US SoccerUS Soccer

Quote Sheet: Arena, Meola, Stewart

BRUCE ARENA  - U.S. head coach

On the security for the U.S. Team in Korea:
"From my perspective the security has been outstanding. It hasn't interfered with our training schedule or the ability of our players to get out and see the city. It has been great."

On if the team was given any special safety guidelines to follow:
"We were told to act like you would in any major city, realizing that in any major city you can get yourself in trouble if you're not smart, so you act accordingly."

On if he watched Poland's friendly on Saturday:
"I did watch the game on TV.  I thought Poland did a great job considering they had to get over the travel, getting here. I know they haven't been in Korea that long and I think, given the travel and what have you, they did a good job. I realize, obviously, that they didn't play their full team together, but I thought Poland was very good. We've watched Poland previously so we have a pretty good feel for what their team is about."

On how the team is getting acclimated to the time change:
"They are getting there.  Today is obviously the best they've felt since we've been here, and we realize that it will take us more than a couple of days but I think each and every day our players have made progress."

On why the team is training in the evening today:
"We just want to get used to the conditions in the late afternoon because we are playing Portugal at 6 p.m."

On the team's chances against Portugal:
"I believe we are optimistic, we look forward to the game on June 5 against Portugal. It has been a long haul getting to the World Cup, but I think the American team has waited for this moment since France and this is a great opportunity for us to show the world that we can be a good team. Therefore we've worked very hard to get here. We had a good camp, we've prepared well, and I think by June 5 we'll place a pretty good team on the field and we're optimistic about our chances."

On if he saw the China-Portugal match, and what were his thoughts:
"We do realize that Portugal probably played the first half with much of their second team and then changed at halftime and brought in many of their regulars. Again, all of these friendly games leading up to the Cup over the last week have really been practice games for each team. Most countries have the opportunity to look at their full roster and I think that is what Portugal did against China. Having said that, they were the dominant team in that game, regardless of who they used. They were very impressive."

On how he thinks young players like Landon Donovan and DaMarcus Beasley will contribute to the team at the World Cup:
"When we talk about Landon and DaMarcus we don’t even look at their ages. We look at those two as members of our 23-man roster.  We're not concerned about their age; if we were, they would not be on our roster. So we expect them to be able to contribute during this World Cup. We think they are both very good players, and they belong here."

On the team's training schedule in Korea:
“I think we are doing enough training in preparation for the World Cup. I don't anticipate us increasing the schedule, as we get closer to the game we will lighten up our workload. I don't think the time from our last game, which was Holland on May 19, to June 5 will be a problem. We have enough players in training to play 11 v. 11, and I anticipate that by the time June 5 comes around our team will be ready to play and ready to play well."

TONY MEOLA - U.S. goalkeeper

On if the security has been a distraction:
"We are certainly aware of the security.  We were aware that it was going to be this way prior to coming over, and obviously it is better to be safe than sorry.  So far it has not been much of a distraction, like Earnie said, and we don't think it will be. The hotel has been great, we've been able to go out. We took a trip the other day to Itaewan, and there were certainly no problems whatsoever."

On the World Cup and what type of press coverage it will receive in the U.S.:
"I think it is going to get great exposure, certainly 1994 was the start of really the new generation of our sport and it has continued to grow each and every year since that World Cup, and the one thing that we are going to be measured on in America is our success. American fans have been blessed with winners in every single sport. We live for that in our country, and certainly our success is going to have a lot to do with how much exposure we get over the next month."

On the status of soccer in the U.S.:
"The other major sports in our country, you look at the footballs and the hockeys, they've got a hundred years of tradition behind them, and certainly we aren't at that level yet. You look at Major League Soccer, this is our seventh year now, we are probably a lot further along in our seventh year than they were in their seventh year. The thing that I've been pretty optimistic about it is that it has grown each year – we haven't seen a decline. Hopefully that trend will continue and the sport will be there one day."

On his free time in Korea and how he has spent it:
"As I said earlier, we took a trip to Itaewon that's really the only place outside the hotel. We've spent a lot of time in the sauna over here and the gym, we've only been here a couple of days, so we are still trying to get adjusted." 

EARNIE STEWART - U.S. midfielder

On if the security has been a distraction:
"No it hasn't been a distraction at all. They are along the sidelines and everything, but it has been like that for a couple of months now in all the games that we've played. It hasn't interrupted anything we are doing right now over here."

On what he thinks of the Korean team:
"I saw them play against France and they have a very good team, and if you can keep France to scoring the game-winner until the 89th minute, then you have a good team. They have a coach I've known for a long while in Guus Hiddink, and he's a very respected man in Holland, and he's done a great job with Korea. We are just looking forward to getting to the first game and trying to do well in that one, and then move on to what is obviously going to be a very difficult match against a home side. I don't know what to expect, I've never played against them. They are an overall good team, and we have our work cut out for us."

On the Portugal game and his prediction on Korea's finish in the World Cup:
"I think Portugal is probably the favorite in our group and they have great players with Rui Costa, Luis Figo, you can name them all. They qualified in a group that featured the country where I play. They beat them once and tied them the second time. They have an overall good team. That is probably one of the easiest games we play, though, because they are the favorites, we are the underdogs and anything can happen from there. On South Korea, I guess they have a chance to go to the second round too, but I hope we do. We have a chance to go to the second round because that is where we want to go and anything can happen from there. We wish them all the best luck, but we would like to do better than they do."

On if the U.S. team hopes to equal the 1930 team and advance to the semifinals:
"I don't even remember who they played. That would be tremendous. We would be happy with that. In all honesty we want to make the second round, and anything after that, it is the knock-out round and anything can happen from there. That is the most important thing. We have to focus on the first game coming up and not think about what we could do in the future."

On his free time in Korea and how he has spent it:
"I didn’t go to Itaewon (like Tony Meola), I went to the mall right next door. Apart from that, I spend a lot of time on the computer, and I go to the gym and almost every night I go to the sauna.  We have great facilities here, and I've been enjoying them enormously."