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A New Generation of the U.S. Men's National Team Starting Down the Road to Germany 2006

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Wednesday, November 13, 2002) - The U.S. National Team training camp in Washington, D.C., has a distinctly youthful feel to it, with the average age just under 24 years old, and ten players seeking their first appearance for the USA. Laptops have been replaced by X-boxes and PlayStations; experience replaced by exuberance. sat down with some of the neophytes to get their reaction on life with the U.S. MNT.

Describe the atmosphere from the first few days of training:

“So far it’s been really fun trying to prove yourself at the highest level you can achieve in soccer.  The guys have been really great.  It’s a wonderful experience for a young professional.  Already I’ve learned some things that I can take back with me and work on.”
- Columbus Crew midfielder Kyle Martino

“I know a lot of these guys throughout the league.  It’s fun getting together with this group.  We’re having fun, but we’re also working our butts off.”
- New England Revolution goalkeeper Adin Brown

“It’s been what I expected.  Fast pace, very intense.  Definitely a different level.  It’s been very enjoyable.”
- San Jose Earthquakes defender Eddie Robinson

“I’m just trying to find my wits, and fit in here.  We can all play here, but it’s about showing something extra that I bring to the table. That’s what I’m trying to accomplish this week.”
- Kansas City Wizards midfielder Eric Quill

“The play has been quick and fast.  Everyone is trying to prove that they belong here, not just to Bruce, but to each other.  It’s competitive, even chippy sometimes, but that’s what we need.  We have a game coming up against a team in our region.  For the young guys coming who haven’t earned caps, like myself, we’re not necessarily trying to make the team, just trying to prove we belong.”
– Columbus Crew defender Brian Dunseth

“Other than the weather being crappy it’s been a lot of fun being a part of it.  It’s fun hanging out with such good players.”
– New England Revolution forward Taylor Twellman

What has been the most significant difference between playing at the club and youth level and the senior national team?

“It isn’t that much different.  The pressure on the ball is extremely high.  Everyone is trying to prove themselves and show the coach something extra.  Everyone is going 100 MPH.  There is no room for mistakes.”
– Dallas Burn defender Ryan Suarez

“Faster.  People are smarter, and everything happens much more quickly.”
– Adin Brown

“Everybody here is top notch.  You can never let your guard down.  If you let up for a second, you are going to get punished for it.”
– Eddie Robinson

“The biggest difference is the speed of thought.  You can’t get away with all the little bad habits that you can at the youth level, and sometimes in MLS.  You get punished when you're not thinking fast and not playing fast.”
– Kyle Martino

“Everyone is giving 100%.  Guys are flying around the ball.  At the club level, you have more time to get to know your teammates. Here, you have to bring it every day.” 
– Eric Quill

Obviously U.S. Coach Bruce Arena has an impressive, if not intimidating, reputation.  What have been your impressions so far?

“He’s hilarious.  Always something funny to say and make the guys laugh.  The training sessions are short and sharp.  He lets us play, putting us in tough situations, both mentally and physically.”
– Brian Dunseth

“He told everyone to stay calm, that no one would gain or spot or lose a spot on the team this week.  He’s a good character.  He knows what he wants, and we have to give it to him.”
– Ryan Suarez

"I’ve spent most of my time with goalkeeper coach Milutin Soskic, who is an outstanding coach.  He’s one of the best goalkeepers in history, and he certainly knows what he is talking about.”
– Adin Brown

“The greatest thing is that he gives young players a chance and provides an atmosphere to develop their skills.  I’ve noticed that he’s extremely organized and is a good communicator. He makes sure everyone knows where they stand, and where they need to be.”
– Kyle Martino

Tell us when it first hit you that you were part of the United States Men’s National Team program…

"I think when I first got in I was feeling cool and relaxed.  Then when I sat down for the first lunch with the team I found myself being kind of weird.  I was kind of nervous, fumbling around not knowing who to talk to or what to say.”
– Kyle Martino

“When I got the gear.  When the equipment manager hands you your gear with ‘USA’ across the chest, and you know it belongs to you.  This badge means so much for what I’ve worked for throughout my whole life.  This is more than an honor.”
– Ryan Suarez

“The first training session.  You look around the field and seeing everyone on the field you’re playing with.  I don’t think I’ll realize I was called into camp until after its over.”
– Taylor Twellman

“As soon as I got the call from [U.S. MNT General Manager] Pam Perkins.  It was exciting.  It was a very nervous time between then and when camp opened.  Even now it’s still a little nerve racking, but I’ve started to settle down.  I’m always having fun out there.”
– Eric Quill

“It really struck me when I first heard it from my coach [Frank Yallop] about even making the pool.  It was definitely a surprise to me.  When I got the call that I was coming into camp, I was thinking ‘Wow, I guess I did something right.’"
– Eddie Robinson