Friday, September 4, 2009

USMNT –vs- El Salvador Practice

DSC_0184 I finally managed to make it to the USMNT practice.  As has been mentioned in other venues, US Soccer is all business when it comes to access – from watching practice, player availability and taking photos.  However, I did get permission to snap a few photos, but from clear on the other side of the field.

Here are a few observations from the practice, and interviews:

  • I managed to talk to Arturo Alvarez.  The guy seems extremely down-to-earth and easy to talk to.  He also seemed extremely interested in helping the El Salvador team to build a program.  I believe he mentioned that his mother is Salvadoran and that he is proud to represent her homeland.
  • Landon Donovan says it like it is.  He mentioned that this is a game that the US should easily win on paper, but that the team has struggled too often in those situations to overlook this one.
  • Bob Bradley doesn’t give you much of a sound byte.  He talked about the yellow card carry over’s from 2 years ago, about Rio Tinto being a great venue and about Alvarez being a good addition to the El Salvador team.
  • Donovan was asked about the local soccer crowd, and remembered the Costa Rica match at Rice Eccles.  He mentioned the crowd at that match really stood out to him during the last hexagonal and he expects a similar quality crowd tomorrow night.

I stayed around for the brief glimpse that we got of the El Salvador team.  Other than the Coach being interviewed by a Spanish station, I was the only one to interview a player, and as mentioned above I enjoyed my discussion with Alvarez.  However, there was a small (30-40 people) Salvadoran contingent waiting by the bus, and they were very vocal and energetic for their national team. Every player was accommodating with signing autographs and posing for pictures.  It caused me to remember the atmosphere that the Costa Rican fans created in 2005.  I can’t wait to witness this in it’s entirety tomorrow night.

DSC_0185 Jozy1   Jozy2 Holden Juggling Davies Becks_Findley    Donovan chillin

Gooch Dempsey