Practice Notes & Quotes 10-04-02

Attendance:
G – McGinty, Rimando, Hensen (NoVA Royals – D3), Chris Sneed (cybersoccer.com)
D – Pope
M – Etcheverry, Williams, Mapp, Convey, Olsen, Alegria, Villegas, Quintinilla
F – Lassiter, Moreno, Quaranta

Notes:
– Also in attendance – Moreno’s cousin, Abdul & Alfred (Local boys from Sierra Leone). Asst Coach John Trask admitted that he’s surprised at the quality of play by all the players. Likewise, a couple of players were overheard complimenting the three players on their level of intensity and thanking them for adding to the practice.

– Prideaux’s foot surgery was a success. The procedure was to relieve a chronic foot stress fracture. He is expected to be out for 6 weeks.

– Jordy Broder, midfielder, was also in training. Several members of the staff and players also praised his work.
College Honors
Umbro Select West Squad (2002)
1st Team All-South Region (2000-01)
1st Team All-Southern Conference (2000-01)
Southern Conference Player of the Year (2000)
Year GP Goals Assts Pts
2002 29 4 7 15 – @ Atlanta Silverbacks (A-League)
2001 17 10 7 27 – @ Appalachian State, WV

– In 2002, players due to injury missed a total of 94 games. By contrast, in 1998, the team had over 130 games missed by players due to injury. The norm is approximately 100 to 110 games per year.

– Curtis attended practice, but sat out because of a sore neck.

– A large part of practice today consisted dealt with physical fitness. For approximately ½ of the practice the players sprinted and jogged with and without the ball at their feet. Also, several players worked out on the bungi cord. Finally, they ended with foot speed drills such as going over low hurdles and through ground ladder.

– Of tactical changes, Q2 was pushed into the central midfield along side of Etcheverry while Convey stayed out on the left flank.

– How about an ultimate long-term prognostication? If Ali Curtis remains involved with soccer, continues to study and learn the game, he will be a head coach some day. In y opinion, even for a ‘Dukie’ he shows some personal insight and foresight above most players. (see quotes below)

Quotes:
Ali Curtis
Being tied for the most goals scored on the team for 2002, what expectations do you have going into next season?
“I’m not really sure. I know that they think I’m a good player, and they believe in me. I want to be here next year, and they want me to be here next year.”
“We really haven’t gone over those things yet. I just want to have a good pre-season, and then look forward to next season, work hard and be a team player.”

How and what are you working on in the pre-season?
“I’m just trying to stay fit in the off-season. Of course, I’d like to do some work outside of DC – just working out by myself shooting, getting myself really strong at holding the ball – to have a very successful season, and to be able to help the team.”

Do you want to go outside the USA for training? If so, where?
“No, I haven’t been able to go over the details because Ray has been out of town. So, hopefully when we meet up with Ray in England we can talk about that.”
“I definitely think this is an important off-season for myself and for DC United. I just want to do as much as possible so I can build upon what I did this past season. . . . ”
“I really don’t have anywhere specific right now. I’d like to talk to the coaching staff here at DC and just see what they think is best for me. I think they are going to make decision in my best interest and help me along with my career. I’m just looking forward to the opportunity to work hard and learn some things for next season. If I learn a couple of new things, and get better at a couple of things, I can really make a difference next season.”

Your role as a ‘super-sub’ was successful. Also, Moreno and Quaranta are considered as the obvious starters at the moment. As of right now, do you expect to be considered one of the starters for next season? Or, are you content as a super-sub?
“Well, I think regardless of what someone thinks of you . . . I have certain expectations as an individual, and I make the most of what I’m given. I think I did that this past season. My production speaks for itself.”
“The last thing I want to be labeled as is a player that comes off the bench. I think that’s the worst thing that can happen. I look at myself as a player that can start a game and finish it, and can go the whole 90 minutes.”
“So I hope with the season that I had that I’m going to be given the opportunity to prove myself as a starter at DC United, and a starter in this league. I look at myself as someone who, if I continue to be successful, and I continue to work hard, that I can be a very, very successful player and a goal-scorer in this league. I’m looking forward to next season. I’m confident that Ray will make the right decisions for DC United. I’m just going to go out there and work hard, and be a team player. If it’s in the team’s best interest that I come off the bench, then that might be the best thing. But, I’m going to make my bid, as much as possible, to be a starter by working hard on the field.”

You look at some of the players around your age group – Nelsen, Carrieri, and others – it took them about 1 ½ to 2 years for them to make an impact on the league. Do you look at it and say, ‘I’m just like them and haven’t had my chance’?
“Literally, I think I had a bad stint in Tampa Bay. You can have a good player and put him in a bad situation, and nothing is going to go right. I think that’s what happened to me in Tampa Bay. I had to go through almost a second rookie season here in DC, and I thought I did well. I thought I reacted well to what was given to me, and the opportunities that I had.”
“Next season I’m looking to break through. I think people will see what type of player I truly am. I’m adjusted to the league; I’m adjusted to the players, and everything else outside of the game. I look at myself as a dominant forward, and I look forward to proving that next season.”

Long-term, assuming you do have a break-through year; do you see yourself playing in Europe some day?
“I have no idea. Of course it’s every players dream to play in the English Premier League or somewhere like that. Right now I’m just focusing on one day at a time, and what I’ve got to work on now. It’s tough have a great season, but that’s something I’m going to work towards. I’ve just got to wait and see. I’m looking forward to next season because I think it will be a very special season for myself and for DC United.”

Fitness Coach Greg Petrosian
Assistant Coach Trask said that fitness would be a key next season. What specifically needs to be fixed in this area for DC United?
“Well, the fitness should be done on a consistent basis throughout the year. Since I was just a volunteer coach last year, coming here once a week, for a professional team that’s just not enough. I think that area was very neglected last year, and it will change this year.”

Is there anything specific such as speed, stamina, upper body strength that needs to be keyed on?
“It was a combination of all things. Fitness has to be done consistent basis with cardio-vascular fitness on the field. It also has to be done in the gym twice a week, a general weight lifting program, to give them adequate strength. They lose a lot of strength after every game and you need to re-generate it.”

In general terms, for individuals, how do you break down their programs?
“The offensive players need a lot of speed and explosiveness. Midfielders need the stamina because they are running for defending and creating the attack. It depends on the position that they play for their needs.”
“Also, there are the individual needs. There are players that have weakness in the groin, or hamstring, or lower back that has to be addressed as they strengthen it and rehabbing that.”

Bobby Convey
Give me your opinion on your season?
“It was alright. I got back from the hernia surgery at the beginning of the year and sat down with Ray to talk about what he wanted my role to be, and it just went from there. I want to be someone to go-to, and not be just another guy. At the end he put me in the middle and we won a few game. Hopefully we’ll see what happens with that.”

At the end you were in the middle, you became the go-to guy, and it was effective. Are you comfortable with that? And is that what you want for next year?
“Yeah, definitely! Like I said, when you’re playing you don’t want to be just another guy out there. I want to do something. I don’t just want to run up and down out wide – sometimes you don’t get the ball, sometimes you do. In the middle . . . I was glad I was in there with Marco because they mark him and I kind of have a little more space to roam around. That’s where I want to play. That’s where I played before I came here, and hopefully Ray will play me there next year.”

What do you need to work on in the off-season?
“I want to get fitter for the National Team. MLS is definitely a good start, but when you go with the National Team it’s that much harder, and that much more time you have to put in to become fit. So, I want to become fit. I want to keep playing. I want to qualify for the Under 20’s World Cup with Thomas (Rongen) and the U-20 team. Then I’ll take a little bit of a rest. Then hopefully get back in with the National Team. Then get back into pre-season for next year.”

With all that do you want to train overseas?
“I don’t know. I’m playing until December. I don’t really have an off-season. We have a couple of games with the U-20’s in November. We’re training all the way through until December. Then we start back up in January.”
“We’ll see what happens. Maybe I go back over there . . . train with Newcastle, or train with someone. I don’t really see us having an off-season . . . it’s a month and that’s about it.”

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