w/ MNT midfielder Cobi Jones
Off-the-wall Questions and Answers, Queries and Anecdotes from U.S. Men's National Team midfielder Cobi Jones.
Cobi Jones, King of L.A. ... Okay, maybe another Kobe has that honor. But in the soccer world, Mr. Jones has quite the cred both along the flanks at the Rose Bowl and behind the velvet rope at the West Hollywood hot spots. A member of the Galaxy since the MLS opened shop in 1996, Jones will be playing in his fourth MLS Cup final. But it was the uber-successful 1994 World Cup here in our backyard that gave him a healthy taste of celebrity that he still enjoys to this day. From quarter-throwing fans at Azteca Stadium to pin-trading fans outside the U.S. team’s hotel in Korea this summer, Cobi is still one of Team USA’s most popular and recognizable players (next to only Alexi Lalas of overgrown goatee fame). It could be the hair, which has ranged from the old mini-dreads with shaved head underneath to the new Lenny Kravitz/Macy Gray/Sideshow Bob/fork-in-the-socket afro. But it’s probably the fact that he’s had an impressive 11-year career with the U.S. Men’s National Team that includes three World Cups and a whopping 159 caps (first on the U.S. all-time list and among the leaders in the world).
Center Circle: Why do you dig L.A. over other hotspots, like NYC for example?
Cobi Jones: “The fact that we've got a real beach, for starters. It's a bit more healthy lifestyle, nice open skies. You don't feel cramped up.”CC:
CC: Who's the biggest celebrity you've met? Or what's the biggest Hollywood party you've been to?
CJ: “Being in L.A. you meet all types of celebs, from athletes to actors. You can run into them in the supermarket. It's just part of the scene.”
CC: Am I to assume that you've been to the Playboy Mansion?
CJ: “Yes. I was there for Boxing Night. It’s a pretty cool place--not bad scenery. The Playboy bunnies were actually very cool and easy to talk to. Actually, I knew some of them.”
CC: What's your favorite late night hangout in L.A.?
CJ: “Lately I've been going to this place called National. It's one of those places with no name on the door. One of my boys owns the club. It's a cool scene--very kicked back. No weekend warriors in that joint.”
CC: We've asked this question to Gregg Berhalter and he said Clint without a doubt. So give me the real scoop: Who's the wildest guy on the MNT? I'm betting you and Pablo could give Clint a run for his money...
CC: You've earned an amazing 159 caps for the USA, but describe how sweet your experience was advancing to the quarters in Korea.
CJ: “Nothing like it. When things are going well during the World Cup, the experience is that much more enjoyable. You always consider the team has a chance to do well, but when you're there it's nothing you can imagine. The best part was beating Mexico. With the rivalry we have, beating them 2-0 in the Round of 16 is something special. We have bragging rights for life.”
CC: No offense, but you're no spring chicken at age 32. What does your international career hold for you? Would you rather go out on top or have you thought about 2006?
CJ: “I really haven't thought about 2006 at all. Right now we're just taking it one day at a time. Got a couple other things to take care of first. I'll have to talk to Bruce to see what he wants and see how long I want to continue playing internationally.”
CC: What are the Galaxy's chances of doing the double (winning both the MLS and U.S. Open Cup tournaments) this year?
CJ: “We aren't discussing that. I'm not thinking cups or championships. Don't want to be jumping on the bandwagon just yet.”
CC: You've been with the Galaxy from the get-go and will be playing your fourth MLS Cup final. But do you think L.A. should get the nod over D.C. as the best team in MLS history without owning an MLS Cup title?
CJ: “I think the best team is the one that has won championships. So I have no problem with people who want to say that. The past doesn't concern me so much. I'm worried about today.”
CC: How much do you love beating the San Jose 'Quakes? They have to be your biggest MLS rival...
CJ: “It was fabulous. Definitely a much bigger rivalry now that they're such a good team. It was even sweeter beating them at home in the final regular season game, since they had such a great record at Spartan Stadium.”
CC: How about our neighbors from the South? With that elbow to the head and knee in the back in the World Cup, I'd imagine you wouldn't mind having a little talk with (Rafael) Marquez next time we meet the Tricolores, say at the Rose Bowl ... or in a dark alley...
CJ: “He better watch out if I have a shot at him. Let's put it that way. I can understand him being disappointed that they are second best in CONCACAF.”
CC: Did you ever have any classes with any of your past or present MNT teammates while at UCLA like Friedel or Joe-Max? Maybe Children's Literature or Basket Weaving? Couple Phys Ed majors among you?
CJ: “I had Astronomy 3 with Joe-Max in my sophomore year--very cool class. I think I had one with Friedel, but can't really remember. No phys-ed major here. I ended up majoring in Environmental Studies.”
CC: Does Kobe Bryant know that you were the first Cobi in L.A.?
CJ: “He should.”
CC: When you think of your experience in England and at Coventry City in the English Premier League back in 1994 in the pre-MLS days, what comes to mind?
CJ: “Good time. It was an eye-opening experience to be in a place where soccer is your life and your job full time. I wasn't on the best team in terms of playing, but I wouldn't trade it. It was a bit of a shock jumping from L.A. to Coventry. Not too many beaches there at all.”
CC: You used to host a short-lived show on MTV called "MegaDose." If you could host or be on one MTV show at the moment, what would it be? ‘TRL’? Bring back ‘Yo MTV Raps’? ‘Cribs’? ‘The Osbornes’?
CJ: “‘Megadose’ lasted for three years, if you want to call that short-lived. ‘The Osbornes’ is a cool show because it's unscripted and you just get to be yourself. I think there should be a show called ‘The CJ Experience’.”
CC: As one of the heartthrobs on the U.S. MNT, explain to me why Landon Donovan is considered hot? I just don't get it...
CJ: “As a male, I'm not someone that really understands it either. You'd have to consult some females on that one.”
CC: What was the last concert you went to?
CJ: “I went to see U2 at the Staples Center. Me and a bunch of people had a box. The show was awesome.”
CC: Who's been on Leno more: you or Lalas?
CJ: “Lalas, probably. But he wasn't on live from Korea.”
Table of Contents
1) Armchair Midfielder (Rating the MLS Cups)
2) In Threes (w/ U-20 MNT defender Ryan Cochrane)
3) Then and Now (w/ former WNT midfielder Shannon Higgins-Cirovski)
4) Queries and Anecdotes (w/ MNT midfielder Cobi Jones)
5) Mark That Calendar (October = Everything)
6) Superstar!!! (w/ WNT defender Danielle Slaton)
7) FAN Point/Counterpoint (Impact U.S. Player for 2002 Women’s Gold Cup?)
8) "You Don’t Know Jack (Marshall)" (MLS Cup trivia)
Download this issue of Center Circle (.pdf)
***HOW'S OUR WRITING?***
We want feedback. No, really. Positive, negative, indifferent--we take all kinds. Reach us at: email@example.com.