OFF THE BALL, a chronicle of the U.S. Men's National Team and their journey through the 2003 CONCACAF Gold Cup as seen from the unique perspective of U.S. defender and SoCal native Carlos Bocanegra.
I. The Playing Field
What up? Sorry about the long lay off. We have been having some technical difficulties over here, none of which I could understand, much less explain. Well, lets catch up a little. The other night we got a good result against El Salvador. It was a great atmoshpere; unfortunately, it was "pro them" but whatever. We still kicked their ass. I thought all of the guys worked hard for each other, and even though we didn't play so well, the effort from everyone was good. I thought our passing and cohesivenesss wasn't as good as we would have liked, but we got the 'W' and that's all that matters in the end. Happy for Eddie Lou, who got a nice goal to celebrate his 50th cap. Bruce was pleased with our performance as well. Of course, he showed us a bunch of tape on what we could have done better, but he said he was happy with the result. After the game we got home pretty late, so we just chilled.
We had an easy practice yesterday, basically just a long warm up so we could get the El Salvador game out of our legs. Mooch re-introuduced 'the weave' and some interesting other drills as a part of the running. Tonight we play Martinique, who are going to be more athletic than El Salvador, but we should be able to handle them. Bruce gave us a little extra incentive by telling us that six points equals Tuesday off for the boys.
II. Cross Culture/Counter Culture
I guess Bruce is starting to read these articles because he was inquiring about my college experience after lunch today. He was asking me if I really wrote the articles, or if someone else was and I was taking the credit. I told him that I write them, and our P.R. man Michael Kammarman edits my spelling and gramatical errors (good thing he does, or the whole thing would be one long paragraph with words no one has ever heard of). I thought it was funny that it was his way of telling me he reads them.
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's participant is Claudio Reyna, otherwise known as Captain America. Claudio is married to Danielle, a former national teamer herself, and they have two sons, Jack and Giovanni. Claud played at UVa under Bruce (like half the team), and has been the USA's man in Europe for years. He's so damn big-time he gets this section all to himself.
1. Traveling all over the world, what countries' women do it for you?
Claudio: Sweden and Argentina. Elaborating wouldn't be a great idea.
2. Who is your favorite athlete to watch in a sport other than soccer?
Claudio: Tiger Woods, because he's so dominant.
3. Tell us about your most romantic date (yes, he's had one). Also, how do you serenade the ladies?
Claudio: On my honeymoon, my wife and I went to Bali and stayed at the Four Seasons. It was really the first time that we splurged on ourselves. We had our own pool, and the dinner that night was amazing. I'm not positive, but I think that was the night Jack was conceived.
4. What three people in history would you invite to dinner?
Claudio: Christy Turlington, Muhammed Ali, and Diego Maradona - just to see what he's up to.
Sidenote: One of Danny Califf's answers was "left off" in the first edition of the journal. Unfortunately, the [CENSORED] people at U.S. Soccer wouldn't let me use the name of a certain rocky mountain beer. Danny would invite Pete [CENSORED] and his twin daughters to dinner, because he likes [CENSORED] and he likes his daughters.
IV. Quote of the Day
"Since I was shooting with my right foot, it was either going to go in the corner or the 30th row. Fortunately it was in the corner.""
--Eddie Lewis, describing the goal he scored with his right peg
Just like that, it's game time again. Here's hoping tomorrow is a day off ...