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Quote Sheet: Arena, Wolff, Beasley


Bruce Arena
U.S. Head Coach

On playing Costa Rica in a mixed training session on Thursday…
“Naturally they are a team from our region, and we have a friendly relationship.  It benefits both teams to be able to play 11 against 11 in preparation for their opening game.  It has nothing to do with the style of our opponent.”

On the team’s possible visit to the DMZ …
“We visited the DMZ in December when we came for the friendly, and we had a wonderful experience there.  We very much appreciate our troops being here.  We very much appreciate the Korean troops, as well, defending the 38th parallel. We just wanted, in particular with our troops, to make a visit and thank them for what they do to protect our freedom.”
 
On plans for the trip to the DMZ …
“We have not finalized the plans yet for the visit to the DMZ.  It is going to be optional for our players.  Some have expressed a desire to visit - if we can work that out it would be great.  Others will use the day off to golf, to shop, to do whatever they would like to do.”

On how the U.S. gathers information on their opponents … “What we do when gathering information is really no different than what anyone else does.  We scout in person, we watch videos and make observations about the strengths and weaknesses about each opponent.  We aren’t doing anything any different than any other association.”

On what the U.S. has seen scouting Portugal …
“Obviously when you observe a team of Portugal’s quality, you aren’t going to see too many weaknesses.  There are a lot of strengths.  We are well aware that.  Obviously we will prepare our team accordingly.  They have a great team, and I know they have aspirations of winning this World Cup and it will be interesting to see.”

On the Korean media's surprise that the U.S. had traveled to Korea with a portable free kick wall supplied by Kwik Goal …
“I think every team has players who practice free kicks.  Is that a surprise to anyone? (laughter)  You can practice it with a wall or without a wall. If you practice with a wall the decision is do you put your players there, or do you use the wall that you’ve seen out at the practice facility.  It is always difficult to find 4-5 people to volunteer to stand in front of people shooting a ball at them, so we use a practice wall when we practice free kicks.”

On the U.S. team’s mix of experience and youth on this team and what it means for the present and futue …
“I think we have a nice balance on this squad.  We have a bunch of veterans who have been to World Cups before and hopefully that is going to mean something.  We have a number of players who were a part of the 1990 World Cup – Tony Meola, Kasey Keller Keller.  Plenty of our players here were on the roster in ’94, as well as in ’98, so we do have the experiences of the World Cup.  At the same time we have some fantastic young players, not only DaMarcus Beasley and Landon Donovan, but others that are ready to emerge and be part of the next group that will attempt to qualify for the 2006 World Cup. So I think having said that, it speaks well to the future of the game in the United States.  We’re still behind the powers, but I think we’re making progress… We need to be patient, but we’re moving forward and we’re hopeful that we can demonstrate in this World Cup that we have a good team, and we are making progress.”

On only having one practice a day …
“If your definition of a liberal coach is giving players time off then I guess I’m a liberal coach.  Our players have trained very hard since May 1.  I find humor in comments that we’ve been lax in our training.  We don’t believe you train twice a day when you’ve been playing for the last 10 months.  We’d rather have our players have something in reserve as we start this World Cup.  It has been a very difficult road, especially for some of our European players, and training twice a day would be counterproductive.”

On how he thinks the other CONCACAF teams will do in the first round …
“I think our counterparts in CONCACAF are very good teams. I think the Mexico team is in a tough group with the Italians, but can certainly advance out of that group.  Same with Costa Rica.  Costa Rica was the top team in (CONCACAF) qualifying, and they are a very solid team at every position, and I think, like every team in this tournament, they are capable of qualifying (for the second round).  They’ve got a lot of quality players and a lot of experience, so I would not be surprised if both Mexico and Costa Rica both advanced.”

On where and how he will play DaMarcus Beasley …
“At this point in time we haven’t determined how we will be using DaMarcus, but certainly he has proven that he has been an outstanding player coming in the second half and helping change the game and make things happen as he did against the Koreans in January.  Also he has shown well as of late as a player who can play for 90 minutes, so we have those two options obviously with DaMarcus, and at this point in time we haven’t decided how we will utilize his skills at this World Cup.”
 

Josh Wolff
U.S. forward

On the three first round matches ….
“Dealing with Portugal, they are a very capable team.  They’ve got great results the past couple of years, and they’ve got very talented players and it is going to be a game where we are going to have to be at our best - all 11 players and down to our reserves. South Korea is a team that brings a lot of enthusiasm to the game.  They’re very technically skilled and gifted in all areas.  They proved it the other day against France.  We are certainly going to have our hands full, but over 90 minutes it should be a challenge.  Poland, you never know what you are going to get in the third game.  It kind of depends on the how the tournament goes for all teams - another challenge in itself.  They are a good, strong team, and they have a very good forward we are going to focus on.  We have faith in our own team and look to do some good things in the first round.”
 

On how he began his soccer career …
“Growing up soccer was part of my life. I had family, and that was just the route I was brought up.  Being in the south (Wolff grew up in Georgia) soccer was not so prevalent, but in some places it was getting better.  Making Youth National Teams encouraged my progress as a player and fortunately I’ve arrived here with the National Team at the World Cup.  Obviously there are dreams of every player if they could play in Europe one day.  There is certainly time there for that to happen.  But obviously we are a little more focused on what we have today and in the present.  Three tough games in the first round, and we are optimistic about what we can do.  But all-in-all it is going to be a pretty good challenge.”
 

On how he became serious in soccer …
“In that aspect, I’d say pretty similar to DaMarcus (Beasley).  I had two older brothers that I looked up to very much and one of the reasons I got into the game was that they were always around the ball, always going to indoor facilities, always playing the game.  I was fortunate enough to have those two older brothers to drive my love for the game and passion.  That has carried me to this point and hopefully some good things will happen from there.”

On a message of peace coming from the World Cup …
“When we have big events like this, the message is obviously on the world scale.  It was very tragic what happened on September 11. There has obviously been a lot of work put into the security here, and you have to compliment Korea and Japan on doing that.  There’s no real message of peace, just the idea that you would have in any occasion like this.  Just to make sure that things are secure, that there’s quality soccer, that the atmosphere is right, that people have a good time, but all in good health.  I don’t know that there is a message of peace coming from the World Cup - other than that.”
 

DaMarcus Beasley
U.S. midfielder

On the USA’s three first round opponents …
“Every different team has different character, but I think every game is going to be tough.  We’re playing Portugal, one of the best teams in Europe.  With Korea, they have a lot of organization in the back, they’ve been playing well together – it’s going to be tough playing them at home.  And with Poland they are big, they are strong, and they can fight.  They are three strong opponents.  We just have to play our game, concentrate for 90 minutes and do the things that we can do right.”

On how his family effected his soccer career …
“Basically my family isn’t too different from Wolfie’s (Josh Wolff).  My family wasn’t into soccer at all.  My dad played basketball and football all through high school and college.  Basically the story is that my dad brought home a soccer ball one day for my brother.  I was three or four-years-old, and we started playing.  As a younger brother I just did whatever my older brother did.  He started playing and I did the same thing.  I have no family background of playing soccer at all, no relatives, no uncles, not aunts.  Soccer was just a God-given talent, and I love playing it. It is my passion.”

On playing Korea again, after beating them in Janauary, where Beasley scored the winner …
“I expect that they will work hard and try to play their game.  It’s going to be, like Josh (Wolff) said, a tough game.  They are at home.  They’re a very technical team from the defenders to the forwards.  We expect to get a good result against them, but at the same time it is going to be a good, hard, fast game for 90 minutes.  It is going to be a fun game to play, and we are all looking forward to it.”

On being the lightest player at the World Cup …
“I don’t think that’s a problem at all for me.  I‘ve played against bigger and stronger guys my whole life.  Like you said, I’m the lightest guy on every single team I’ve played on or played against, and it hasn’t bothered me one bit.  I just use what I have.  My speed lets me get around defenders and get around tackles.”

 


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