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Newest MNT Member Proud to Get the Call: Danny Williams Q & A How have you enjoyed your first camp with the U.S. team?
Danny Williams: “I’m very excited to be here. I feel very comfortable already. Everybody on the team is very nice and they make it easy to be in with the team for the first time. I feel I like I have been here for years.” You visited Miami earlier this year in June. Why did you make the trip?
DW: “I wanted to come to the U.S. to discover my dad’s country. I feel more American than German. People over here are very nice and open-minded, which is how I am. So I feel very comfortable. When I left, I knew that I had to come back.” The Miami Heat was playing in the NBA Finals and you scored a ticket to Game 6. Not bad for a vacation.
DW: “My friend is a fanatical basketball fan. He told me that when we came here that we should try to go to the final game. I didn’t think there would be a chance, but we found tickets. It was an amazing experience for me. I posted some pictures on Facebook, and all my friends were jealous.” You also met you girlfriend here in Miami. How’d you sweep her of her feet?
DW: “I was at the barber shop and I saw her across the street. I told my friend I had to meet her. He thought I was crazy, but I told him I didn’t care. It was love at first sight! We are in a relationship now, and when I go back to Germany, she is moving back with me." When did you first know for sure that you wanted to play for the United States?
DW: “I told my dad I wanted to travel to the USA once before I could know for sure I want to play for the U.S. National Team. After my visit, I felt so connected to this nation that I knew what I wanted to do. I spoke with my dad, and he said if you have this feeling in your heart than you should make it come true.” Last week you went to the U.S. Consulate to finally get a passport. What was that day like for you?
DW: “My dad was with me when I went to Frankfurt to get my passport. Even before I went inside, he was feeling proud. We didn’t have to wait very long. They asked him a couple questions, and then I had to swear an oath. I had it in my hands in about an hour. I couldn’t believe it was happening so fast.” Who looked at it first – you or your dad?
DW: “They gave me the passport, but I didn’t look inside. I gave it to my dad first. He was so excited and happy for me and proud his son is an American.” Where you surprised the U.S. National Team had been following your progress as a player?
DW: “I was surprised. My phone rang and the person said he was Jurgen Klinsmann. He is an idol in Germany. He came to the game against Mainz. I thought he was there to see Fabian Johnson. Afterwards, my coach came to me and said, ‘The national team coach wants to talk to you.’ I was a little bit nervous. He told me I had to get playing time and to find a rhythm, and then I would get invited. I told him I was excited and happy.” What was the reaction from your friends and teammates when you got the invitation to come to training camp here?
DW: “They all asked me if I could believe everything that was happening. I said that right now I would just enjoy it. With the change of clubs and getting called to the national team, I didn’t have time to think about it. Everyone is very happy for me. I got lots of texts and messages on Facebook.” What role do you play for Hoffenheim?
DW: “I play in the center of midfield. I grew up playing in this position. I like to get a lot of touches on the ball and make passes. I prefer the middle, but I will play wherever the coach wants.” What were your initial impressions about the level of football with this team?
DW: “I am very positive about this team. There is a lot of quality and it’s a very high level. Now we have to get to know each other a little bit and learn how each other work. It’s only going to get better.” Were you surprised at the quality?
DW: Not really surprised because I already know some of the players like Steve Cherundolo, Michael Bradley, and even Tim Howard when he was with Manchester United. When I came here, I was a little bit surprised that the level was so high throughout the team.” Have you watched U.S. National Team games in the past?
DW: “Not many because they don’t show that many games in Germany, but I always watch in the World Cup. I will never forget the game against Germany in the 2002 World Cup in the quarterfinal. This was the time that I started loving the USA. I watched the game, and normally I would support Germany. After the U.S. lost that match, I started crying. My dad asked what was going on. I didn’t know what to say, but I wanted the U.S. to win.” Obviously it means a lot to you and your dad that you are now representing the U.S. What does it feel like wearing the U.S. crest?
DW: “It feels weird in a positive way. I watched them playing on TV, and now I’m here and have a chance to play with them. I’m so proud to be a member of this nation and this team. I really look forward to playing.” There will be a big feeling of pride when you play your first game…
DW: My dad is so excited. He was born and raised here, and served in the U.S. Army. When I wear the jersey and the national anthem is playing, I know I will have goose bumps.”