It wouldn’t be Los Angeles without a bit of show business. While Hollywood stars and starlets enjoy the leisure of Hollywood Hills, 22 miles south, the U.S. Men’s National Team’s work on the fields in Carson, California, has been far from glamorous.
Still, in anticipation of FOX Sports broadcasting of the Jan. 28 match against Chile, the U.S. MNT opened the doors between trainings at StubHub Center to grant all-access to the national media. With some of the most recognizable names in American soccer coverage in attendance, we overheard everything from FOX’s Rob Stone asking Jermaine Jones about house parties with Leonardo DiCaprio to ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle going in-depth about tactical adjustments with Jozy Altidore.
With the players fielding the questions all day, we decided to flip the script on some of these reporters to get the scoop on what they gleaned from an afternoon of all-access with the U.S. MNT.
Striker Jozy Altidore holds court with the national media.
Grant Wahl of Sports Illustrated and FOX:
“Because this January camp is the closest thing we’ve seen to an “A” squad in January camp – well, ever – there’s more public interest in what’s going on, and also a little bit because the U-23s are here and you never know who may come out of that. As interest grows every year in this U.S. National Team, especially after a World Cup year, it’s nice to be able to come out and get to talk to guys, catch up a little bit, and find out what might be going on that’s new like a three-man back line being experimented with. MLS is having its media day this morning, so I did a lot of stuff with that, and it’s always good if you’re having to spend a lot of money traveling around the country to kind of have a one-stop shopping type situation where we banged out a bunch of interviews this morning with MLS guys, came straight over here to talk with the National Team guys, and then I’ll even do some U.S. women’s stuff and they’re here, too. L.A. is kind of the center of the U.S. soccer universe right now.” - @GrantWahl
Fresh off of a move from Sunderland to Toronto FC, Jozy Altidore fields questions about his journey.
Jeff Carlisle of ESPN:
“I think the fact that they’re experimenting with a three-man back line, to me is really interesting. You hate to pigeonhole the U.S. National Team into a certain style, but they’ve always seemed to excel out of a 4-4-2. Guys just seem more comfortable in that starting formation. Especially Jozy seems more comfortable with a forward next to him. The other thing that kind of strikes me is I haven’t always been sure the U.S. had the depth needed defensively with guys being able to play the ball out of the back. Now they have guys like [Jermaine] Jones; [Matt] Besler is very good on the ball, [Geoff] Cameron is good on the ball. It’s probably no accident that two of those guys have spent a lot of time in midfield in their careers, so to me that’s kind of an interesting experiment that’s going on right now.” - @JeffreyCarlisle
Clint Dempsey fielding a round-table of questions in the Champions Lounge at StubHub Center.
Doug McIntyre of ESPN:
“To talk to so many of the key members of the National Team – I mean all these guys were starters at the World Cup – is not an opportunity you get all the time, so it’s always interesting to catch up with guys that you haven’t spoken with in a while. Jozy just arrived in camp so it was good to talk with him about how the whole process from Sunderland to Toronto FC went down. Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley are always intense guys to talk to but they always have insightful things to say. The thing from Clint I thought was interesting was how focused he is on playing in that Copa America tournament. I asked him if he had thought about maybe playing in the Olympics and he was pretty adamant that the Olympics are a nice tournament, but that he’s always watched Copa America and that’s the tournament that he wants to play in. You always get something when you’re talking with these guys.” - @DougMacESPN
FOX’s Rob Stone and Jurgen Klinsmann share a laugh off-camera.
Jennifer Pransky of FOX Sports:
“Any chance we get to come out and shoot an interview with the U.S. Men’s National Team is a great one. FOX Sports has obviously upped the ante on all of our soccer coverage and this is one of the biggest properties. With the Women’s World Cup coming up and having some Men’s National Team events, as well, leading up to the Gold Cup coming up in July, it’s an amazing opportunity to put all of that together in front of the huge audiences that we’re going to be bringing in for it. Coming out here and being able to talk to Jurgen, the players, and today profiling Jermaine Jones, it just helps us show the audience why soccer is so great.” - @PranskyJ
FOX producer Jennifer Pransky makes sure she’s got just the right shot for the U.S. MNT shoot.
To see the full features and watch the U.S. MNT in action, tune into FOX Sports 1 on Wednesday, Jan. 28, at 6 p.m. ET.