Archive for the ‘Interviews’ Category

Chad Marshall, Still On The Mend, Talks To TSG

Marshall could be manning the back line for the USMNT come June 12.

Upon listening to the recording of TSG’s interview with Chad Marshall, a voice can be heard at its conclusion in the background.

“That’s more than you normally get.”

This is followed by another voice saying, “C’mon Chad, one-word answers.”

Marshall may let his play primarily do the talking en route to 2 MLS Defender of the Year awards and 1 MLS Cup, but he did have a few interesting things to say to TSG last week at USMNT training camp at the Home Depot Center.

The defensive stalwart for the Crew is still recovering from a September knee injury that sidelined him for the last round of World Cup qualifying and the European friendlies in November, but is happy with his progress.

“I wouldn’t say it’s 100%,” said Marshall last Wednesday following practice, “but I am able to train. It was rough being out for so long, so getting things back, it’s been a process. But I’m getting through training, so it’s alright.”

Unfortunately for the #2 overall pick in the 2004 MLS SuperDraft, this isn’t his first time dealing with injuries. Marshall had a run of concussions earlier in his MLS career that nearly forced him off the pitch for good.

Coming back from the brink of forced retirement changed Marshall’s outlook on the game.

Said Marshall, “You definitely appreciate the game more…It sucks being up in the box watching games.” This mentality has helped Marshall get through training on his way back to fitness which at times has been “daunting.”

Marshall’s deeper appreciation for soccer has led to tremendous success on the pitch, but the winner of  back-to-back Defender of the Year awards in MLS (as well as a shout-out from President Obama on the Crew’s trip to the White House) is all about the team.

Chad Marshall's 2008 included scoring the eventual game winner in the MLS Cup.

When asked about his goals for 2010 outside of the World Cup, Marshall said, “The main goal always…going into every season is to make the playoffs and make a run for MLS Cup. 2008…was the best year of my career and it all came down…to as a team winning it. The individual awards…are great and stuff, you know, tell the grandkids later on in life, but…it’s nice having those rings.”

If it was up to Marshall team success would extend beyond the Crew and USMNT. Despite a tryout with FSV Mainz 05 in Bundesliga 2 at the end of 2008, Marshall signed a multi-year deal to return to Columbus. However, he still harbors aspirations of heading over to Europe.

“I’d like to go over there, you know, for at least for a contract…to experience that,” said Marshall, “I think MLS has come a long way, but…the best football in the world obviously is still over there….if, you know, I don’t get a chance to go over there I won’t be mad that I spent my whole career in MLS.”

One thing about the 6’4″ central defenders game that surprises people is his quickness; something this writer knows little about. Marshall attributes his unique size-to-speed ratio to combination of natural talent and training. Said Marshall, “I think it is something that our trainers in Columbus have done a really good job helping guys with quickness, working on…different forms of running. It’s a credit to them, but…I kind of got blessed with it, I guess.”

As one of the Best XI in MLS the past two seasons, Marshall is clearly at the top of the American club game. His ability to bolster his resume for a potential European contract by playing meaningful minutes in South Africa hinges on the health of Oguchi Onyewu. Whether that happens or not, expect Marshall to continue to let his feet do the talking en route to a long career with the US National Team.

An Audience With King Jonathan Of Honduras

Since the US faces Honduras on January 23rd, TSG spent a few minutes with international hero Jonathan Bornstein at USMNT training camp yesterday. It was Johnny B’s header in the dying moments versus Costa Rica in the final World Cup qualifier that stunned the Ticos, capped an emotional come-from-behind draw for the US and propelled Honduras into the World Cup finals.

TSG was curious whether Bornstein thought he would get any special treatment from the Hondurans should he take the field versus Los Catrachos. Say, might they let him walk one into the goal at the start for all he did for their country?

After a chuckle the US defender said, “I don’t think so. There will be a positive reception but they are not going to give anything away in terms of on-the-field stuff. It will be more positive off-the-field.”

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Camp Interview: Sacha Kljestan Unexpected

Kljestan: Airborne in practice, down to earth in the interview....

As TSG’s first day of camp drew to a close, Mark and I decided to split up interviews.

With the players fatigued from a two-hour practice in what suddenly became a hazy, sunny day, drinking some gatorade and taking a break was the first thing on their mind, not two guys that looked like twins holding electronics equipment and asking them to give thoughful answers.

Conor Casey was up first and Mark had the research there. Let me add that Mark is just about the same size as Conor Casey…for some reason I think that’s important, like he could actually defend him or something….anyway…

Sacha Kljestan, who I had hoped would be my last interview after some warming up, turned out to be the first.

Much dialogue has occurred on TSG in regards to Kljestan’s enigmatic play and personality. There is, of course, the infamous poll and debates that went on after Kljestan lashed out at refs continually during his last MLS performance of the year.  There was Sacha’s three goals to start off 2009 on the right foot that seemed to stamp him as a perennial contender for a spot in Bob Bradley’s starting midfield…and of course there was the middle of the year where a brooding Kljestan, unable to secure a Celtic contract, disappeared from the headlines and seemingly from the pitch altogether. There was even the Die Hipster Brewing guys asking me to query Kljestan on what he thought of their name; and the cheeky TSG commentators asking about Victoria’s Secret.

It seems Kljestan is a polarizing figure in more ways than one. The talent undeniable; the attitude, the desire and maturity: puzzling.

Defensive...application....

Would have been nice to get a few softball questions going with just about anyone first, even Jesse the equipment manager, before talking to Kljestan who seemed taller in person. However that was not to be.

What follows is TSG’s post-practice conversation with the Chivas star. Our Flip Video was having difficulty and gave us fits, but we only had a garbley-guck answer on one question–likely, nay definitely, because I had my finger over the mic.

You make the call on Kljestan’s sincerity, but we’ll let you in that it seems, less from perhaps his words, but more from his delivery of them–especially his final two answers–that Kljestan acknowledges his 2009 volatility and that is an awareness he is carrying into 2010. It seems like that will be a very good thing for his club Chivas and country.

I’ve also added a little bit of color on the interview for your……enjoyment.

TSG: Sacha, good practice. How was the New Year’s Eve Party? We heard Charlie was there how’s he doing?

Sacha: Charlie’s doing great. He looks great. He’s up on his feet doing a little touching with the soccer ball.

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So…How Was Your First Day At Camp?

In a word…Scrumtrulescent.

TSG had a fine day at camp with the USMNT in what was the team’s longest practice of the camp so far. Bob Bradley kept the intensity level high as the team went through warm-ups, drills and conditioning before finishing with a scrimmage.

Some observations before we file some longer pieces on our experience later this week. (One quick note: Remember one of our favorite sayings at TSG, “You can’t look at one observation in isolation, you have to look at the whole body of work.”)

  • So, what do the USMNTers drive to practice? Caddy? Escalade? Benz? Charter coach? Nope, US players drive themselves in certified soccer mom-mobiles. That’s right, they pile out of minivans just like they presumably did when they were seven.
  • Two things that stand-out when you are at field level just feet away from players…Size and the pace on their shots. Boombosa is right!
  • Marcus Tracy, Kevin Alston, Robbie Rogers and Chris Pontius were absent for today’s practice. Alston came out and ran laps…so much so that I wondered if it was punishment.
  • Zach Thornton is….MASSIVE.
  • Long-time readers will be happy to know that Matthew’s head did NOT explode when Benny Feilhaber buried one in the back of the net during the scrimmage nor during his interview with the Benny! at the conclusion of practice.
  • Any San Jose Quakes fans out there? An auburn-cleated Brandon McDonald played exclusively at right back today, acquitted himself well and received counsel from Bob Bradley in the center of the pitch post-practice. Beyond losing the ball on a forward run during the 2nd half of scrimmage, TSG came away very impressed with McDonald’s play today who also netted a goal off a corner kick.

Peter Vermes Doesn’t Mess Around

If you’re interviewing Peter Vermes after you read this, let me tell you one thing. Cut to the chase, be efficient with his time, and let him get out of there quickly because all he wants to do is his job and do it well.

Vermes: Live and in color

Vermes: Live and with color

If you’re a KC Wizards fan, that’s a good thing.

TSG had the opportunity to interview KC Wizards coach Peter Vermes this morning and he did not disappoint. Just like he showed us in his playing career, Vermes is a straight shooter, aimed at hitting goals and having success.

While we tried to banter a bit with Peter and get him engage in a little bit of one-two conversation, Vermes was all business and his answers as you will read were matter of fact. A number of times, the KC coach led his answers with, “Look…” as if to say, “This is what’s important and get the story right.”

In the spirit of Peter’s brevity, we’ll keep his answers on the Wizards, Landon Donovan, Jimmy Conrad Twitter escapades, playing in the Azteca, and everything else curt and to the point.

Thanks Peter for the interview….and away we go.

Hey Peter, you could have gone anywhere, why KC?

Look, I’ve been involved in the biz side of the business for awhile and then became technical director at Kansas City. I had the choice of a number of jobs, but I like the technical job. In terms of the KC coaching vacancy, we needed someone who could step in right away and provide some cover until we found the right candidate. We didn’t want to rush into a new coach.

Peter, what are some of your goals or success metrics through the end of the year?

Look we have to be very realistic. We’re in 13th place. We’re a long shot to make the playoffs. You have to look where you are and where you want to get to and then figure out how to get there. For us, it starts with the basics. Number one we have to improve our performance, on a practice-to-practice basis and week-to-week basis. We can’t be rolling the dice on what we’re doing. Each player has to be committed to a better performance.

Look, we’re not magicians, we know where we are in the standings, but if we’re committed to better performance the results will come

Okay, great, but what are some specific things you are looking for?

All players have to raise their intensity.

We need to create more offensive chances.

Kevin Hartman’s having a good year and we still need to keep more clean sheets.

Intensity is the key ingredient though. If I see more intensity, then I know the results will come.

click here for Peter Vermes’ thoughts on US Soccer, US-MEX, U-20 up-and-comers, and Landon Donovan

Stu Holden: The Shin Guardian Interview

(Note: Full video after the page break)

A few weeks ago TSG was lucky enough to land an interview with Gold Cup performer extraordinaire Stu Holden.

We were specifically enamored by Stu’s play this summer after watching him sporadically with the Dynamo. As huge fans (as those of you that read this publication know) of Benny Feilhaber, the ability to maintain possession is a talent and skill heavily favored at TSG.

USMNT mainstay? For sure

"Stu, you've got the swagger too"

However, when we started digging into Stu’s Interwebs history and researching more about him, we found a lot more things that impressed us about Stu.

First and foremost, for those outside the Houston area, Stu won 2008 USSF Dynamo Humanitarian of the Year Award for his work with Athletes of Hope and Holden’s Heroes. What makes this award even more impressive is that Holden won it in his first year on the team–rookies typically have trouble just coming into a league. This is just another example of why we think #22 will be a fine ambassador for the US for years to come.  Find out in the interview a little bit more about what motivates Stu’s work on such endeavors.

We also dug up quite a bit of content that seemed to suggest Stu is a Man United fan. One post even suggested the Stu “idolized” David Beckham growing up (sorry Stu, by your reaction that might mean someone was stretching it).

Guess who Stu would train with from Manchester history? For those of you that watched the last five minutes of the Haiti game, you might get this one right.

Finally, we tried to peg down Stu to a nickname, either The Kilted One (kind of boring), McGroin (debatable legs to this one as well), Hollywood (possibly) or Metro (apparently that’s a USMNT favorite).  However, while Stu answered our Twitter question — this one got left out. (Clark, we don’t blame you for leaving that question out.)

Some other questions we should have snuck in for the Dynamo standout?

* What do you think your chances of making the World Cup roster are? (We say they are about 99%-100%)

* What is feel like to represent your country, especially when traveling abroad?

and

continue reading and view the video interview

Stu Holden in Surround Sound: The Interview

Station  WSTU: Coming soon

Station KSTU: Coming soon

Wow!

A ginormous thank you to Clark Haptonstall and the Haptonstall Group for graciously accepting our request to interview Stu Holden. Clark did us one better, he got it on video. Thanks Clark!

Coming on Monday we’ll have a breakdown of the interview with Stu Holden.

We’ll tell you one thing straightaway, the commentary by Stu only seeks to reinforce that he is going to be a great ambassador for the USMNT for many many years….and that his hair is always so perfect.

Coming Monday, Stu Holden interviewed by Clark Haptonstall on behalf of the The Shin Guardian.

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