. What singing career are you pursuing: member of a boy band, solo artist or lead vocal in band?
“Solo artist. Probably some kind of R&B singer, maybe like John Legend or something. A kind of a piano player. You get the girls if you can play an instrument as well as sing.”
Type of music that gets you most revved up before a game: Rock, rap or country?
“Definitely not country. I try to listen to music that keeps me calm before a game because if I get too pumped up I’ll go mental, so I’d say some sort of laid back hip-hop that keeps me relaxed, but also mentally prepared.”
Locked in a room and forced to listen to one song continuously, which are you choosing: “Ice Ice Baby,” “Don’t Worry Be Happy” or “Achy Breaky Heart”?
“Who comes up with these questions, man? ‘Don’t Worry Be Happy’ because one time through you’ll know all the words to the song and you can just sing it over and over again.”