MNT Training Camp Blog from Carson, Calif. - Week Two
Wednesday, Jan. 17 @ 2:46 p.m. PT
Less than 45 minutes until the U-20's kick off their World Cup qualifying campaign against Haiti. The coaching staff is heading to the Bradley residence to watch, and a viewing party is taking place at the U.S. Soccer offices at the HDC. Make sure you're following along on ussoccer.com's MatchTracker.
Wednesday, Jan. 17 @ 1:32 p.m. PT
The van ride back to the hotel was rockin'! Lots of hip-hop and chair dancing going on. The strangest (but not surprising) part was the fact that Joe Cannon knew every word to every song. What does that guy do in his spare time anyway?
Wednesday, Jan. 17 @ 12:36 p.m. PT
Spotted a familiar face in the weight room below the HDC. John O'Brien, wearing his Chivas USA training gear, was working out at the same time the players were doing their 'regeneration' work. We know we promised to explain what that is, but it just sounds too mysterious to debunk any theories you might have. In any case, JOB is looking fit and sporting the same familiar long locks. Nice to see him, particularly with a smile on his face.
Wednesday, Jan. 17 @ 11:48 p.m. PT
Once again a busy day for media activity after training, with USA Today, ESPN Deportes, the Los Angeles Daily News, the Daily Breeze, the Press Enterprise, and even the Sunday Times of London on hand to pepper the group about Saturday's game. We'll have some audio clips posted later today. Also, we have confirmed Bob Bradley's appearance on 'The Hot List' on Thursday afternoon at 5:40 p.m. ET on ESPNews.
Wednesday, Jan. 17 @ 9:45 a.m. PT
Remember the song "It never rains in Southern California"? Must have been metaphorical, 'cause we're getting wet here on Field 1...
Wednesday, Jan. 17 @ 8:51 a.m. PT
There's some new videos up from training - which will surely have the soccer die-hards dissecting every play - but make sure you keep an eye out for the upcoming edition of "A Day in the Life of Jimmy Conrad". We all have seen what kind of personality he has with the columns he writes for ESPN; now, he steps in front of the camera a la his Studio 90 appearance during the World Cup. We don't want to be accused of posting spoilers, but there is a balcony scene that had us falling out of our chairs...
Tuesday, Jan. 16 @ 1:47 p.m. PT
So it turns out the way to Eddie Robinson's heart is through his stomach. "I love to eat," Eddie said while plowing through chicken and broccoli at lunch. He's also the cook in the family, but said his wife makes a mean turkey lasagna and also chicken enchiladas. He eats so much spicy food he thinks he must have been Mexican in a former life. And his advice to make anything taste better: "Put tabasco on it. Makes it taste like hot wings." Apparently he made a convert in Bobby Boswell, who doused his plate in it ...
Tuesday, Jan 16 @ 12 p.m. PT
Boy, you can really see the fire in these guys as they make a push to make the 18-man game day roster. After working on crossing and finishing, it was another marathon of 6v6 and 8v8 games with a focus on quick transitions and getting as many shots on goal as possible. The sharpness continues to build on both sides of the ball, and the 'keepers in particular had a good day of making quality saves. Pat Noonan remained sidelined with a knee strain, and was joined by Brian Mullan who is suffering from tendonitis in his ankle. ESPN sideline reporter Allen Hopkins got his first look at the group this morning, and Los Angeles Galaxy head coach Frank Yallop took time out from the feeding frenzy to check up on his boys.
Monday, Jan. 15 @ 1:58 p.m.
Soccer players have long be known for their brains as much as their brawn ... well, at least we've known about it. In addition to being active in doing crossword puzzles and sudoku, they are a group of avid readers. So we did a little research to find out what is filling the minds of the men in Carson. Here's a sample of the reading list, and little background if want to joint the MNT Book Club:
Matt Reis - Treasure of Khan: The 19th book in the series of Dirk Pitt novels created by Clive Cussler offers a plot as credible as it is monstrous and the kind of exotic aquatic detail that amazes, informs and entertains (yeah, we didn't write that). Pitt, who works for the National Underwater and Marine Agency (NUMA), is an expert scuba diver and many of his adventures take place below the surface of the water. The action in this book roams from Siberia's Lake Baikal and the wilds of Mongolia to the Hawaiian islands, as the search is underway for the treasure of Genghis and Kublai Khan, the great Mongolian conqueror and his grandson, and the desperate desire of a modern-day Mongol to restore national power and pride. Reis tells he has read every one of Cussler's novels, which was more than he could say for his textbooks at UCLA.
Heath Pearce - Jesus CEO: Using Ancient Wisdom for Visionary Leadership: This 'instructional guide' for business leadership examines Jesus not for religious or historical purposes, but rather focuses on his ability to lead and inspire people, attempting to translate those qualities into abilities to successful manage any group. The book was a gift to Heath from his parents.
Pablo Mastroeni - The Alchemist: A Fable About Following Your Dream: A fable about a Spanish boy who dreams one night of Egyptian treasure and sets off the next day to literally follow his dream. During his many adventures he encounters an alchemist -a man who believed that if a metal were heated for many years, it would free itself of all its individual properties, and what was left would be the "Soul of the World." His relationship with the man leads to the inspirational discoveries about the difference between worldly success and spiritual happiness. Not coincidentally, Pablo says he got the book from his 'spiritual tattoo artist'.
Chris Rolfe - The Audacity of Hope: The second book of Illinois Senator and potential presidential hopeful Barack Obama shares personal views on faith and values and offers a vision of the future that involves repairing a "political process that is broken" and restoring a government that has fallen out of touch with the people. Chris said that living in Illinois inspired him to learn more about the senator and inform himself about a potential candidate for president in 2008.
Troy Perkins - Plot Against America: Philip Roth's fictional 'what if' imagines that Charles Lindbergh had defeated FDR in the 1940 Presidential Election, and chose to make a pact with Hitler and keep the U.S. out of World War II. Roth uses his own family as the characters in how they would have dealt with an America that became increasingly isolated and religiously intolerant. Perkins gives the books high marks for suspense and ingenuity.
Joe Cannon - The Celestine Prophecy: A fast-paced adventure sends a middle-aged professor in search of ancient manuscript in Peru containing nine Insights that supposedly prophesy the modern emergence of New Age spirituality. He is fought along the way by government officials and clergy who fear the manuscript will undermine traditional values. Joe says he picked this book because he has graduated from self-help books onto the 'metaphysical' (sure sounds like it...)
Bobby Boswell - Bringing Down The House: The real-life saga of six M.I.T. students who teamed up to beat Vegas out of millions playing blackjack. Expanding on the "hi-lo" card-counting techniques popularized by Edward Thorp in his 1962 book, Beat the Dealer, the MIT group's more advanced team strategies were legal, yet frowned upon by casinos. Backed by anonymous investors, team members checked into Vegas hotels under assumed names and, pretending not to know each other, communicated in the casinos with gestures and card-count code words. Taking advantage of the statistical nature of blackjack, the team raked in millions before casinos caught on and pursued them. Bobby tells us it must be fun to be super-smart.
Monday, Jan. 15 @ 11:59 a.m. PT
The boys got back to work in a big way this morning in one of the most demanding sessions since camp began 11 days ago. After a 25-minute warm up, an 8v8 round-robin tournament kicked off at a very intense pace, with a third group working on agility. The speed of play and thought has clearly picked up. Another tournament followed, and just when they thought it was safe to take off their boots Bradley called for an exhaustive interval run to end the proceedings. Pat Noonan sat out with a right knee strain; otherwise it was full speed ahead for the other 28. ESPN play-by-play man Rob Stone took in this morning's training, getting an extra day's preparation for his call of the Denmark match live at 2 p.m. PT on ESPN2 this Saturday.
Sunday, Jan. 14 @ 9:08 p.m. PT
A little surprise light show for the few players who could drag their attention away from tonight's two-hour season premier of '24' and look west from their balconies. Today marked the 100th anniversary of the founding of the town of Hermosa Beach, and a day of festivities and a concert was capped off by a fireworks display that lit up the sky over the Pacific Ocean for about 20 minutes.
Sunday, Jan. 14 @ 8:50 p.m. PT
The camp roster grew by one tonight when D.C. United midfielder Brian Carroll arrived into Los Angeles. Carroll is finally fit to answer the call after a sprained right ankle prevented him from joining the group on Jan. 4, remaining in rehab in D.C. until he was sufficiently recovered. He takes the field tomorrow when the team resumes training after a down day today.
Sunday, Jan. 14 @ 2:28 p.m. PT
How cool is it that two Americans starting in goal against each other in the EPL isn't really news anymore? Aside from the 1-1 draw between Tim Howard's Everton and Marcus Hahnemann's Reading, the only real news from the game is that Sylvester Stallone was on hand to watch. Speaking of, anyone seen the Rocky flick? ussoccer.com is torn between the promise of redemption after Rocky V and the well-earned cynicism that this will be another black mark on the franchise.
Sunday, Jan. 14 @ 2:02 p.m. PT
The players are definitely taking advantage of the day off, and they got a beautiful one to do it. After three days that felt like Chicago more than SoCal, it's 70 degrees and sunny. Not seeing any guys wandering the halls, and the training room is closed for business until later today. We spotted Eddie Robinson carrying his sticks in after a round on the links and Joe Cannon watching the Bears-Seahawks game at the Hermosa Pier, but besides that, national team central feels like a ghost town.
Saturday, Jan. 13 @ 1:11 p.m. PT
Two favorite words of every player in a training camp - DAY OFF. Training resumes Monday morning at 10 a.m.
Friday, Jan. 12 @ 7:59 a.m. PT
Young or old, newcomer or veteran, no one's had an experience quite like this before. At about 1:45 a.m., the 'fire alarm' goes off in the hotel. Instead of the routine recorded message instructing the guests to exit the building - which have been a nuisance, if not a typical one - a live voice calmly but firmly declared: "This is the police. There is a burglar in the building and we are in pursuit. Please lock your doors and remain in your rooms until further notice." Ummmm ... OK. By most accounts, everyone had woken up, and they did - lock their doors, that is. Ten minutes later, another message: 'This is the police. Police dogs are now assisting in the search. Please lock your doors and remain in your rooms until further notice." Now it's just getting disturbing. Chris Rolfe, unable to get back to sleep, watched from his balcony as the burglar was chased by police out of the hotel and down the street. The all-clear sign came a few minutes after. No word on whether the suspect was apprehended, or on how many players slept under their bed for the rest of the night...
Thursday, Jan. 11 @ 8:01 p.m PT
Peter Nowak turns out to be quite the impressionist. Imagine, if you will, Peter likening Matt Reis to Dr. Evil and saying "One Million Dollars" with a Polish accent. Not sure what's funnier: how it sounded or the fact that he knew the quote. OK, you might have had to be there, but trust us, it's darn funny.
Thursday, Jan. 11 @ 2:33 p.m. PT
This is just freaky. Todd Dunivant has double pink eye. He thinks it makes hima lot more intimidating, mostly because people have trouble looking him in the eyes. To us he looks like Droopy. Apparently the waiter at the restaurant last night was relaying the specials to their table and refused to look in his direction. Don't worry. Todd will be fine, and he's ok with telling the story. But it's been three days since anyone would shake his hand.
Thursday, Jan. 11 @ 12:15 p.m. PT
It would be fair to say that there were a few cameras out at training today, with several different accents and languages present in the press pool. Landon, Bob, and all the Galaxy players spent about 30 minutes post-training answering the Becks questions. Best line of the day was Chris Albright deadpan answer on his thoughts about the Beckham signing - "pretty good pickup." Second best line, also to Mr. Albright: "I won't be playing credit card roulette with that guy." (it's a game of chance involving dinner, the check and one guy going home very unhappy...).