U.S. Soccer Quote Sheet: Tony DiCicco, Julie Foudy, Brandi Chastain, Joy Fawcett
SAN JOSE, Calif. (Friday, July 2, 1999) - Comments from DiCicco and three players on Thursday's 3-2 victory over Germany, Sunday's semifinal against Brazil
July 2, 1999
TONY DiCICCO - U.S. National Team Coach
General comments on Brazil and Sunday's semifinal showdown:
"Brazil is the most improved team in the world since 1991. No question. In 1991 they weren't a very strong team and we beat them rather easily. Their development has been impressive. It makes our task more difficult with team's improving like this, but it is important for Brazil and England and Holland and Spain and countries like these to increase their programs to enhance the women's side of the game. They (Brazil) have done a great job going out and finding new, skillful players.
"Sunday's game is for everything. I think it is going to be very difficult game for both teams. It is an exciting type of game which we can use to promote soccer and having Brazil and their passionate fans in the stadium, as well, only helps the event."
On Brazilian star, Sissi:
"Sissi is having a tremendous World Cup and this isn't a surprise to any of us. She is a wonderful talent and very skillful. We are thinking of a new tactic ... trying out what they do in the NFL to try and block field goals in our wall to try and have someone run up from the back and jump up to block any kicks coming over the wall (joking). She has proven herself to be a world class player and we can't afford to give up any free kicks around the box."
On the team's loss to Brazil in Sao Paulo in 1997:
"That was a trip we really didn't want to take, which had nothing to do with going to Brazil. We had a long Fall and we made a deal to have them come back up for the U.S. Cup. We played two games down there and only one half really near our level. We brought back some experience from the trip, though. We learned more about their team and that they were continuing to improve their team, finding more skillful athletes. Using less support players and more personality players. It is not a surprise to any of us what they have achieved and how far they have advanced."
On what the team learned from Brazil's second-half collapse against Nigeria:
"Brazil unraveled a bit under the pressure at the end. We felt they lost some focus in the second half and they had trouble stringing passes together and defending. They thought the game was in hand, which is almost understandable, but at this level any one of these teams can turn it around. We saw something from them for the first time, which was them showing the nerves for the first time of playing in a World Cup."
On memories of the men's USA-Brazil second round World Cup showdown on July 4, 1994:
"It was an historic game for sure, and a very honorable game for the U.S. against the tournament champions. The game was in the balance for a long time. Americans love the challenge too of playing a team of that quality on the Fourth of July and it's what we are looking for also. The only difference really is that the men's team had a lot of naturalized Americans on the field, and we will be a true All-American team. We are going to go after this victory as hard as any we have ever gone after."
On Thursday's strong performance from Michelle Akers:
"Michelle is doing quite well and in the second half she was stronger than the first. She is an incredible competitor and her pride and intensity helped carry her through, and is contagious to the entire team. She's a real inspiration to the team."
On the popularity of the team:
"I'll answer that since it is so difficult for them to talk about themselves. One of the things that set this team apart is that they don't want to all be the homecoming queen and do the popular thing. They just want to go out and win games and win championships and Olympic gold medals. That's an awesome challenge. The genuine pursuit of their dreams and goals is what is so enticing for people. Its kind of snowballed and has turned into a wonderful phenomena. They are finally getting their due."
On the USA's defense:
"I'm not concerned with our defense. They are continuing to evolve. The mishap with Brandi and Briana (Scurry) had as much to do with the event and the crowd noise. Everyone needs to remember that we are playing the game at its highest level right now and every team is a challenge. We've only allowed three goals in this tournament. I'm very proud of our defense."
On the mental gains from winning such a close game:
"It has given the team some confidence. To come from behind against a team with the defensive qualities of Germany is not an easy task. No one would have been surprised is they had been in the final, they are that quality. I would just assume have a 6-0 or 7-0 score, but winning a game like that does increase our confidence."
On his memories of joining the team coaching staff in 1991:
"I didn't know much about this team at all in 1991 and this team had already developed a reputation prior to 1991. Once I experienced the team and saw their passion for the game and how they go after it in practice and play every game...and saw the way they set goals for themselves and fight to achieve them, well, it was a dream come true becoming their head coach. That was really a matter being in the right place at the right time. Playing and coaching at the highest level were always dreams of mine, and motivated me. All of my coaching goals and ambitions have been answered with this particular team."
On Briana Scurry's play in the World Cup:
"She is incredibly important to us. Sometimes you don't notice it because she doesn't always get a lot of touches, but she has made some key saves for us in every game of this tournament. Last night Briana had to come up with some big saves and handles at the end when Germany was pushing for the tying goal. I may be a little biased, but I think Briana is the best goalkeeper in the tournament."
BRANDI CHASTAIN - U.S. National Team defender
On the president visiting the team in the locker room after Thursday's win:
"It was exciting for the entire team and staff to have the president and his family come and congratulate us afterward. We all felt very strongly about him being there and supporting women's soccer and women's athletics."
On what Shannon MacMillan brings to the team:
"Shannon's personality is about having fun and creating an environment around her that others can have fun in. She is the team prankster and is always joking and likes to nutmeg players in practice, and that's what she brings to the field. She tries tricky moves and tries to get the ball behind the defense and makes things happen for everyone."
On her memories from the 1994 World Cup USA-Brazil match:
"Going back to 1994, well as some of you know I am a huge soccer fanatic, so I did a lot of traveling that summer to all the games in California. Today I had a flashback as the bus was driving in on the Embarcadero of me driving to the USA-Brazil match in 1994 with a big American flag draped on my car. And I was thinking how exciting it is to have people driving that same route to come see us play in such a similar and important game."
On preparing for Brazil:
"We need to be on our toes all the time against a team like Brazil. They are very tricky. The enjoy the flare and that soccer can bring, not only to the players, but to the fans. We have to be ready for the things they throw at us. Not only the obvious stuff, but also the subtle stuff."
JULIE FOUDY - U.S. National Team midfielder
On the team's early jitters against Denmark, Nigeria and Germany:
"A lot of teams come out of the game with a lot of fire and passion, trying to take it to the USA right away, knock us back a bit. The key for us is to defuse that. Unfortunately we've only really contributed to our problems instead of diffusing them. That's something we've talked about and something we need to work through in the first 10 minutes against Brazil.
"It's not a nervous feeling really, where your stomach is turning. It's more of an energy level. You are excited to show the crowd what you have to offer, I think in these big situations it is an emotional energy level that is sometimes hard to control as the day begins."
On what winning the World Cup means to the team:
"We have been doing this for some many years, been playing soccer and training against each and watching and killing each other in practice and growing up watching World Cups and knowing that is the pinnacle of success in your sport. And now, to have the chance to reach the highest heights and have a real chance to win this thing in your own country in front of 100,000 fans. That's our dream. And that's one of the things we are talking about. Let's not make this our last 90 minutes or last 45 minutes. Leave everything on the field."
On coming back to Stanford, where she played collegiately:
"Coming back to Stanford is awesome for me. I consider Northern California, where I lived for seven years when I was going to school, and Southern California my two homes. It is going to fantastic playing here and I have a ton of Stanford hooligan buddies of mine coming to the game. The Bay Area is such a great place for soccer. It's a real honor and tribute to play here."
On her memories from the 1994 World Cup USA-Brazil match:
"The U.S. men did very well in that game, almost falling back into a bunker style defense. I remember it was hot. I remember the enthusiasm of the crowd and that it was just packed on July 4 and very patriotic. We are hoping for that same kind of atmosphere, and I'm very confident we will achieve the same thing."
On the team's popularity:
"One of the biggest draws of this team is that we are seen as a team, and not as a bunch of individuals. Mia obviously gets a lot of attention, but what really attracts people is that, as Mia so eloquently says, is that she is out there with 19 other players preparing for games. Its like a feeling of such pride and that we do really love each other and that you have 19 others players pulling for you and each and every one sharing each others success.
"We are willing to give ourselves to each other both on and off the field. We give ourselves fully and don't leave any questions for afterward."
JOY FAWCETT - U.S. National Team defender
On recuperating after a tense and physical game like the one against Germany:
"After an emotional game like that you feel a little more tired and drained. I could use a nap right now. We are definitely motivated for the game on Sunday and it is easy to get motivated and we just need to get our legs back and get rejuvenated."
On what Shannon MacMillan brings to the team:
"Shannon just has that desire and she knows what her role is. She watches the games from the bench and when she comes in she knows what to do. She knows how to exploit the other team and knew on Thursday that the near post was open on those corners, so she just fired that ball in. She is such a huge lift to the team and she just goes after it. It's a great lift."