Beasley, Olsen and Reyna On Making the World Cup Roster
U.S. Soccer Midfielder DaMarcus Beasley
On how things are different this World Cup from when he was named to the 2002 FIFA World Cup roster:
“Things are a lot different, even for myself. I put a lot more pressure on myself to step up and make an impact on the game. I'm a little bit more experienced now, I've been to a World Cup before, and I know what to expect. My leadership and my experience have to come out during the World Cup.”
On how he is approaching this World Cup differently than 2002:
“I'm not really approaching it that much differently, I guess. We're playing stronger opponents, I think, this time around, although every opponent in the World Cup is going to be tough. I'm not really approaching it differently, I'm just looking at it as another opportunity for our team to be seen on the world stage. We're preparing as a team.”
On what the deciding factor will be for the U.S. against their World Cup opponents:
"I think the way we defend is going to be very important to how we do in the World Cup. Defense always wins championships so if our defense is strong, we'll get our chances. I think we have the ability in our midfield and forwards to get the ball in the attack and create things. Maybe four years ago we didn't have that as much and we played with a more defensive style but this year, how we approach each match will be a little different and we will definitely try to have an attacking style. (Defense means) everybody. All 11 players, from McBride up top back down to Kasey in the goal. All 11 players have to defend and we do that very well, collectively. We always have our chances in games becuase we defend very well. We're very smart and we don't make many mistakes. I think that's the best thing you can say about our team."
U.S. Men's National Team Captain Claudio Reyna
On what it means to be named to his fourth World Cup roster:
"It's extremely special for me because, I think, growing up in America, I would have just been pleased with playing in one World Cup and now to enter my fourth World Cup is something that I can't really get my head around that it's happened. I think it was a bit of luck, the timing of my age for the first World Cup but it's something that I could have never dreamed of. Like I said, growing up, if I would have played in one, I would have accomplished my goal to be able to play in one World Cup, so to go my fourth is something that I'm proud of."
On what kinds of things the team will be working on when they go into camp on May 10 in Cary, N.C.:
"The training now officially brings the group together and the competition for the roster is over and now everyone is just going to compete to play. Everyone is there now and the most important thing is getting a good group and everyone being a unit now and I think that's what did us very well in the last World Cup. And we'll go over the team preparation of our opponent, go over organizational things on the pitch, off the field, as well. And, of course, fitness is one of the main things as well. Guys are in different stages of their fitness and some guys will do a little bit more than others, trying to get everyone on the same page. That's Pierre's job, our fitness coach. I think he has a good handle on that, knowing where everyone is and who needs to be pushed and who needs to be eased into it a little bit. That's all part of it. I think the most important thing is that we're all together for one goal, which is to do well at the World Cup."
On the importance of the "Send-Off Series" matches:
"I think the most important thing is how organized we are and to get on the field together as a group and play three games together in a short time that will mimick our group stage. We'll have three games in eight days, where the World Cup is in 10 or 11 days. It gets everyone together and it's a good exercise in playing games and recovering for the games. They're good opponents and I think the performance, the organization of the team and going over certain things are more important than the results. Yeah, I think we want to go into the World Cup winning games but I think the most important thing is how we play."
U.S. Men's National Team Midfielder Ben Olsen
On being named to his first World Cup roster:
"I'm honored. It's a very special moment. Me and my family were all very excited about the whole deal. It's going to be an intense task for myself and the team and, again, I'm very honored to be a part of it."
On how his experience helps him in Germany:
"It's a big stage, no question about it. It's going to be faster and more intense than any soccer that I've ever played. But I have played soccer before and I've played it for almost 10 years now, pro, and it's just something that I've done for a living, and I think just that experience of playing nine years in the league and a couple years with the National Team, in the Olympics, in youth qualifying. Hopefully, I can draw on all that experience and help if I get a chance to play."
On how the team will prepare for their first round opponents:
"That's all coaching staff stuff. One thing about Bruce and Mooch and Curt, they will prepare this team better than anyone will. They already know these teams, they know the scouting reports, they know how we're going to go about trying to get results and they do a great job of that. They're very thorough and they've been here before so that's up to them to show us what to do."