w/ U-23 MNT goalkeeper D.J. Countess
Off-the-wall Questions and Answers, Queries and Anecdotes from up-and-coming MetroStars and U.S. Under-23 goalkeeper D.J. Countess.
Center Circle: You're still a baby as far as your soccer career is concerned, but have you had what we might call a "brush with greatness"? In other words, who's the biggest celebrity you've met?
D.J. Countess: "I'm not sure. One of the biggest celebs I've met in the soccer world was Brad Friedel. He came out to UCLA when the MNT were holding a training session at the ARCO Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista. He made it a point to come down and see me, as a former Bruin goalkeeper and as an international goalkeeper, we have a lot in common. It was a great experience for me to meet a guy like him. Brad came down and picked me up and we went out to dinner, and I paid of course (laughs). I don't want to get UCLA into any trouble. It was great to sit and talk to someone like him, because he's been through everything I have been through. As we talk right now, I am looking up at Friedel's jersey framed on my wall. It was a great feeling to meet someone who I have their autograph on the wall and someone I look up to like I look up to Brad.
"I've also hung out with some NBA players before. (Dallas Mavericks point guard) Steve Nash was one of the cooler ones. I went to a NBA game and then after the game went out to dinner with some of the Mavs. It opened my eyes to see what it is like to be a pro athlete. I have been really fortunate to have met a bunch of great people in my short life so far."
CC: Who's your favorite "South Park" character and why?
DJ: "Don't really watch South Park. But I know it's pretty funny. I do watch a lot of television, though. I love watching Cops. I watch that one all the time. I don't know how I ended up hooked on that show, but I used to wake up at 7 in the morning to watch ‘CHiPS' with John and Ponch. Those guys are my heroes. I wanted to be a cop."
CC: When you're 50 years old, are your nieces and nephews really going to call you Uncle D.J.? Or are you going to go back to Delvin?
DJ: "It's going to be ‘Uncle D.J.', or uncle whatever they want to call me. Maybe ‘Unc'? I have no idea. (laughing ) Whatever they are comfortable with. But I think I'm definitely a D.J. now. That is one of the funniest, oddest questions I have ever been asked."
CC: NoCal or SoCal?
DJ: "Hometown against college town. Hmm, this is a tough one. I've gotta go with SoCal, because I love the beaches, the swimsuits, the bikinis. It's a great atmosphere down there, and you can't get any better weather anywhere else in the world. I'm a beach bum, and anytime I can get out to the beach I try to. Whenever I am near the beach, I feel like I'm at home."
CC: L.A. or NYC?
DJ: "That's a tough one, because I haven't been in New York City enough, but I like being in new places. I've grown up around LA - a lot of my family lives there - but I love the beach and love being a part of the beach and sitting in the sun. But NY is a great place, and both have their qualities. It's too tough to pick one against the other at this point. I'm living with Clint (Mathis) in New York (actually, the duo live in New Jersey). He and I just get along real well. We just got along. Actually, as we speak he's driving my car. He's a good person for me to be around to learn how to be a good pro."
CC: Is MLS harder or easier than you thought it would be?
DJ: "Being part of the MLS is great. I still think that I made the correct decision as far as signing with the MLS. I'm very happy with what happened and how it all came about. My goals are to be ready for next season and to be mentally there and to get myself into a position where I can contribute on the field."
CC: Pamela Anderson or Carmen Elektra?
DJ: "I'll take my girl Faith Hill. She's an angel. She's got a voice, a heart, and she's true to her husband. You can't beat that combination. There's nothing fake, she's real in my opinion. But she's got to keep her hair long. When she cuts it short it doesn't do it for me."
CC: What was it like to be voted the best-looking player of the tournament in Argentina and be known as the "pretty boy" of the team?
DJ: "It wasn't a big deal. There were a lot of jokes, and some of the guys on the team and other people had some stuff to say about it. Of course it is a good feeling when you get a compliment – and that was a compliment - but at the same time there are a lot of good looking people everywhere. I really don't have a clue if the award was accurate, but it was nice."
CC: What sport do you most like to watch besides soccer? And, you can't say "beach soccer".
DJ: "The NBA. I love watching the NBA. I was at a (Sacramento) Kings game just the other night. They looked good. As long as I am in Sacramento, I will go to every Kings game that I can. I don't follow the statistics of the game, but I love to watch it. I love the high-flying and the showboating."
CC: So you've been the #1 at the goalkeeping position for the U-17 and U-20 Men's National Team's and played well at both teams' respective world championships in 1999 and 2001. Now you're in line to be the incumbent with the U-23's. How awesome would it be for you to compete in the Olympics in 2004? Have you even thought about it at such an early stage? It's okay to say that you have.
DJ: "The Olympics are my next goal. That is one of my main focuses right now. My immediate goal with the National Team is to be the starting goalkeeper for the Olympic Team. That would be a phenomenal accomplishment and I would love to be a part of it and to do well. For me to be an Olympian would make myself proud, and I think it would make my family and friends feel good. It is a very exciting thing to be a part of and I am looking forward to it. It would be outstanding."
CC: So when do you envision yourself between the pipes for the full U.S. Men's National Team? 2006? 2010?
DJ: "Of course I think about that, but my immediate goal is with the Olympic Team. Do I look forward to the full National Team? Definitely. When I get called up I will do my best, work hard and play well. But my immediate goal is to become the starting goalkeeper for the U.S. Olympic Team. 2006 and 2010 - it is hard to say, but I have to look at the more immediate goals first."
Table of Contents
1) Armchair Midfielder (USA's World Cup Qualifying)
2) Word Association (w/ WNT midfielder Shannon MacMillan)
3) Cobi's Book Club (w/ MNT midfielder Cobi Jones)
4) Queries and Anecdotes (w/ U-23 MNT goalkeeper D.J. Countess)
5) DJ for a Day (w/ WNT midfielder Lorrie Fair)
6) Superstar!!! (w/ MNT midfielder John O'Brien)
7) Mark That Calendar (2002 World Cup final draw -- Dec. 1)
8) Point-Counterpoint (w/ commentators Andres Cantor and Jack Edwards)
9) From the Bleachers (w/ U.S. Soccer fans Keiran Downie & Jeniffer Huie)
10) "You Don't Know Jack (Marshall)" (U.S. WCQ history)
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