Quote Sheet: Players Discuss Being Named to the MNT 2014 FIFA World Cup Roster

U.S. players discuss being named to the U.S. MNT FIFA World Cup roster.

U.S. Men’s National Team forward CHRIS WONDOLOWSKI
On making the 2014 FIFA World Cup team:
“I think my attitude and worth ethic played a role and I do think my form has been good lately. I feel confident out there, feel like I’ve been gelling with a lot of the guys and feel like I can bring something to this team. A lot of hard work went into making the 23, but to be honest my work isn’t done yet. I want to push guys, push the starters and I want to be a starter. I want to get time, get minutes and my focus is trying to help the team any way I can. We have faith in these 23 guys.”

U.S. Men’s National Team goalkeeper TIM HOWARD
On Jurgen Klinsmann’s leadership of the Men’s National Team:
“Since Jurgen was hired we’ve trusted in his decision making and his opinion on what he thinks is best for the team. He obviously has a vision for his team that he thinks is a winning one and we believe in that.”

On the makeup of the squad:
“The one thing I like most is that we’re young. In 2010 we were an older team and that had been there before and that experience was important. But with youth comes not being scared in big moments and [the young players] are rearing to go. There’s no apprehension and that’s a positive. You have a lot of guys who want to do big things on a world stage. We’ve got enough experience that the older guys can carry the group but that youth is refreshing.”

On the defense and communication on the field:
“We try to communicate and talk as much as we can. We’ve had training games and we’ve tried to work on spacing and communication. I remind guys what I think is important: staying connected, staying compacted. As an older player you have to keep on talking.”

U.S. Men’s National Team forward CLINT DEMPSEY
On making the 2014 FIFA World Cup squad:
“Any time you can make the team that goes to a World Cup, it’s always a dream come true. It’s what I used to pray about as a little kid. I’ve gotten to play in two and now I have an opportunity to play in three. I’m blessed.”

On the team’s progress:
“The team is looking good. If you look back at 2013, it was one of our most successful years as a team. We’re looking good in training and working really hard. We’re looking forward to the Send Off games, trying to get even more sharp to make sure we hit the ground running in Brazil.”

On the pressure to perform in Brazil:
“There’s always pressure no matter what World Cup you’re in. You always have to be performing. We’re excited by the 23 that are here and now we can push forward. We look forward to that chance of trying to do something special in Brazil. We’re focused on going down there and doing well in order to move things forward. You do that by doing well in major competitions.”

U.S. Men’s National Team midfielder JERMAINE JONES
On making the U.S. MNT World Cup roster:
“It’s my first World Cup. The last World Cup in 2010, I was injured. Normally, I think I would go. So, yeah, I’m happy that I’ll be one of the 23 to go to the World Cup.”

On how far he’s come playing for the United States and how far there is still to go:
“I think my first game was three years ago and it’s always been my dream to go one day to the World Cup. In 2010, I was close to going but I was injured. I was working hard to go this time to the World Cup. We’ll play in a great country, Brazil, a great football country. I think it will be a nice World Cup for everybody.”

On whether he feels like an example for the other players:
“If I come in, I always try my best. I try to be fit. That’s my normal. When I go on the pitch or I’m in training, I try always to train 100 percent. This is what I learned in Germany, the discipline. I’m happy that [Klinsmann] gives me trust and he has my back and pushes me always.”

On playing against Ghana and playing against former Schalke teammate, Prince Boateng:
“It’s funny for me that I play against a friend. It’s a game, like the other two, like Portugal and Germany. I think the Germany game will be a more special game for a lot of players from this team, the coach, too. But yeah, we always think about the games now but I think we just wait until we’re on the pitch and the games start and we try to win these games, depending on which teams we play.”

On the MLS players:
“I don’t know what you can say about the MLS guys, I mean, they never give up. It’s a hard fight to come to this roster but all the guys that are going now to the World Cup have a reason for going. They train good, they play good with their MLS teams and they have a good focus. I hope that we will play a good World Cup. We have a good mixed group with the German-Americans, the players from MLS, from England, this is a good group and I hope we have a good World Cup.”

U.S. Men’s National Team midfielder BRAD DAVIS
On whether he has been surprised with the growth of MLS and soccer in the United States:
“No, not at all. It’s a big country, a lot of people. We always knew there was a lot of support in our country, it just needed to be brought out. Now that we’re in a bunch of different markets, the league is expanding, we now have youth academies and club ties and affiliates with MLS teams in different cities and things like that. It was only a matter of time. Every kid in the U.S., I think, plays soccer at some point when they’re little. Back in the day they just had to move on because there was no professional league but now they have something to aspire to, they can go to stadiums, they can see the players, they get excited. For me, it’s not surprising at all to see the growth of soccer in the U.S.”

On his friendship with Chris Wondolowski and sharing the experience of going to a World Cup with him:
“It’s going to be an honor. I know Chris has worked oh so hard for this opportunity. If you look at where he has come from, we were playing on the Dynamo together and he wasn’t even starting for our team or really getting an opportunity there and just the change of environment, how he has excelled, how he has kept his mind into it. He’s always been a winner and he’s always worked extremely hard and for us to be sitting here with this opportunity…there was a big hug yesterday for sure. There was a lot of emotion yesterday for both of our families.”

On whether the idea of playing in a World Cup together ever came up:
“It did. I can’t tell how serious we were about it but with the mindset that both of us have, we both wanted it, I’ll tell you that. That’s 100 percent serious. We both wanted it but you never know. For me, you look back at my story, I truly thought my National Team opportunity was over a few years ago. Then I got the opportunity to go into January camp and told myself I was going to make the most of it and thankfully I’m standing here today. We definitely talked about it. We knew it was going to be unbelievably hard, a lot hard work put in but it kind of proves, don’t ever shut the door on your dream.”