During the World Cup, you’ll be able to watch the U.S. Men’s National Team on ussoccer.com’s Studio 90 daily webcast, you’ll be able to hear the players and coaches on our various podcasts and you’ll even get to read features about certain guys in our revamped daily Center Circle. But even with all that, we figured some of those slight everyday details, those little tantalizing nuggets most people usually never find out, would continue to fall through the cracks.
We can’t have that during a World Cup. So, to bring you the most comprehensive coverage, we’ve encamped ourselves within the team at all times and we’re writing down all we see and hear in our 24-hour-a-day blog, right here on ussoccer.com. We’re on the bus, in the meal room, at training, in the locker room, at the hotel and in the showe….er…wait, okay, not that far. We’re bringing you everything, just not EVERYTHING.
We never know when something interesting, outlandish or hilarious will happen, so check back every so often to get the latest update about the MNT’s journey through the World Cup.
Entry #40: June 8, 9:08 p.m. (3:08 p.m. ET)
What a cool surprise to walk through the lobby and see Frankie Hejduk here with his wife and son. 'Dukes' decided that he still wanted to come check out the tournament for a couple weeks, so U.S. Soccer kept his room for him and he just arrived this morning. Looks great, says the knee is coming along fine, and has the same unmistakably positive attitude that epitomizes the San Diego surf dude. No doubt he's looking forward to his first hefeweizen. It brings a smile to many faces on the team to have him hanging out here.
Entry #39: June 8, 8:55 p.m. (2:55 p.m. ET)
We just walked into the players' lounge where Landon Donovan and equipment manager Ryan Maxfield (yes, the same Ryan Maxfield that is the star of the ussoccerstore.com ads played during Studio 90...we know you secretly love them) were playing EA Sports’ FIFA World Cup on XBox. They were playing together as the United States vs. El Salvador (think they were going through qualifying). We didn’t stay for the whole match, but we caught Claudio Reyna driving a low drive into the lower left corner as we walked out the door. Check for a little shot of them playing sometime on Studio 90 as we saw one of our videographers heading in as we left.
Entry #38: June 8, 8:21 p.m. (2:21 p.m. ET)
Not surprisingly, German TV is doing a great job covering soccer prior to the start of the Cup. Late night games in black & white from back in the day, and a show highlighting Germany's past World Cups that seems to be on every few hours. The only danger of not being able to understand what they are saying is looking up to catch something you don't want to see. Exhibit A was about five minutes ago, when they showed tape of French striker Cisse breaking his tibia and fibula vs. China in a friendly last night. It was just plain nasty. (And speaking of Xzibit, 'Pimp My Ride' seems to be just about the only show on here in English)
Entry #37: June 8, 5:50 p.m. (11:50 a.m. ET)
Landon Donovan just left the sets of Studio 90. No, he is not going to be on the show again (you can check out the June 6 edition of Studio 90 for that). He was actually in the studios to film a sit down with Shelley Smith and the ESPN crews. Shelley's daily reports on ESPN begin tonight on SportsCenter. Additionally, Bruce will be making his first radio appearance on the U.S. airwaves since the team arrived in Germany when he shoots the breeze on ESPN Radio's "Mike & Mike" show at 9:40 a.m. ET on Friday morning. Mike Greenberg helped launch the USA's World Cup hype when he helped Bruce announce the 23-man roster May 2 on ESPN's SportsCenter.
Entry #36: June 8, 5:20 p.m. (11:20 a.m. ET)
Here in the Studio 90 control room (which isn't as hightech as you think...just a bunch of tables and one large DSL Network switch with boxes, trunks, electronic equipment, food, and water scattered about), there is a new member of the crew prominently placed on the wall. Who is it? Well, it's none other than Mr. David Hasselhoff, the German singing sensation. Why is his picture on the wall? Ahh...well that we can't tell as we don't want to ruin the surprise that we have in store for you later this afternoon on Studio 90's June 8 edition.
Entry #35: June 8, 4:23 p.m. (10:23 a.m. ET)
Bruce se habla espanol? During today's presser - that would be 'press conference' for you non-media types - Pablo Mastroeni answered a question in Spanish about the team's preparation for the Czech Republic. When asked to repeat his answer in English, Pablo's response was "I can't remember what I said." In jumps Bruce to save the day: "c'mon, You're preparing; individually you're confident; estamos is 'We are'... " which brought laughter to the entire room. You just never know what Bruce has in store ...
Entry #34: June 8, 3:15 a.m. (9:15 p.m. ET)
A little backstory on our favorite guitar-weilding 80-year-old you got the chance to see again today between segments in today's Studio 90 show. The day of the game against Morocco, we decided to check out the streets of Nashville and see if there was any good footage to shoot. We were informed that if you ask, some of the guitar players on Broadway would compose a song for you on the spot. Well, that was no lie. We literally took one turn onto Broadway, saw our guitar man, told him who we were with and the good man simply plucked away right then and there. No more than four minutes. We thanked him and slipped him some bills for the amount of time he saved us to find some good footage. And yes...we're still up. The things we do to get you the most inside information.
Entry #33: June 7, 10:46 p.m. (4:46 a.m ET)
Jimmy Conrad is currently filming us working in Studio 90 headquarters. At 10:46 p.m., it's getting a little silly. There's a lot of stuff happening that's going to be hitting the editing room floor. Like Jimmy doing a version of the "human beat box," and the production staff doing Bruce Arena impressions. Johnny O is chilling in Neil's chair doing his best impression. Those guys took the camera out on the town for a couple hours and seem to be quite proud of their work - keep an eye out for a Studio 90 segment coming to a laptop near you. Oh, and our editors are really fired up about having to dredge through 45 minutes of tape.
Entry #32: June 7, 8:45 p.m. (2:45 a.m ET)
ze media bunker ist kool. Yes, it's actually a bunker, built before the World War II and now converted by the city of Hamburg to be a media work room and VIP hangout. They told us that after the war the city tried to destroy it and couldn't! How's that for German engineering? The second floor is a workspace, complete with computers, wireless internet access and a bar (doesn't every media work room have a bar? Seems like it sometimes, doesn't it?). They had a little trouble with cell phone signals inside the fortress, but seem to have sorted it out. Outside is a deck for sunbathing and barbeques - we're not making this up - and the top floor has a circular bar with probably the best view in the entire city. You can look down into the stadium for Sainkt Pauli on one side, and then turn to view the giant screen set up for the Hamburg FanFest that holds up to 50,000 people to watch games, sample German food and beers, and buy World Cup gear. Spotted at the Grand Opening VIP fiesta tonight were Grant Wahl from Sports Illustrated and Charlie D'Agata from CBS Evening News (plus a bunch of German celebrities we didn't recognize). The Bunker will be the place to be for any media covering the tournament in Hamburg.
Entry #31: June 7, 1:45 p.m. (7:45 a.m ET)
You can set your watches to it people. Early afternoon and Bruce Arena has again strolled through the sets of Studio 90 to check on the proceedings and offer his expertise on everything from defending free kicks to editing Q&As. (In a preview of tonight's episode of Studio 90, Coach Arena will be seen touring Cleveland with uberfan Drew Carey in advance of last month's game against Venezuela. The piece is an instant classic. Do not miss it.)
Entry #30: June 7, 1:08 p.m. (7:08 a.m ET)
We already told you about Kasey Keller's ring tone, well another U.S. goalkeeper's phone just went off during a visit to the Studio 90 set. His ring of choice? The "Star Wars" theme music.
Entry #29: June 7, 1:06 p.m. (7:06 a.m ET)
As we were typing away about Marcus Hahnemann up in our room, he stopped by Studio 90 and offered up his own blog on last night's Tool concert (more on that below):
"Finding out the show was in Hamburg was a bonus because I was prepared to drive or rent a helicopter to get there but I was not sure about the other guys. We were directed to the back door by their head of security with back stage passes and we were taken up to meet the band before the show. We met Craig, their tour manager, who told us how excited the guys were to see us with Justin ther bass player being a huge soccer fan. We meet the whole band: Adam their guitarist, Danny their drummer, Maynard their singer and Justin. I was really suprised to find out how stoked they were to see us, and that we were actually huge fans."
Entry #28b: June 7, 12:49 p.m. (6:49 a.m ET)
... and speaking of Keller and Hahnemann, we can confirm that they've returned intact from Tuesday night's Tool concert. They even got some love on the band's blog on their web site: "No problems to report other than ... these strange dudes in the Tool dressing room. Wait a second, they're members of the U.S. World Cup soccer team (that's what's keeping the band from taking the stage on time)."
Entry #28a: June 7, 12:47 p.m. (6:47 a.m ET)
So we're going through some tape of Marcus Hahnemann's sit down with the media on Monday, and did a double take toward the end of our tape. After all the expected questions about Jan Koller, his family, his jog around the lake and Kasey Keller, the one that really stood out was asking about German Dirk Nowitzki, who just made the NBA finals with the Dallas Mavericks ...
Entry #27: June 6, 12:08 a.m. (6:08 p.m ET)
Last thing before we get out of here: Since we’ve arrived, we’ve been following the team bus to practice in a van and to get easy access in and out of the hotel, we’re driving down the major thoroughfare which is lined with shops and hundred of thousands of people walking up and down…and across the street! We always felt like we were getting weird looks as we drove up and down the street avoiding the streams of people, only to find out that only cabs and busses are technically allowed to drive on the street. We’ve basically been dodging people and guessing what the street signs mean. And you know what, we’re not going to stop since, besides the odd looks, it doesn’t seem like anyone is going to stop us.
Entry #26: June 6, 9:57 p.m. (3:57 p.m. ET)
We were just standing next to Kasey Keller in the lobby and his phone started ringing…well, it’s not exactly a ring. He’s got the Tarzan yell ring tone.
|Entry #25: June 6, 9:54 p.m. (3:54 p.m. ET)
One thing we’ve noticed while bouncing around Hamburg is that there are spray-painted smiley faces all over the city. The two-dot eyes and half-circle smile have been seen on street signs, billboards, light posts and other random locations. It got us wondering: Is there a smiley-face bandit scouring the streets and leaving his happy mark on the city? But there are so many…so is there possibly more than one bandit? Possibly there is a secret society that is silently marking their territory throughout Hamburg. When we asked a few of the locals about the smiley faces, they were dumbfounded, stating they did not understand what we were talking about, that they had not seen these spray-painted marks. Are they telling the truth? Or are they playing dumb, while quickly leaving our presence to tell their partners in crime that we’re on to them? Or maybe we’re just over thinking this. Blame it on long hours. Either way, the investigation will continue.
Entry #24: June 6, 9:45 p.m. (3:45 p.m. ET)
We forgot to mention earlier...on the way to training today, we saw a UPS truck drive by while waiting for the light to change at an intersection. There were two guys in the brown truck, instead of the typical single driver you see in the States. Do Germany UPS drivers need an assistant? Are there more packages for a German UPS driver than a driver in the U.S.?
Entry #23: June 6, 9:40 p.m. (3:40 p.m. ET)
We know you’ve been checking out Studio 90…well, one of the camera/editing fellas on the production side was a bit embarrassed tonight at dinner. After grabbing some food from the imposing spread in the meal room, he accidentally dumped his entire plate of food. Crash, boom, spill, doh! While one table of staff members saw him and instantly started crackling, he was lucky as most of the players were out of the room at that time. For had they seen him, there’s no doubt their good-natured ribbing would have been a constant theme during the rest of the World Cup. But just because he got away from the guys, it doesn’t mean we can’t kill him here. We see and tell all.
Entry #22: June 6, 4:25 p.m. (10:25 a.m. ET)
We've already told you how amazing the hotel staff has treated the players and staff, so today we were lucky to get the chance to give something back. The manager of the hotel told us that they had organized a raffle for their employees in which they were asked to answer five questions about the World Cup. Everyone who answered correctly had their names put in a pot, and they were going to pick out four people who would win tickets to one of the World Cup matches here in Hamburg. When the staff assembled at 4 p.m. local time in their break room, in walked Marcus Hahnemann to draw the names out of the hat. Marcus, whose parents are from Hamburg, managed to get through most of the questions in German before picking the winners. The break room is decorated with a U.S. flag and pictures of all the players up on the wall. The manager told us that the staff has made an effort to memorize the names and faces of everyone on the team so they can greet them personally. They were extremely excited to have Marcus come down. Very cool to be able to say thanks to the people who are doing so much for the group.
Entry #21: June 6, 4:05 p.m. (10:05 a.m. ET)
Well, a couple of the 'keepers are pretty fired up right now. Got a call from the tour manager of Tool - don't feel bad if you haven't heard of these heavy-metal heroes - called to offer tickets to their show in Hamburg. Marcus Hahnemann and Kasey Keller will be rockin' it hard core. Why do you suppose it's the goalies that are the heavy metal freaks? Everyone always says to be a goalkeeper you have to be crazy. And no, we are not saying heavy metal fans are crazy, so please no hate mail. Check out the brand new Center Circle for more on Hahnemann's music taste.