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U.S. Web Log: Entries 41-60


During the World Cup, you’ll be able to watch the U.S. Men’s National Team on ussoccer.com’s Studio 90 daily webcast, you’ll be able to hear the players and coaches on our various podcasts and you’ll even get to read features about certain guys in our revamped daily Center Circle. But even with all that, we figured some of those slight everyday details, those little tantalizing nuggets most people usually never find out, would continue to fall through the cracks.

We can’t have that during a World Cup. So, to bring you the most comprehensive coverage, we’ve encamped ourselves within the team at all times and we’re writing down all we see and hear in our 24-hour-a-day blog, right here on ussoccer.com. We’re on the bus, in the meal room, at training, in the locker room, at the hotel and in the showe….er…wait, okay, not that far. We’re bringing you everything, just not EVERYTHING.


We never know when something interesting, outlandish or hilarious will happen, so check back every so often to get the latest update about the MNT’s journey through the World Cup.

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Entry #60: June 12, 4:02 p.m. (10:02 a.m. ET)
Dressed in their Hugo Boss suits (sans necktie) and with many players sporting shades, everyone is on board the bus about to depart for the stadium. Everyone looks relaxed, with a majority of the group listening to tunes on the headphones. As the bus pulls away, the staff starts to hand out credentials to the entire team (yes, each player needs to have one). Clint Dempsey and Eddie Johnson - aka 'Franchise Boys' - are wearing matching sunglasses.

Entry #59: June 12, 3:34 p.m. (9:34 a.m. ET)
Bruce and the team just gathered to take a call from George W. Bush before leaving the hotel. Bruce spoke on behalf of the team, and the President wished the U.S. well, and more specifically told the team to 'give 'em hell'.

Entry #58: June 12, 2:24 a.m. (June 11, 8:24 p.m. ET)
And lastly...a hint for all you folks traveling overseas: make sure the pay-per-view movies are in English BEFORE you order them.  Nothing more pleasant than falling asleep to a flick in German.

Entry #57: June 12, 2:18 a.m. (June 11, 8:18 p.m. ET)
Okay, so we took a closer look and spgtv is "Starwood Preferred Guest TV," and you know what, there's actually like four or five of these little shows. Whatever. As we write this, chubby lego guy killing it again. If this if for the preferred guests...what do the regular guests get? A fatter guy talking about Star Trek or Dungeons and Dragons?

Entry #56: June 12, 2:03 a.m. (June 11, 8:03 p.m. ET)
Now it's 2:03 a.m., and we're still up (let's hope the players are fast asleep). Doing work, while also flipping around on the channels a bit, and had to share something that's just really getting on our nerves. It seems, Channel 1 here in the hotel (which is spgtv...yea, we hadn't heard of it either), has only two shows! And they just play them over and over and over and over. The first is a show on this lego place in London. This heavy set guy takes you inside the building of all these huge lego models they have built (Big Ben, dinosaours, animals, cars...basically anything you can think of, they have it made out of legos). This guy is geeking out about his legos, saying how the kids love it and it's so fun there...but all the shots of the kids look like they'd rather be anywhere than LegoLand! Similar to how we'd like to be on any channel other than Channel 1. The other show? Some Costa Rica dude taking us out on his boat to search for dolphins. Great. "Hey look, there's one. Oh, and there it goes." That was awesome. How much do we owe you? How 'bout nuthin' as we change the channel.

Entry #55: June 12, 12:20 a.m. (June 11, 6:20 p.m. ET)
It's 12:20 a.m., and believe it or not a couple guys are still wandering the halls. Fair to say there are some anxious people around here. Bruce gave a pretty inspirational speech in the meeting tonight (you'll see a bit in Studio 90), and it finally seems to have sunk in that it's game time. Even with all the games, training camps, travel and time away from home, four years of work are about to culminate in a moment that feels like it just snuck up on you. We can tell you one thing: we can't predict the outcome, but from the look on everyone's faces, this group is ready to play ... 

Entry #54: June 11, 6:04 p.m. (12:04 p.m. ET)
You always hear talk about how the World Cup is the biggest event in the world, how people outside the U.S. don't understand ... We're here to tell you folks that the atmosphere is every bit as special as it's hyped up to be. An example: the night before the Argentina-Ivory Coast match in Hamburg, there was a huge light show out on the Alster (lake) in the center of town. Out on the sidewalk is parked two RV's, one full of Argentina fans and the other full of Brazilians (no idea why in Hamburg). They were singing together well past midnight, soon to be joined by loads of Hamburgers. Four of the Argentines broke out their guitars and drums and pulled of an impromptu concert. Hordes of German fans still celebrating the victory against Costa Rica got into the act, and in end you had a pure football celebration. And a lot of empty pint glasses ... 

Entry #53: June 11, 10:05 a.m. (4:05 a.m. ET)
We'd also be remiss without sending a shout-out to our CONCACAF brethren from Trinidad! Wow. After their draw against Sweden, they are partying in Port-of-Spain like it's 1999 (we know, we were there for Carnival. Remember the all_access video?). Hats off to the Soca Warriors for pulling off the surprise result of the tournament, particularly playing a man down for almost all of the second half.

Entry #52: June 11, 9:52 a.m. (3:52 a.m. ET)
The guys seemed to take advantage of the late training time this afternoon, rolling in later than normal to the breakfast room. Most of the team watched the Argentina v. Ivory Coast match last night (won by Argentina 2-1), the consensus being it was a “pretty decent” match. More of the discussion focused on the incredible number of close offside calls during the first two days of the tournament; specifically how they believe the referees have gotten the calls right! The other trend seems to be goals being scored off of re-starts, particularly from wide positions. If you look at the statistics on goals scored in the World Cup, the majority of them come from re-starts. Something to keep an eye on as the games go on.

Entry #51: June 11, 8:45 a.m. (2:45 a.m. ET)
You remember those tools from the other night?  You know what we mean, the guys who went to the Tool concert last week. Here’s Marcus Hahnemann’s better-late-then-never account of that day: “Tuesday started with the normal routine with breakfast, going to training and lunch.   We had our meeting and then back to the room for a siesta or some treatment. Wednesday was scheduled to be a day off, giving the players a chance to go to dinner on our own and to really relax for the first time in a while. We had been training really hard and the chance for some free time was really needed.  So, I woke up from the nap and saw Pam, our general manager, in the hallway. Pam asked me if I knew anyone who would be interested in going to the Tool concert. At first I thought she was joking because the day before I had mentioned in an interview how they were one of my favorite bands and there new album ‘10,000 days’ was awesome. Still wondering how we got invited, but it didn’t really matter. Without question I said I was going to go and Kasey was in as well.  Pam asked if I should talk to him about it first....  I said ‘he is in with out a doubt.’ Then we tried to round up some numbers. Landon had some doubts about going and Jimmy had to do his ESPN column. We recruited Rick Guter (trainer) and Ryan Maxfield (kit man).  Finding out the show was in Hamburg was a bonus because I was prepared to drive or rent a helicopter to get there – wasn’t sure how the other guys would feel about that one! Anyway, when we arrived we were directed to the back door where the head of security had back stage passes for us.  We met the band’s tour manager, Craig, who told us how excited the guys were to see us. Turns out Justin the bass player is a huge soccer fan. So here we are hanging with Adam the guitarist, Danny the drummer, Maynard the lead singer and Justin.  I was really surprised to find out how stoked they were to see us there and that we were actually huge fans. The concert was really good.  I have never seen them play live and now I am even more of a fan than before.  I know it helps that we got to hang out with them, but if you get a chance go see them and buy their CD you won't be disappointed. “’10,000 Days’ is a bit mellower than some of the older stuff at times, but mostly it just rocks. We are still trying to figure out if they can make one of our games before they head back to the States. Looks like all we have to do is get out of group play …”

Entry #50: June 10, 6:27 p.m. (12:27 p.m. ET)
Coming to you live from the team bus on the road to Essen (First blackberry blog entry!). Flight to Dortmund was all of 38 minutes, with most people catching a quick power nap. We cruised past the stadium where the Trinidad Sweden match was about to kick off.  The team is decked out in charcoal grey suits courtesy of Hugo Boss - you'll be seeing the photos later. It's about 45 minutes to the hotel, and already you can feel like the game is just around the corner...

Entry #49: June 10, 1:18 p.m. (7:18 a.m. ET)
We are getting ready to roll out to Gelsenkirchen later today as we are only two days away from our opening match against the Czech Republic. On today’s Studio 90, along with a piece on the Fan Fest and an in-studio interview with DaMarcus Beasley, we’ll have footage of the trip over. One thing you’ll definitely notice is how dapper the players and staff will be, dressed to the nines in their grey suits provided by Hugo Boss.

Entry #48: June 10, 10:45 a.m. (4:25 a.m. ET)
Not sure how we’ve failed to mention this after being here for a week, but here’s a little tidbit on the hotel. There are green apples EVERYWHERE. They are used mainly as decoration, adorning almost every table in the hotel, whether it be a single apple or an artistic pile in a glass vase, but they are also edible. We’ve grabbed a few when we’ve needed a quick, healthy bite to control our hunger, and we can tell you, they’re delicious. The only problem we’ve had is finding a garbage can to throw away the core! This isn’t a knock on the hotel by any means (as mentioned before the staff is unbelievable), they just don’t have big garbage cans around. Trust us, not having piles of garbage cans around is aesthetically pleasing, we just get confused where to put the core when we’re done with our nutritious snack. You know what though?…the truth is 10 seconds after we put it down, a staff member swoops by and cleans it up anyway, so maybe we shouldn’t give it another thought. As we finish writing this we’ve just realized something…the hotel staff is so good to us, the only thing we can complain about is that we can’t find a garbage can to throw away a measly apple core. Wow, we are spoiled. 

Entry #47: June 10, 8:25 a.m. (2:25 a.m. ET)
So, we’ve got a possible answer to who our “smiley face bandit” is here in Hamburg. A reporter from the Bild tabloid paper explained to us in her best German accent, “this man…he is criminal.” We also got an email from Dirk (no, not Nowitski) in Germany who emailed us that “all the smileys and "OZ"-tags were made by a single person! His name is Walter Josef Fischer (56) and as far as I know he is now in jail.” He told us to Google his name…which we did just now, but we didn’t find anything (we only had a few seconds, so didn’t scour too much). Dirk also had a few other comments. He said seeing two guys in a UPS truck is “not normal” and that he can “ensure that the Germans are not fans of David Hasselhoff or his music!!! He had some success here in the 90s, but since then he appeared here only via ‘Baywatch’.” Sure, Dirk. The tape doesn’t lie!

Lastly, Dirk asks why we haven’t written about the blue goals in Hamburg. Well, we’ve just been waiting for the right time really. And I guess this is a good as any. The blue goals are an art project by Michael Batz where he’s installed luminescent blue goalposts in selected locations and on various buildings of the city. You can see the lighted goals for miles around Hamburg at night. The goal was to light 300 blue goals, but at this point there are just under 200.

We actually went up in a church bell tower last night (scary elevator!) to get a look at the blue goals. The view was one of the best in the city and we could see almost every single blue goal illuminated. It was a phenomenal view. One where you have to take a moment to remember where you are and what you’re doing, and enjoy it to the fullest. A highlight of the World Cup so far…and the tournament is only one day old. And don’t worry, Studio 90 will get you some footage and more background on the story of the blue goals sometime in the coming week.

Entry #46: June 9, 10:25 p.m. (4:25 p.m. ET)
U.S. Soccer hosted a welcome dinner tonight for the first of the 'Friends and Family" Program to arrive in Hamburg. Let me 'splain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up... The Friends and Family Program is set up to assist the families of the players and staff in the planning of their trip to the World Cup, and to assist them with all of their needs while in Germany. Everything from organizing flights, helping with tickets, pickups at the airport, hotels, sight-seeing trips, travel to games ... you name it, the F&F staff looks after it. Nike also jumps in the ball game with all kinds of cool goodies. More than 250 people will take advantage of the program during the tournament, which is almost 2.5 times more than 2002. Anyway, tonight's dinner was another spectacular effort from the staff at the Park Hyatt Hotel. Has anyone ever seen a fountain of strawberry chocolate? There was sushi, meat pies, mini-hot dogs and other amazing appetizers. U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati welcomed the group to Hamburg, as did Bruce. Spotted in town already were the families of Oguchi Onyewu, Gregg Berhalter, Landon Donovan, and Brian McBride, as well as several friends of U.S. Soccer. Bruce has always emphasized the importance of family, and tonight was a lovely way to get things started.... 

Entry #45: June 9, 7:10 p.m. (1:10 p.m. ET)
Noticed earlier today that Google Video has caught World Cup fever. U.S. Soccer is the number one link position from their World Cup section at http://video.google.com/worldcup.html. They also mentioned the behind-the-scenes access being brought to you by ussoccer.com in their daily blog at http://googlevideo.blogspot.com/. A number of ussoccer.com videos will be available for purchase on Google moving forward. Check them out and download your favorites and you will be able to enjoy our exclusive backstage access anytime. (Even when your boss shuts off your Internet access during the World Cup.)

Entry #44: June 9, 7:40 p.m. (1:40 p.m. ET)
Wow. That didn't take long. A tip of the hat to the folks at F & W Fence Company in Miami. Apparently the staff there is a mix of Czech supporters and U.S. supporters. So Jedde V. Regante (owner and U.S. supporter) has told everyone that Monday will be a half-day for everyone. So the Czech supporters will be watching the game in a sports bar. Little do they know that Jedde and his business partner Russell have a little surprise in store for them: "We are going to the body paint shop and getting painted in red, white and blue and then outfitting our flat bed truck with American flags and we will be arriving shortly before the match begins on the back of the truck. Should be a blast." Jedde, we will let the team know that F & W Fence Company has their back! (And we hope we didn't ruin the surprise! Come on, nobody from CZE reads this blog!)

Entry #43: June 9, 6:48 p.m. (12:48 p.m. ET)
The games have started! What a crazy first half. Three goals in the first 15 minutes? We are guessing that has never happened before (in the opener). Can't believe the World Cup is finally here. We just heard from our friends at AthletiCo in Chicago (where U.S. Soccer is based) and they told us that everyone at their many facilities in Chicago will be wearing all red, white and blue on Monday in honor of the first game. That's more than 800 AthletiCo employees around Chicagoland honoring the U.S. team. Pretty cool. It got us wondering if there are any other business out there doing anything special as we kick off on Monday. Let us know at studio90@ussoccer.org.

Entry #42: June 9, 4:55 p.m. (10:55 a.m. ET)
Cool scene from yesterday's video of the team at the Rathaus. If you notice the moment when Bruce calls down goalkeeper coach Milutin Soskic for the team photo, he gets him standing next to German legend Uwe Seeler (You can read about Uwe's exploits in an earlier blog entry.) 'Sholey' started in goal when Yugoslavia defeated Germany 1-0 in the 1962 World Cup, one of the most famous victories in their country's history. One of the starting forwards that day for Germany - none other than Mr. Seeler himself. The two played against each other several times in their careers, both at the international level and club level when Soskic played for FC Koln and Seeler at HSV.

Entry #41: June 8, 9:58 p.m. (3:58 p.m. ET)
Getting late again on the sets of Studio 90, but just noticed a little shout out for our coverage on the deadspin.com blog. Thanks for the props, guys, but alas, you can't actually watch the games here on ussoccer.com. (Something like that would involve lots of $$$ and lovin' for our friends at FIFA.) However, you can indeed get just about everything else here on ussoccer.com, including MatchTracker coverage of the games (but you already knew that). If you are interested in watching the games on the web, ESPN360 does have those rights. Of course, when it comes to TV in the States for the World Cup, that would be ESPN, ABC, ESPN2 (all in HD!) and Univision. One more day people!


Dressed in their Hugo Boss suits (sans necktie) and with many players sporting shades, everyone is on board the bus about to depart for the stadium. Everyone looks relaxed, with a majority of the group listening to tunes on the headphones. As the bus pulls away, the staff starts to hand out credentials to the entire team (yes, each player needs to have one). Clint Dempsey and Eddie Johnson - aka 'Franchise Boys' - are wearing matching sunglasses.

Return to the Top of the U.S. Web Log | Entries 61-80 | Entries 21-40 | Entries 1-20

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