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Archive for May, 2009

After each interview I am going to try to post some of the more interesting points or expanded responses that didn’t fit or flow with the article, along with my personal thoughts of the player. Here they are from the Marcus Tracy interview this article is based upon. Phone interview took place on 5/8 and was followed by a series of emails….

My Thoughts…

Personally, Marcus was a pleasure to talk with and was enthusiastic about sharing his thoughts about the Champions League and his preference for FCBarcelona. His level of humility was refreshing as he never once sounded entitled to anything.

He was very honest about his game, both what he thought he excelled at and his need/desire to continue to improve in order to play at a higher level. While his first season has been a mix of almost instant success and injury setbacks, if his health doesn’t desert him, I expect him to establish himself further next season.

His place within the US system is virtually non-existent at this point but the sheer athletic ability contained in a front line of him and Jozy Altidore would be enough to make any international back line at least a little nervous. Brian Ching does a good enough job playing up there against CONCACAF competition but he is by no means a world class striker, and I would be surprised if he doesn’t struggle against teams like Brazil and Italy in a few weeks.

Yes, making predictions based on athletic ability and potential so often leads to bad decisions in American sports (see NBA draft…Marvin Williams, Kwame Brown, Adam Morrison, Andrew Bogut, Martell Webster, Greg Oden etc etc etc). However, Tracy has shown quickly adapted his game from the low amateur level of the NCAA to the highly professional atmosphere in Europe.

While its not at all realistic to include him in the squad for upcoming qualifiers or the Confederations Cup, it would at least be nice to see him get a shot with the team in the Gold Cup this summer; that is if Bob Bradley (BB) uses it as an oppt to test some players who aren’t USMNT fixtures or regulars.

SOCCER RELATED BITS

When asked about who he admires as a club and players, his response was focused on FCBarcelona and their current star studed lineup (All relayed prior to their CL triumph so no crying bandwagon jumper)

“Like Messi, Henry can do many things simply on his own on the wing, and this creates a lot of problems for opposing defenses. Iniesta is an incredible player and did very well playing out on the wing in Henry’s absense, but I think both he and Barca benefit more when he plays centrally w/ Xavi. Having Iniesta central gives them an entirely different look, and in order for Iniesta to play central, Henry needs to be on the pitch. Keita does well in the middle once Iniesta moves out wide, but (no offense) he simply isn’t Iniesta. Also Henry’s strength size and speed make him a different and unique player for Barca. I admire Lionel Messi the most of any footballer in the world. He is very shifty and has incredible speed, quickness, ball control, and creativity and I think he is a very honest player as well. He works hard and plays through the challenges and everything else that comes w/ being a player of his caliber.”

On other Americans playing in Denmark…

“I talked to [Michael] Parkhurst after we played [FC] Nordsjaelland….spoke to him briefly in the tunnel, actually went to Wake Forest before me. That was the first time I met him and spoke to him which was good. Jeremiah White is at AGF, he went to Wake Forest as well, I haven’t spoken to him yet. Then there’s Danny Califf who used to play at Aalborg, before I got here. [note….He moved to FC Midtjylland last summer after a new contract could not be agreed on] He was actually captain here, and I exchanged text messages with him. There hasn’t been too much contact but I have spoken to some people.”

RANDOM, NON-SOCCER, BITS

One of my personal favorite quotes, mentioned when we were discussing choosing Soccer over Basketball…

“I haven’t played basketball in years but I’m still pretty sure I’d be a way above average ‘pick up’ hoopster, ha”

On the transition to life in Denmark…

“Everyone here speaks perfect English so language has never been a problem. The hardest thing for me actually was the car, a 2007 Peugeot, that [Aalborg] gave me was manual and in the US I’ve never driven manual, I’ve never taken the time to learn it. So it was a nice learning experience, breaking down in the street sometimes.”

Any surprising iPod selections?

“…a little Celine Dione and also some old Disney Movie tracks.”

Favorite/Least Favorite things about Denmark?

“My least favorite thing about Denmark is that the shops close around 5-5:30pm. It always catches me off guard if I want to go run and buy something quickly. It seems very inconvenient at times, but I’m adjusting. My favorite thing about Denmark is how well maintained every area seems. I’m sure there are some ‘slums’ around but everything, including infrastructures, are in very good condition and I believe it’s due to the gov’t system here. So the country is quite beautiful.”

On being an American living abroad…

“I haven’t experienced any sort of negative sentiment at all.”

“When I got here, [Obama] was one of the common topics of conversation. I didn’t really know a lot of people, and when we were trying to get to know one another, that’s what we talked about…Obama and what I thought about him, and how they were so excited about it for the US and the rest of the world.”

Asked if he agreed….

“Yea, I agree. I am not too into politics but it’s good for America’s image.”

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First

As (no longer) explained in the header, this is being started as a venue for me to publish outtakes and extra material from interviews done on behalf of Goal.com. If I feel ambitious and selfish enough, I might expand into some personal opinion on the global soccer world.

In order of priority; the US Men’s National Team, FC Barcelona, Champions League, Premier League (due to the coverage of FSC), and Juventus. That doesn’t mean I won’t touch on other things….

A few rules of engagement….Soccer is Soccer in the US and most of my writing but I am reserving the right to use terms such as Footballer and Footballing etc due to the lack of “American” idioms relating to the sport (Soccerer? Soccering?). I don’t fancy myself European, it just makes my life easier. That’s the only rule actually.

I Fischi is Italian for “The Whistles.” A reference to the European tradition of whistling in response to bad refereeing decisions or poor play on the field. My introduction to soccer was from Dominick Evangelista, my first ever coach, so it is also an homage to him and my resulting vague and very loose Italian-American soccer heritage. Additionally, my introduction to “i fischi” was at the US Open in Flushing Meadows and I was pleased to find out it was a broader practice. Finally, and probably most importantly, you would be amazed at how few options there are for blog titles on blogspot.com, so after way too much effort, this is what I came up with.

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