Having come onto the international scene with the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team in 1998, Nick Rimando still finds himself getting call-ups to the senior team nearly 20 years later. The veteran goalkeeper invited ussoccer.com along to document a day in his life leading up to Friday’s decisive World Cup Qualifier against Panama.
The morning usually starts with a little breakfast and then I go to pick up my gear for training.
Getting ready for the game, you’ve got to make sure you have the right equipment and like they always do, Nike came through with some nice fresh boots for me. Here I am picking them up from Equipment Manager, Jesse Bignami.
Getting to the training field, sometimes I look around and take it all in. It’s special for me to still be here. I’ve been through numerous coaches that have led this national team to different World Cups and to still be involved I think is a testament to the consistency of my play over the years.
It’s special to think about all the guys I’ve had the opportunity to play with – a lot of familiar faces, a lot of friends who have been through this journey with me. Tim Howard in particular has been through a lot of these camps with me going all the way back to our youth.
That’s one side of the coin, but as I’ve stayed around, I’ve made a lot of new friends who are going to be wearing the crest for a long time to come.
Obviously, most of my work at training is with Tim and Brad Guzan. I think the three of us have a tremendous amount of respect for each other. We have good banter on the field, we’re all friends off the field. Tim and Brad are two guys that I respect tremendously and we have a good time going about our business, working with each other, supporting one another. I think it’s very important that you push each other, make each other better, but you’re also comfortable with the group. We have a good time when we’re training and it makes coming in for the national team more enjoyable.
If you see me on and off the field, you’ll see I usually have a smile on my face. I have a lot of passion for this sport and wearing this crest is something to smile about. If you know my personality, you’ll know why I have this smile on my face.
I like to have a good laugh, but when things get serious, it’s about putting in the work. There’s been a true focus on the task at hand for everyone in training this week.
After training, I get back and shower up (NO CAMERAS HERE!) and then lunch is ready for us. Of course, I’m trying to stay healthy with a salad.
While eating healthy is one part of the equation, you also have to make sure to take care of other things. Making sure your mind and body are right is important. Here I am in the treatment room, working on my legs and trying to relax a little bit as I get ready for the big game on Friday.
After that, it’s time to take a closer look at our opponent on Friday and I’m fortunate to have someone I’ve known for a long time working with me in our goalkeeping coach Matt Reis. We have a good relationship that goes all the way back to our days at UCLA when I was a freshman and he was a senior. We’ve been friends ever since and now that he’s in his role, we have a great working relationship because we know each other so well.
Here, we’re looking at tendencies of the Panama attackers – who's better with their right foot, their left foot and ways they attack.
After the homework is done, I get a little personal time, which I spend with my kids the best way I can: Facetime. I’m away a lot, especially when I get called for the National Team, and through technology I know what’s going on with their lives. If they’re having a bad day, they know they’re a phone call away.
I try to chat with them every day, but gamedays are usually the best. My son is more ecstatic about soccer, so he always calls on gameday, wishes me luck and somehow always knows more about the team we’re playing than I do. I think of it as additional scout work on top of what I just did with Matt. He’s really into it, so I enjoy getting the game day FaceTimes and then after the game as well, to see what he thinks and to critique my performance after every match.
Thanks for spending the day with me. I'm looking forward to being part of the group and seeing the fantastic support from our fans for Friday's big qualifier vs. Panama.