US SoccerUS Soccer

The Vets Speak Out


On what he did with the down time after the World Cup qualifiers:
“I went to Cancun and just relaxed for a couple days. I had a bad toothache as well, so I took a little rest. After that, I went back to Miami and trained with the Fort Lauderdale Strikers for eight days and got ready for camp.”

On taking the opportunity to play in the Gold Cup as well as the World Cup qualifiers:
“It’s just taking the opportunity to play more and be a part of this group. There are a lot of new guys coming in, a lot of old guys coming in, so it’s good to see familiar faces. At the same time, we’ve got a job to do. It’s a taxing summer, but it’s a fun one at the same time. We’ve got a chance to bring the cup back to the United States, and with the group that Jurgen has brought in, I think we’ve got a good chance to achieve that goal.”

On passing on what he’s learned in the past two years:
“For one, take the opportunity and grab it. You’re on the National Team for a reason. It’s not because this is our “B” team. They’re good players and they deserve to be here. We want to push the likes of Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley and make them become better players. That’s why we’re here. We have a job to do. Any advice I would tell to the young guys that haven’t got a cap yet is take the opportunity. There are a lot of guys, including myself, that used this as a leapfrog that got to the World Cup in 2002, that used this exact tournament. You don’t take it lightly. You play every game like it’s your last. We’ve got a job to do and that’s win a Gold Cup.”


On the mood of the team heading into the Gold Cup:
“I think everyone is excited today, the first day back. There is a lot of optimism in the group. Guys are hungry for the opportunity. They want to prove themselves to Jurgen and the whole country that they can play at this level. It’s a wonderful opportunity, so it’s something that we’re all looking forward to.”

On the responsibility of being a leader in a group of young players:
“I was captain of my team in Denmark for almost two years, so it’s something that comes very naturally. That’s a normal thing in any group for the older players, the players that have been around you. It doesn’t matter if you’re old or not, how many times have you been around and you know the system a bit and you welcome the new guys in and make sure they feel comfortable because this is a tournament and these guys are all here for a reason. What’s most important is making everybody feel welcome that they can play to the best of their ability and give all that have to the group.”

On the opportunity one year out from the World Cup:
“This is a big opportunity, not only myself, but for everyone. If you do well here, you put yourself in a good position to make the World Cup team, at least get a very hard look leading up to the World Cup, and you can’t ask for much more than that.”

On the excitement of returning to MLS with the San Jose Earthquakes:
“I’m thrilled. It’s something that’s been ongoing for a little bit, something that we’ve worked on. My wife and I, we always wanted to come back to America. San Jose, they got my rights when I left Dallas, and I think it’s something that was always in the back of their minds, and it was certainly in the back of my mind. Coming back, we were able to put it together that things work out. It’s a great time to come back. It’s a great team, a great place to live, great fans. I’ve already talked to (Chris Wondolowski), and he’s told me a bit about it. I told him that I’m going to ask him a lot of questions over the next few weeks. I’m thrilled to be back. This first and that next, and I really look forward to getting there and playing some games.”

U.S. MNT defender Oguchi Onyewu

On what it feels like to be back with the National Team:
“It’s been a year since I’ve been here and it feels good to be back. The Gold Cup is a special tournament that we’ve won a couple times and our objective is to bring it back to America and take it away from Mexico. I’m happy to be in the group and in the mix of things again and hopefully we get off on the right foot.”

On what is expected of him during the Gold Cup:
“Obviously, Jurgen is a supporter in my cause and he wants me to achieve good things and be a part of the group. One thing with everybody is you have to be playing regularly with your club, and that wasn’t the case this season, so I never expected to get the call ups for the camps, but hopefully that will change and I can turn things around this season and get back to where I was.’

On the hope that the Gold Cup will help with his club situation:
“I’m not going to say that this tournament will determine anything with my club situation. I want to take things a day at a time, and since I’m here with the National Team focus on the National Team. If this tournament transcends into a good club situation, then great, but right now I’m focused on this tournament and I’ll deal with the club situation afterwards.”

On using his experience in the Gold Cup as a model for younger players to get to the World Cup:
“I don’t think it’s necessarily just the Gold Cup. Every chance you have an opportunity to play with the National Team, that’s you’re opportunity to showcase your talents and the reason you got called up. The only advice I have to the players that this is their first cap or their second or third is to take the opportunity by two hands because you never know when you’re going to get it again.”