U.S. Defender Carlos Bocanegra's "Off the Ball" - Day Two
I. Back to Work
We had our first day of training yesterday and it was nice to get out and get a run in. Everyone was a little tired and sluggish at first, but after the warm up and the 95-degree weather everyone was good to go. We played a little possession with two teams, then the game changed and we went towards small goals. After that we did some crossing and finishing in which the defenders crushed the attackers. During the crossing and finishing, Pablo Mastroeni was unfortunately snipered by the TURF MONSTER while backing up to finish a cross. Don’t worry buddy: it happens to everyone. To finish up we played a little 6 v 6 in tight space to big goals, with three different teams rotating. I would be doing a disservice to Frankie if I didn’t mention his sweet meg in the last game on his team's way to victory.
II. Cross Colors/Counter Culture
We have finally figured out how to get access back to the States. Many of the guys are hoppin' online or have purchased phone cards. The days get very long and we are still adjusting to the time change but there is one thing that has helped. Halo, the game on X-Box. Marcus Hahnemann has been kind enough to cart his system around the world for us so we can play video games. You know were just big kids anyway. There is a small cult who occupies the room - Joe Cannon, Marcus, Landon Donovan, Taylor Twellman, Kyle Martino, and myself. I would have to say Joe and Landon are the best,and Taylor and myself round out the bottom end. These games are not friendly either. The competition is stiff and with everyone's competitive nature there is more trash talking during Halo than an NBA game.
III. The Back Four (Holla Back)
I'm going to talk to a different set of roommates every day, getting their responses to four questions. We'll see how the answers differ from room to room. Today we've got our version of the Reggae Boyz, Cory Gibbs and Jeff Cunningham ...
Cory was born in Plantation, Fla., and grew up in Ft. Lauderdale. He 'matriculated' at Brown University, and is currently ballin' at FC St. Pauli in Germany. Jeff Cunningham was born in Montego Bay, Jamaica, and went to school at the University of South Florida. Jeff is kickin' it with The Cruisers in Columbus ...
1. What's your favorite thing to do outside of soccer?
Cory: "Going to the beach and chillin' in Miami. But since I'm living in Germany, I go downtown by the water in Hamburg. There's good places to shop during the day, and cool clubs at night."
Jeff: "I like going to the mall. Armani is my favorite. I also like getting stuff for my family back in Jamaica."
2. For you, what are the biggest pro's and con's of playing in Europe?
Cory: "Pros - Playing against the world's best players. The soccer environment is great, both on and off the field. There are always games on t.v., so you can pick up a lot by watching. Cons - the people are a little different. Not to put down Germans, but they are a little cold. Also, the weather sucks. Don't forget, I'm from Miami."
Jeff: "I like the atmosphere that surrounds the team, with the great training facilities and the first-class treatment we get. It's great getting a police escort. Here, we are treated like football stars. I don't really have that much to complain about. I don't like the small rooms in the hotel. The beds are next to each other, just like the college days."
3. Which superhero would you compare yourself to and why?
Cory: "Spiderman. All the German journalists call me 'Spidy' because of my long legs."
Jeff: "The Hulk. I'm a very shy guy until someone pisses me off. Then the Green Monster will eventually come out."
4. What's your biggest pet peeve? What really pushes your buttons?
Cory: "I can't stand people being around egotistical people. Also, girls who can't take no for an answer!"
Jeff: I don't really have a pet peeve, because nothing really bothers me that much. But I don't like people are not considerate of other people's feelings. I don't like people that aren't open-minded."
IV. Quote of the Day
"Life is about simplicity. After I finish playing soccer, I'm going to live in a hut. If I need electricity, I'm going to run it from my neighbor's house" - Jeff Cunningham, dispensing life lessons to Pablo Mastroeni
Check out photos of the boys getting after it in France in the 'Sights and Sounds" section at ussoccer.com.