Practice Notes & Quotes 02-01-03

Practice Notes and Quotes 02-01-03

Attendance:
G – Bohenick, Jorge Geddes (West Virginia, Wesleyan)
D – Stokes, Nelsen, Reyes, Ivanov, Prideaux, Swann, Petke,
M – Stoichkov, Etcheverry, Namoff, Digimarino, Woodworth, Amani-Dove, Quintinilla, Kovolenko, Carroll
F – David Hayes (Richmond Kickers), Eskandarian, Curtis, Jake Edwards, Quaranta

Convey, Rimando, and Olsen are with the National team
Stewert is expected to arrive during the week
Alegria is in the process of updating his visa

The team played 2 half-hour intra squad scrimmages.

Stokes and Swann were a little lost in the initial half of play. Stokes looked to be tucked too tight to the goal, and was caught forward a couple of times. Swann as often as not was beaten by the first step. However, by the end of the day, both began to fit in with the speed and spacing of the professional level and showed improvement. One thing that showed was they were faster learners for this particular day.

Woodworth does run constantly. It is obvious why some compare him to Olsen

Carroll is special. Compared to the initial practices of Justin Mapp, Carroll has that extra “something” that you hope to see with younger players. You saw it in Convey and Quaranta with their first practices. He went after the older players, challenged for the ball, and wasn’t intimidated by the fact that he was playing with former World Cup stars in Etcheverry and Stoichkov.

Very impressive in net was Jorge Geddes. Apparently Assistant Coach John Trask and Geddes have a history, and Trask knows that Geddes is a ‘Rimando-esc’ type of GK with his bravery and physical abilities. Geddes also is height challenged, coming in at around 5’9”, but is lightening quick.

Ivanov’s defense seems effortless. He is in the right place at the right time, all the time.

Eskandarian’s efforts showed why he will likely push Quaranta for a starting position. For much of the day Eskandarian’s level of play was superior to Quaranta. However, at the end of the day, Quaranta netted a nice chip goal, and Eskandarian didn’t score. Also, after an excellent stop by Geddes, Curtis slotted home a shot during the scramble for the ball. On the negative, both Eskandarian and Curtis still want to take the one extra touch before firing. Amani-Dove also scored a garbage goal when Bohenick slipped on the wet grass.

Nelsen and Digimarino played well throughout the day. Nelsen’s footwork today was a step up from last season’s. On one occasion he went through a double-team of Stoichkov and Reyes much to their chagrin. He also fooled Carroll with a little back-heel to himself, spin, and charge forward. Digimarino’s play along the left side of midfield was extremely well done. Outstanding speed, constant effort, and knowing when to break were marks that caught the eye of RH & Co.

Play of Practice:
During the run of play Petke clears a ball out of defense to Stoichkov on the right wing. As the ball comes down out of the air, Stoichkov one-times it 50 yards to the left flank for a perfect lead pass to a streaking David Hayes. Moments later, Etcheverry round kicks a ball in mid flight, with a back spin, that plops down perfectly for a streaking Ali Curtis.

Quotes
How did the first day of practice go?
“They didn’t see each other . . . they didn’t know each other . . . they’ve never kicked a ball with each, and I thought they did outstandingly well. Lovely stuff. It was passing exercises. It was like a jousting contest at times between Stoichkov and Marco at who could top off each other with the more breath taking passes! It was lovely to see. It was smashing. I’m very, very pleased.”

Was there any one thing specifically that surprised you?
“No, not particularly. I think they all . . . . I think Stokes looks a very good player. Eliseo looked nice and comfortable in the middle. You could go on and on. Galin looked nice and comfortable back there. Stoichkov was . . . If you ask what was the surprise, I’d say Stoichkov. He looked f—— great. Dema looked smashing.”
“It was . . . there was a good sort of buzz amongst them, that was the thing. It seemed to be the first day at school. They are all new faces, they didn’t know each others names basically, and there’s no comfort level there yet. . . . they haven’t slept with each other. They’ve just looked across the room at each other. And it’s going to take awhile for all the familiarities, and the real appreciation where each other is going to move.”
“And then you know Ernie is not here . . . Benny, Bobby, Nicky, there’s a lot of good stuff to come back in here.”

It’s also the first day for you with basically a new team. What kind of plans you have going over the next two months?
“I think it’s a case of weighing them all up. They’re obviously some very talented, good, athletic players. Eskandarian, I’ve got to give a big thumbs up to him as well. For me, he looks like a f—— diamond, that kid. I mean he’s going to do f—— great! It might come up overnight, but I thought he showed up tremendously well.”
“But, I think the next couple of months it’s bringing them together; it’s getting that comfort amongst them, that expression, just getting them bedded down and really seeing where that good chemistry is between them.”
“It’s going to be hard. Everybody said it. But after looking at this, and thinking of who is coming in, it’s going to be f—— impossible. I mean ‘Esky’ and Stoichkov. How the hell are you going to leave them out? I mean, ‘Stokes-ie’ looks f—— great! It’s going to be extremely difficult to pick this team, pick this eleven.”
“I think over these two months the eye will become more alert to different players habits. You’ll start to see different combinations, and the where good compliments is going to be. That’s what I think what we’ll be looking for in the next couple of months.”

Do you think you want to play a 3-5-2 or a 4-4-2?
“I think we’ll probably play a skewed 4-4-2. It will look more like a 3-5-2, but I think we’ll be flexible enough, with Bobby Convey especially; he’ll be a key influence I think. Plus the fact that Bruce (Arena) is looking at him as a left sided defender. So that would fit in good to us, having Bobby come out of that left side. He’s got the energy to run up and down there all day, that’s what he’s all about.”

So would you play him at left back?
“Possibly. Possibly. But like I said, it would be a skewed type of team. But it’s too early. It’s too early to start picking the formation. But I like the 3-5-2. I mean, I could see us playing the 4-3-2-1 with these guys, with somebody else holding in behind there. The ‘Christmas Tree’ formation they used to call it. This team could do well with that because we’ll be attacking from all sides from the back. We’ll be playing football from the back.”
“I’m very, very comfortable with this set. I don’t think we’re finished. I think there will be another one or two more coming in though.”

You’ve got to like the personality of the team.
“Oh sure, that goes without saying. But I think the personality expresses itself in the football. It’s not just about character, it’s about what Stoichkov is . . . that’s the type of guy he is . . . character, and all the bravado. It’s the same with Etcheverry. They just express themselves. Ernie Stewert is going to be the same. Benny Olsen is another one.”

Do you feel this is your team now?
“Absolutely. Unquestionably it has my paw prints all over it now. And I hope it’s a team I’m proud of in the way they play.”
“When we started at Miami, it wasn’t building as much even as a winning team. I wanted to entertain, and with the entertaining, fluid type of football, with players that can pass and players that can move, that it would produce results, it would produce wins.”
“We’re not going to lower our standards and play ‘Route 1’ football, ever. It’s all about passing and moving, and that dynamic stuff will come out with this team, especially when the internationals come in.”

Last year you held high standards from Day 1, and some of the players didn’t make those standards, but you didn’t move the players. Can we expect you to act quickly if some of these players don’t reach your high standards?
“I think in terms of changes, yeah. I think this team . . . I said right before we kicked the ball off this morning, ‘We have to keep our standards really high.’ And I think with this team the players will have to play well. I won’t drop the guillotine on a player if has a bad game. But I probably will if he has two bad games. There’s too much talent. We’re going to be too stacked. The standard cannot come down. There’s got to be total commitment, and total execution in the way they play. They have to play extremely well for 90 minutes every game. They have to be because someone’s breathing down . . . every position on the field, I would say, there’s somebody very close to them breathing down their neck – right from Santino on the top, all the way back to . . . well maybe Nicky Rimando, to be honest. The Clemson kid (Doug Warren) is a good goalkeeper. So, it’s going to be throughout the team. The competition for places is going to be very good, and that puts pressure on the players to perform well. And there’s nothing better than that when you’re f—— winning with that sort of atmosphere. You’re keeping good players out . . . that’s the goal. ‘Are you good enough to keep that good player out?’ The only way to do that is by performing with a real hunger.”
“I don’t think we had that last year. I think we were a little soft. I think players felt, ‘What’s he going to do?’ It’s got to be in the back of their mind. There’s that comfort zone. And we were so limited as to where we could turn last year once the season got going.”
“I don’t think it’s going to be that way this year. Don’t be surprised! There’s no . . . We’ll build a team towards our best players that are going when the game whistle blows. Those players take on a different thing between the white lines. You go with that. You don’t bank on the youthful inexperience. You bank on the guys who have been through hell and high water, and they can do it. Now if they do it, that’s all well and good. But if they don’t, we’ll give youth its chance, definitely.

Has Stoichkov done anything off the field, in his role as assistant coach that stands out in your mind?
“No, you just hear him. He’s a loveable character. He’s not Bulgarian either. He’s got to be Italian. He’s not f—— Bulgarian! He’s got Italian stamped all the way through him!”

How so?
“Just his expressiveness, and his emotions and stuff, and everything.”
“Galin (Ivanov) is the Bulgarian. The stone-wall face, and the tattoo on his tongue.”
“But Stoichkov . . . he’s going to be great with the guys. It’s the manner in which he gets on players. Even if it’s fire and brimstone, it’s a manner which is hard to argue against. That’s why I think he wants to get into coaching. There’s nothing else like when he’s playing on the field when he’s holding his standards. You don’t want to let a guy down like that. You don’t want to! It’s shaming him . . . it’s diluting his brilliance. And he still cares about that.”
“Marco is exactly the same. These are the true leaders of men. You can’t get enough of that; you can’t get too much. I think we’ve got that.”
“I think we’ve got the players that want to respond to that. The likes of Bobby and Dema, and Petke is going to be very similar as well.”

Do you see Stoichkov and Etcheverry on the field at the same time?
“Take a look. They’re looking pretty good to me! They really did. I don’t see why not. It’s going to be one that looks beautiful for a lot of the time. But it’s a compliment again. We cannot get away from the compliment. We have to keep the balance. They’re two brilliantly gifted footballers. But let’s be honest, they’re not 25 years old anymore. You’ve got to get stuff around them. You’ve got to get the energy. But, there’s things they do that defeats athleticism with the stroke of one f—— left foot. And cannot do doggies to put that into players. It’s that magic. There will be plenty of opportunities for that to come out.”

Stoichkov talked about going back to Chicago regularly to see his family. How often will he be allowed to go back? Every week?
“No . . . no. You know what? If you ask any of the guys, I have a very good way of dealing with that. The guys with the national team I told, ‘Take two or three days off after the game.’ It was the same way with Petter Villegas last year. You’ve got to give the kids a chance to get back amongst their own.”
“Some coaches are very, very dictatorial that way.”
“But no. If after a game ‘Stoich’ wants to get back for 2 or 3 days, I have no problem with that. It’s not like he’s going back to the old country. But, it’s not just him it’s everybody. Same with Jaime last year when he needed to get back to Bolivia, or Milton to Honduras. I like the guys to feel if there’s ever a break they can get away.”

Practice Notes & Quotes 02-01-03

The first day of practice. So many new faces, including several invited players, all looking to make an impression with RH & Co. for the upcoming season. Although the wet, cold weater dampened the energy of those watching, it didn’t affect the competition on the field.


Attendance:
G  Bohenick, Jorge Geddes (West Virginia, Wesleyan)
D  Stokes, Nelsen, Reyes, Ivanov, Prideaux, Swann, Petke,
M  Stoichkov, Etcheverry, Namoff, Digimarino, Woodworth, Amani-Dove, Quintinilla, Kovolenko, Carroll
F  David Hayes (Richmond Kickers), Eskandarian, Curtis, Jake Edwards, Quaranta

Convey, Rimando, and Olsen are with the National team
Stewert is expected to arrive during the week
Alegria is in the process of updating his visa

The team played 2 half-hour intra squad scrimmages.

Stokes and Swann were a little lost in the initial half of play. Stokes looked to be tucked too tight to the goal, and was caught forward a couple of times. Swann as often as not was beaten by the first step. However, by the end of the day, both began to fit in with the speed and spacing of the professional level and showed improvement. One thing that showed was they were faster learners for this particular day.

Woodworth does run constantly. It is obvious why some compare him to Olsen

Carroll is special. Compared to the initial practices of Justin Mapp, Carroll has that extra something that you hope to see with younger players. You saw it in Convey and Quaranta with their first practices. He went after the older players, challenged for the ball, and wasnt intimidated by the fact that he was playing with former World Cup stars in Etcheverry and Stoichkov.

Very impressive in net was Jorge Geddes. Apparently Assistant Coach John Trask and Geddes have a history, and Trask knows that Geddes is a Rimando-esc type of GK with his bravery and physical abilities. Geddes also is height challenged, coming in at around 59, but is lightening quick.

Ivanovs defense seems effortless. He is in the right place at the right time, all the time.

Eskandarians efforts showed why he will likely push Quaranta for a starting position. For much of the day Eskandarians level of play was superior to Quaranta. However, at the end of the day, Quaranta netted a nice chip goal, and Eskandarian didnt score. Also, after an excellent stop by Geddes, Curtis slotted home a shot during the scramble for the ball. On the negative, both Eskandarian and Curtis still want to take the one extra touch before firing. Amani-Dove also scored a garbage goal when Bohenick slipped on the wet grass.

Nelsen and Digimarino played well throughout the day. Nelsens footwork today was a step up from last seasons. On one occasion he went through a double-team of Stoichkov and Reyes much to their chagrin. He also fooled Carroll with a little back-heel to himself, spin, and charge forward. Digimarinos play along the left side of midfield was extremely well done. Outstanding speed, constant effort, and knowing when to break were marks that caught the eye of RH & Co.

Play of Practice:
During the run of play Petke clears a ball out of defense to Stoichkov on the right wing. As the ball comes down out of the air, Stoichkov one-times it 50 yards to the left flank for a perfect lead pass to a streaking David Hayes. Moments later, Etcheverry round kicks a ball in mid flight, with a back spin, that plops down perfectly for a streaking Ali Curtis.

Quotes
How did the first day of practice go?
They didnt see each other . . . they didnt know each other . . . theyve never kicked a ball with each, and I thought they did outstandingly well. Lovely stuff. It was passing exercises. It was like a jousting contest at times between Stoichkov and Marco at who could top off each other with the more breath taking passes! It was lovely to see. It was smashing. Im very, very pleased.

Was there any one thing specifically that surprised you?
No, not particularly. I think they all . . . . I think Stokes looks a very good player. Eliseo looked nice and comfortable in the middle. You could go on and on. Galin looked nice and comfortable back there. Stoichkov was . . . If you ask what was the surprise, Id say Stoichkov. He looked f—— great. Dema looked smashing.
It was . . . there was a good sort of buzz amongst them, that was the thing. It seemed to be the first day at school. They are all new faces, they didnt know each others names basically, and theres no comfort level there yet. . . . they havent slept with each other. Theyve just looked across the room at each other. And its going to take awhile for all the familiarities, and the real appreciation where each other is going to move.
And then you know Ernie is not here . . . Benny, Bobby, Nicky, theres a lot of good stuff to come back in here.

Its also the first day for you with basically a new team. What kind of plans you have going over the next two months?
I think its a case of weighing them all up. Theyre obviously some very talented, good, athletic players. Eskandarian, Ive got to give a big thumbs up to him as well. For me, he looks like a f—— diamond, that kid. I mean hes going to do f—— great! It might come up overnight, but I thought he showed up tremendously well.
But, I think the next couple of months its bringing them together; its getting that comfort amongst them, that expression, just getting them bedded down and really seeing where that good chemistry is between them.
Its going to be hard. Everybody said it. But after looking at this, and thinking of who is coming in, its going to be f—— impossible. I mean Esky and Stoichkov. How the hell are you going to leave them out? I mean, Stokes-ie looks f—— great! Its going to be extremely difficult to pick this team, pick this eleven.
I think over these two months the eye will become more alert to different players habits. Youll start to see different combinations, and the where good compliments is going to be. Thats what I think what well be looking for in the next couple of months.

Do you think you want to play a 3-5-2 or a 4-4-2?
I think well probably play a skewed 4-4-2. It will look more like a 3-5-2, but I think well be flexible enough, with Bobby Convey especially; hell be a key influence I think. Plus the fact that Bruce (Arena) is looking at him as a left sided defender. So that would fit in good to us, having Bobby come out of that left side. Hes got the energy to run up and down there all day, thats what hes all about.

So would you play him at left back?
Possibly. Possibly. But like I said, it would be a skewed type of team. But its too early. Its too early to start picking the formation. But I like the 3-5-2. I mean, I could see us playing the 4-3-2-1 with these guys, with somebody else holding in behind there. The Christmas Tree formation they used to call it. This team could do well with that because well be attacking from all sides from the back. Well be playing football from the back.
Im very, very comfortable with this set. I dont think were finished. I think there will be another one or two more coming in though.

Youve got to like the personality of the team.
Oh sure, that goes without saying. But I think the personality expresses itself in the football. Its not just about character, its about what Stoichkov is . . . thats the type of guy he is . . . character, and all the bravado. Its the same with Etcheverry. They just express themselves. Ernie Stewert is going to be the same. Benny Olsen is another one.

Do you feel this is your team now?
Absolutely. Unquestionably it has my paw prints all over it now. And I hope its a team Im proud of in the way they play.
When we started at Miami, it wasnt building as much even as a winning team. I wanted to entertain, and with the entertaining, fluid type of football, with players that can pass and players that can move, that it would produce results, it would produce wins.
Were not going to lower our standards and play Route 1 football, ever. Its all about passing and moving, and that dynamic stuff will come out with this team, especially when the internationals come in.

Last year you held high standards from Day 1, and some of the players didnt make those standards, but you didnt move the players. Can we expect you to act quickly if some of these players dont reach your high standards?
I think in terms of changes, yeah. I think this team . . . I said right before we kicked the ball off this morning, We have to keep our standards really high. And I think with this team the players will have to play well. I wont drop the guillotine on a player if has a bad game. But I probably will if he has two bad games. Theres too much talent. Were going to be too stacked. The standard cannot come down. Theres got to be total commitment, and total execution in the way they play. They have to play extremely well for 90 minutes every game. They have to be because someones breathing down . . . every position on the field, I would say, theres somebody very close to them breathing down their neck  right from Santino on the top, all the way back to . . . well maybe Nicky Rimando, to be honest. The Clemson kid (Doug Warren) is a good goalkeeper. So, its going to be throughout the team. The competition for places is going to be very good, and that puts pressure on the players to perform well. And theres nothing better than that when youre f—— winning with that sort of atmosphere. Youre keeping good players out . . . thats the goal. Are you good enough to keep that good player out? The only way to do that is by performing with a real hunger.
I dont think we had that last year. I think we were a little soft. I think players felt, Whats he going to do? Its got to be in the back of their mind. Theres that comfort zone. And we were so limited as to where we could turn last year once the season got going.
I dont think its going to be that way this year. Dont be surprised! Theres no . . . Well build a team towards our best players that are going when the game whistle blows. Those players take on a different thing between the white lines. You go with that. You dont bank on the youthful inexperience. You bank on the guys who have been through hell and high water, and they can do it. Now if they do it, thats all well and good. But if they dont, well give youth its chance, definitely.

Has Stoichkov done anything off the field, in his role as assistant coach that stands out in your mind?
No, you just hear him. Hes a loveable character. Hes not Bulgarian either. Hes got to be Italian. Hes not f—— Bulgarian! Hes got Italian stamped all the way through him!

How so?
Just his expressiveness, and his emotions and stuff, and everything.
Galin (Ivanov) is the Bulgarian. The stone-wall face, and the tattoo on his tongue.
But Stoichkov . . . hes going to be great with the guys. Its the manner in which he gets on players. Even if its fire and brimstone, its a manner which is hard to argue against. Thats why I think he wants to get into coaching. Theres nothing else like when hes playing on the field when hes holding his standards. You dont want to let a guy down like that. You dont want to! Its shaming him . . . its diluting his brilliance. And he still cares about that.
Marco is exactly the same. These are the true leaders of men. You cant get enough of that; you cant get too much. I think weve got that.
I think weve got the players that want to respond to that. The likes of Bobby and Dema, and Petke is going to be very similar as well.

Do you see Stoichkov and Etcheverry on the field at the same time?
Take a look. Theyre looking pretty good to me! They really did. I dont see why not. Its going to be one that looks beautiful for a lot of the time. But its a compliment again. We cannot get away from the compliment. We have to keep the balance. Theyre two brilliantly gifted footballers. But lets be honest, theyre not 25 years old anymore. Youve got to get stuff around them. Youve got to get the energy. But, theres things they do that defeats athleticism with the stroke of one f—— left foot. And cannot do doggies to put that into players. Its that magic. There will be plenty of opportunities for that to come out.

Stoichkov talked about going back to Chicago regularly to see his family. How often will he be allowed to go back? Every week?

No . . . no. You know what? If you ask any of the guys, I have a very good way of dealing with that. The guys with the national team I told, Take two or three days off after the game. It was the same way with Petter Villegas last year. Youve got to give the kids a chance to get back amongst their own.
Some coaches are very, very dictatorial that way.

But no. If after a game Stoich wants to get back for 2 or 3 days, I have no problem with that. Its not like hes going back to the old country. But, its not just him its everybody. Same with Jaime last year when he needed to get back to Bolivia, or Milton to Honduras. I like the guys to feel if theres ever a break they can get away.

Post Game Quotes (Aguila) 10-26-02

Quotes:
Ray Hudson
Opening comments
“It was a chippy sort of a game, . . . which is good . . . it meant something to the two teams. It’s far nicer to see a competitive football game than a tea party. That was a tea party El Salvador style I think. There really was some edge to it. It may not have been some technically beautiful stuff, but that was the type of night it was. They wanted to play top-notch for those great fans.”
“I have no problem with their countrymen coming out and shouting for their boys. I totally understand and appreciate that. And that was part of the challenge, to overcome that. Like Bruce’s (Arena) boys have to do on so many occasions. It’s a part of the conversion. And I hope the fans saw that we can handle the rough and tumble stuff, and take our kicks, and come back at them.”
“I was delighted with the pretty goals we scored. They weren’t garbage goals. They were nice, well connected, passing forward, running goals, and I was really pleased with that.”
“I have to say though, I came in at half time, and I think there’s only two other times the whole of last year where I came in and really blown my top at the boys, and I did at half time. I’m not proud of that, and I don’t like that, but I thought we were playing some shoddy passing football. I think the difference in the second half was that they were much more focused.”
“That for me is not a good sign. It just means that I’ve got to work harder. It’s not working harder where you’ve got to blast players, and collectively get down the team’s throat because we weren’t able to play the ball amongst each other to the extent of what we can do, and we should do. It’s where I want us to get. So, we’ve got to become much, much better and focused on our passing game because when we lost possession, they had some wriggly little players that could slip by you and threaten.”
“But overall, delighted by the second half performance – much, much better right from the get-go. If you can re-play that first ten minutes in your mind, it set the tone that we going to come out and knock it around and make our superior technical ability and athleticism tell. We weren’t doing that in the first half. We weren’t doing that in the first half. I was delighted with the way the guys responded. It was not a nice dressing room at half time.”
“And all credit to them. It was nice to see the lads come, like Roy Lassiter getting a goal, and McGinty finally smelling the grease paint. So all of that part is nice. And like I said, there were good goals. I thought they were quality goals. They were a combative team, and for the first half they gave us a game, a good game. I’m just pleased that we put the goals in the net, and made our statement that we are worth watching.”
“For those El Salvador fans that just come watching, I hope they’re honest enough that they can go away and say, ‘That’s a decent team we got beat by tonight.’ There’s no argument, we were a better team, and that says something.”
“It’s a good product, and it’s a good performance, in the second half especially. I was pleased because it had an air . . . it could have gone against us. It’s easy now looking at that score like, 4-0, but you’ve got to earn that right every game.”
“Once we went 1-0, we got soft . . . we got casual, and I hate that. We got casual, lethargic, people weren’t focused, it didn’t matter where it ended up, and people got disjointed. That’s not going to win you MLS games. We’ve got to get tougher, stronger, and tighter, and more focused. We’ve got too many good players out there.”

Did you learn anything new?
“I’ll tell you what, it’s the last game of the season, and when I go home tonight it’s . . . I hate having to resort to blasting players . . . collectively, there wasn’t any particular one. But we put enough work into our team throughout the week that that should not happen. I learned that there’s still that softness about us. There’s still that we’ve got to hold people to the fire and rely on that.”
“It shouldn’t come from us. It’s got to come from within the players. There’s a lot of good players there, but I thought we got let down by a lot of poor performances in the first half. They weren’t able to get it up. And when we took the flamethrower to them at half time, ‘Oh yeah, now we’ll play!’”
“That’s not the way Arsenal f—— play. They’ve got some f—— standards! It’s not the way a good championship team plays. It’s from within . . . it’s the camp. I think we have too many players that cut corners.”
“I was just saying before the game we cut corners. It’s just enough .. . No! Those fans of ours, and this franchise deserve to have players that are totally focused, completely committed, and won’t settle for mediocrity. I won’t!”
“We were 1-0 up, and the guys were a bit surprised. We’ve got to set our standards higher.”

Practice Notes & Quotes 10-25-02

Attendance:
G – McGinty
D – Reyes, McKinley
M – Alegria, Mapp, Convey, Olsen, Namoff, J.Cooks,
F – Moreno, Curtis, Quintinilla, Quaranta

– Also invited in for training were Abdul (Sierra Leone) and Roland Aguilera.

– Rimando was excused from practice for personal reasons.

– Pope and Nelsen attended practice. The latter continues to work out individually to strengthen his knee. Pope will undergo surgery on his knee, probably next week. This will likely affect his status with the National Team.

– Brian Kamler (NE Revolution) and Jim Curtain (Chicago Fire) will play for DCUnited in tomorrow’s game. Carlos Bocanegra was invited, but declined in order to catch the Ohio State versus Penn State football game before going to Europe to train.

– Quintinilla will be at the U-20’s tournament in Charleston, SC representing El Salvador. He then moves over to the U-22 side to play in the quad-annual Central American/Caribbean Games being held between November 23rd and December 7th.

Quotes
Ray Hudson
What are you looking for anything specific in tomorrow’s game?
“A follow through . . . a follow on with what we showed in White Hart Lane. A good focus. These are as much a mental exercise as they are a tactical, physical one for these guys. It’s exhibition stuff. It doesn’t stand for anything, but it’s their focus and application that I look at. I don’t want those players around that are wishy-washy about stuff. At Spurs they showed real good resolve and they’ve got to do it again in front of their fans. It was a very special night and they rose to the occasion. But tomorrow we’re in front of our fans and we want to turn a good show on.”

With three months off, how are you going to get rid of the negative feelings of this past season and build up a positive one going into next season?
“That’s difficult because the curtain is drawn on the season. The chances have been given. Opportunities have been extended. We cannot go back in time and meddle in that and put lipstick on a pig. We’ve got to now, as a club and a team, the players that are going to be here and the coaches that are going to be here, have to enhance it in this off-season. It’s hibernation stuff now. It’s too late to worry about the negatives of this past season. I am completely and utterly aware of what was wrong and what was negative about this year. It’s my job to try to affect that. We’re probably going to have to take one or two gambles in terms of . . . . of maybe keeping faith with a player that perhaps doesn’t deserve it in some regards. We’ve got to come to some hard decisions on which ones to pull the trigger on and which ones to say, ‘Right, we’ll go with that again.’”
“It’s not going to be easy. But we’re definitely not going to have little family get-togethers and try to make up for what was wrong. That’s all gone! This edition of DC United has had its day. We’ve got to see if we can build another one.”

Can a good or bad performance by one of the marginal players in tomorrow’s game make a difference in your decisions?
“Players are going to show up in different ways. We know their worth. We know who we are. There’s no kidding around anymore. Like I said, they’ve been on the stage and they’ve danced this year. It’s no good saying, ‘It was this, it was that’ – it’s done, it’s over. We’ve got to face that music. These are opportunities. This is the same as the pre-season. It doesn’t matter when the game is. They’ve got to get up and they’ve got to demonstrate the pride and desire in their hearts and what it means to them to wear the shirt. They’ve got to do that tomorrow night like they did in the pre-season against Communicaciones – it’s the same stuff! We’ve got to . . . there’s certainly opportunities for those fringe players to come in and stake their claim once again. But, it’s not going to sway me heavily.”

You’re talking about making tough decisions. Is this something that is going to happen immediately, or will it be something that happens at the start of next year?
“It’s a slow digestion system, you know? We’ve got a lot to contemplate. Is it my decision entirely, completely, utterly? I’m not sure that it is. There’s different influences that come to bear on who may be around here next season. And I don’t particularly like that, but that’s something I have to live with. I’ll just have to accept certain limitations on what I can and cannot do. I think I’ve got a good bit of latitude to make the moves I want to. We’ve got to find the right players as well. We’ve got some big names . . . some exciting prospects waiting in the wings. But, they ain’t coming for peanuts. We ain’t going to get little plug-in players, we’re going to get exciting, effective players. They’ve got to replace some players of stature. We ain’t going to be going around the mulberry bush bringing in players like Roy (Lassiter) . . . bringing in Eliseo (Quintinilla) to a lesser extent . . . bringing in Ali (Curtis) and Zambrano . . . plug-in players and not match winners. That’s what I think we need to bolster this team with.”

Any specifics on what type of player you’re looking to bring in? Have you change at all from your earlier needs for a forward and holding midfielder?
“What’s going to with our key players is pivotal. That’s going to dictate what happens all over the field. Do we need . . . . We need a box finisher. That’s for damn sure. Even a blind man can see that. We’ve got to get that box finisher – some spearhead up front – if Moreno isn’t going to get fit again, or if he struggles again like he did this year. That’s a cause for concern. That’s our primary concern. We were piss-poor up front. Did we create enough opportunities, and have that cohesion in the midfield? Were we dangerous enough in creating the chances? That one is a tease. And at the back we seem to be strong and decent.”
“But in MLS something has got to go to get something, especially the way our team is constructed. People have got to realize that that’s the only way this team is going to get better. We can always stick with what we got, and put faith in players I question whether they deserve another break. This is three years we’ve been out of the playoffs.”
“We’ve teased . . . they did themselves proud with what they were, but that was it. They’ve sung the full song, but they didn’t get it done. We didn’t get it done. We didn’t achieve what we set off to do which was get to the playoffs.”
“We’ve got to make changes. It’s as simple as that. We can talk about the tinkering, and which player specifically, but I would say to you, ‘Pretty much all over the field there’s room for improvement on this side.’ Which ones were going to do, sometimes it’s borrowing off Peter to pay Paul.”
“It’s tough, it really is, to balance the team on the field and to balance everything under the salary cap. That’s the enormous challenge for me and Dave (Kasper). There may be some unpopular decisions. But, there ain’t any other way. This ain’t a f—— social club. I think that’s what been a problem with this club for so long. It’s too f——. . . you know, the ‘old tie school’ . . . looking after each other’s buddies. It’s not f—— good enough.”
“There’s one particular nice, young lad that I’ve got me eye on in Holland. I think he’s about 22 or 23 years old . . . left-sided defender that’s at Ajax . . . he’s been at Ajax’s nursery team . . . I was following him in Miami. He might be a youth transitional player.”

Where are you planning to make trips to after the game?
“I hope I’m going to go done to Argentina next weekend to see a particular match that’s involving two players. And Poland is on target . . . .And possibly France. Those are the three that attractive players that are available, affordable, and itching to come. It ain’t that easy. We’ve got to create some vacancies before we let the new tenants in.”

Have you heard whether the league will expand the roster, or increase the cap? It seems that might make the decisions a little easier.
“I think the talk . . . . You’d better ask Dave Kasper about that. I don’t know how much of that is supposed to be announced yet.”

Will Eddie Pope play tomorrow?
“No, he’s done for the year. I think he might be out of Bruce’s (Arena) plans for a little while now. He’s going to have an operation on his knee next week to clear that up once and for all. It’s a minor procedure. He’s had an MRI. He’s had discomfort in it ever since the World Cup, and it keeps nagging him.”

Have any plans progressed to get some of the players overseas for training during the off-season?
“Well, a lot of the lads are going away . . . Bobby and Santino and Justin are going away with the U-20’s. They’re going to be pretty much busy through December. Then there’s . . . we’re hoping that Bobby and Santino are going to Newcastle United. They are very interested in them as a lot of the English clubs are. My connections at Newcastle, and if we can figure it out with their schedule, they might have a 2 or 3 weeks in Europe. Ryan (Nelsen) might get over as well.”
“In this off-season we’re going to give them a routine. We’re going to bring in a few of them, Jaime especially, to American University with Greg Petrosian, for conditioning and fitness work right through to Christmas. In the mean time I’m just going to be out banging all of the bushes getting enough ducks lined up in a row for specific positions in our clubs. When and if that position becomes available, we act on it.”

With Marco out because of the surgery, will Bobby take over the middle?
“Yeah, we might move it around a little bit. We haven’t decided totally yet. We might take a look at Bobby on the inside a bit. But, he’s very effective out wide. That’s where the English guys see him playing as well. They all said that he’s not an interior player. They loved his pace. That’s where his strength is. It’s that god given pace and athleticism, and running with the ball. For me that’s his great strength. I know that people think he’s an interior midfielder. I’m not so sure. He’s effective, but I don’t think that’s his natural home. Everything that he’s got in abundance comes much more to the fore out wide. That’s not to say that he’s not a tricky little player in the middle, he is. But he’s got much more . . . it’s like having a mile and half distance horse running in a sprint. It doesn’t give him a chance to use his real athleticism. But, we’re going to take a look at him. I think he’s a player as well, not in Marco’s position per se, but behind that player, behind the playmaker. He’s able to really release himself with some of those runs. That might be a compromise between the two. But I don’t really see bobby being the player in the hole, as I call it.”

Practice Notes & Quotes 10-22-02

Attendance:
G – Rimando, McGinty
D – Reyes, McKinley,
M – Alegria, Villegas, Mapp, Convey, Olsen, Williams, Judah Cooks,
F – Curtis, Moreno, Quaranta

Also included in practice was “Abdul” – local kid from Sierra Leone.

Etcheverry missed practice. He is having some minor surgery on his right knee to clean up his torn lateral meniscus. He is expected to be ready for next season.

Notes:
– Hudson will return from his trip later today. It isn’t positive that he will be at this weekend’s game against Aguilla in that he has yet another overseas trip planned.

– Nelsen was at practice and working out lightly with Physio Rick Guter.

– Quaranta, Convey, and Mapp stayed after practice for a solid ½ hour practicing one-time shots on goal under Asst. Coach John Trask’s eye. The trio will join the U-20 in the next couple of weeks for some preliminary practices before they head off to Charleston, SC for World Championship qualifier in mid-November.

– A story about the Tottenham trip relayed to me today:
The team was staying at a hotel on the Thames River. In the "olden" days the hotel was actually part of the river front – docks, ships, shoremen, etc – and holds its traditions. On one side of the hotel is an old Clipper ship landed to promote the seafaring nature of that part of town.
Asst. Coach Trask and a couple of other told RH to meet them early in the morning for a couple of mugs of frosty. "Meet us at the Clipper," said Trask. As the early morning hours rolled around, and RH finished his tasks, he went looking for the group. He found the grounded ship easy enough. He looked for a gangway to get into the pub. He looked through the porthole in attempt to see inside. Finally, he gave up in disgust thinking Trask and company had pulled a fast one.
The next day Trask asked RH, "Why didn’t you meet us?" RH responded angrily, "I did! You weren’t there! There isn’t even a pub at the Clipper!" Only then was the problem solved, the "Clipper" is the name of the pub located on the othe side of the hotel.

Quotes
Ryan Nelsen
– How is the injured knee coming along?
“It’s coming along good. At the start I tried to get back as quick as possible because there were some games in New Zealand, and obviously the Tottenham game, but it just wasn’t going to come right. So, now it’s just like . . . taking my time. Rick Guter, the physio, has been really good. Now it’s coming along really good.”

– About how long to you expect before you can play competitively?
“I would say, if I really wanted to, and really had to get back, two weeks. But, the way I’m going, not being stupid about anything, I’m going to let it be about a month.”

– After you heal up are you pursuing going overseas for training with anyone?
“Yeah, I’ve been offered by a few clubs to come and train with them for the off-season?

– Who?
“Such as a couple of clubs in England and all that and a couple in Germany. Nott’s County for one has invited me down, and a couple of bigger clubs. But until the injury comes round I ignore it. I’m just trying to get myself right and get ready for the DC pre-season, to be ready for that.

– What are you looking to personally improve over the off-season?
“Yeah, of course there are a lot of things. For me I want to be a lot stronger, a lot fitter, a lot faster, and all that. Last pre-season I think it worked pretty good, and I’m just trying to keep doing it . . . just trying to get into a bit of shape to compete at high levels. I worked with a guy back in New Zealand who was fantastic, and I’m going to work with him when I go back (on vacation).

– Once Eddie Pope went off to the World Cup you stepped in and became arguably the best defender on the team. Are you going into next season expecting to be a starter even though you got a lot of good competition – Pope, Reyes, Prideaux, McKinley.
“Of course! It’s the competitive nature of a player. I think at the start of the season I was playing well. It’s just the coaches saw it differently, and that happens in any club – coaches see differently. When I got the opportunity, they saw that I could play. I hope I’ve proved myself to them that I can play. But, I’m going to be working hard to prove that because there are some obviously good players here.”

– Coach Hudson said that he wants to go with a 3-back line. Are you more comfortable with 3 or 4 in the back?
“I like playing in a 3(-back) . . . I like playing in a 4(-back) . . . It doesn’t really bother me at all. With a three you’ve got to have it organized. I think that was the problem at the start when you had Brandon, Eddie, and Milton who aren’t “organizers.” They are just man-on-man great defenders. That’s not their strength in organizing, while that is my biggest strength – organizing defenses. That’s probably why it went well when I got in there because I organized around.”
“I don’t care if they play 2 . . . I don’t care if they play 8 in the back. As long as you have a good system where everybody knows their job and their role, it’s easy to organize and easy to work it out. If you throw five people back there and don’t tell anyone anything it’s going to be a joke.”

– What’s your contract status?
“The league has an option. It’s like communism. They pretty much control everything. The contract I’m under I’m not really too happy with it. When come back next year I’m looking to get my green card so that’s money I’ve got to pay out of my own pocket as well – and that’s a lot of money to get it. At the moment I’m not really too happy with my contract.”

– Are you looking to make a move overseas?
“Obviously I can make a move anytime I want if I’m free. But, I love it here at DC. Everything is going good – blah, blah, blah – I’m enjoying it. Like I said, under my current situation I’m not too happy. And I’d like to think with what I gave DC this year, the coaches would see it, and understand it, and will address it with me instead of me coming to them kind of scenario.”

– Although you’re a player and you don’t make the decisions, what area does the team need to improve? Is it only on the field? Are there problems in the locker room?
“There’s definitely no problems in the locker room, it’s real good. What we need are hard working players. This league . . . personally I think this league is at such a good standard that you can’t carry players, you just can’t. No competitive league in the world plays with a player that can’t defend. You look at any league in England, any league in Germany, any league in Italy, if a team wants to get there, they just can’t carry players. I think the past couple of years we’ve been carrying players. The teams are just too good. I think you’ll find the teams that are playing with players that can’t defend are going anywhere – they’re not getting championships. I think guys like Cienfuegoes in LA are getting on the way out. I think LA understands that they need 10 hard working players. I think New England is a prime example of that. They had no superstars. They had players like Ralston – one of the hardest working players in the league. Look how they got going with no real superstars. That’s how it’s been with every team I’ve been on. They had 10 hard working players on the field at all times, and it’s always been a success.”

Asst. Coach John Trask
– What, if anything, was learned from the trip to England?
“I think the feeling of the team was excellent. It was the same for some of the big games during the season – there’s still a spirit in this team, DC United, a tradition that they want to go out and show well. That’s always a positive. Also, just seeing the recovery of Ben Olsen. He’s getting closer to international status again. And some of the other guys played very well. We were pleased with the way Jaime played. It was great seeing Santino back out on the field. Obviously having Jeff Agoos and Wade Barrett helped in the back. It was a great experience for everybody.”

– Before the trip you mentioned that you wanted to see intensity from the team even though it was only a friendly. Was that intensity there?
“Yeah, from my point of view, the work we put in with Greg Petrosian (Fitness Coach) in the last couple of weeks, the mental and physical fitness levels seemed to be much sharper. Dave Kasper mentioned to me that the guys just looked more powerful. I think that’s directly related to some of the training we’ve been doing for the last couple of weeks. The guys are starting to buy into it.”
“Obviously it’s easy to get motivated to play in Tottenham with 27,000 thousand people, on a perfect pitch, on a beautiful night, and playing the game for all the right reasons – for their past players who might have fallen on hard times. It was just a great evening and a great week of training over there. It was well put together.

– You took Wade Barrett, who is out of contract, on the trip. Is there any interest in signing him to DCUnited?
“I actually kidding Frankie (Yallup) how much Ray loved Wade Barrett and how much we’d love to get him. He said, ‘You had him for one game, don’t ever ask him for more than that.’ No, Frankie rates him very high. He’s all the right things about young American players – he works hard, he’s disciplined, he takes care of himself. He’s just a super young man – very articulate. He was a joy to have on the trip.”

– What about Ginola? Is DCUnited pursuing him actively?
“I don’t really have any comments on those types of players. Obviously he’s still a very gifted football player. He looked to be a few pounds over weight, but you never lose that ability. I think he’s only 34 years old. And he’s still a tremendously talented player.”

– Ryan Nelsen said that he’s not happy with his current contract. From the coaches’ perspective how important is he to DCUnited?
“In terms of his contract . . . I train the players, I don’t get involved in the business side of things. You’d have to talk to Dave Kasper or Ray Hudson on those sorts of things.”
“Yeah, Ryan is an important part of the team. We really like him. The league really likes him. He’s a great young man to have here – a New Zealand international. He’s the type of player who has had the opportunity to play over here, where maybe he couldn’t have gotten the games in Europe and developed. I would imagine that it is in his dreams to someday go to Europe, as with all players in this county. Right now we feel good about Ryan. He’s someone in that corps of players that we want to build the team around in the future.”

– With Mapp, Convey, and Quaranta, did you see any specific development of their game over the past season?
“I’ve known Bobby Convey since he was 15 years old – I was with the U-17 National Team – and I’ve watched Santino and Justin from a distance. It’s just ongoing. I don’t think we’re doing anything special with them. I’m just trying to tweak them a little bit with the U-20’s coming up for Thomas (Rongen). It’s going to be a big key for the country to do well in the qualifying in the U-20’s down in Charleston, South Carolina.”
“We’re just trying to continue to progress them as we would with any young player. That’s part of the role with coaching in this league. You don’t just worry about the superstars, or the kids that come out of college, or someone you’ve picked up out of A-League at 25 years old. Part of our responsibility is to develop young American players.”
“If you watched training today, these three young players are extremely gifted players. The coaches from Tottenham couldn’t stop talking about Bobby during training. They really rated him very highly. It was nice to see them rate a young American that highly. And of course, Benny Olsen, he was the last one brought forward by Bruce Arena and Thomas Rongen, and continues to escalate his game. He looks to be coming back well off this injury.”

Practice Notes & Quotes 10-11-02

Attendance:
G – Rimando, Hoffard (Charleston Battery – A-League)
D – Reyes, McKinley, Pope
M – Etcheverry, Convey, Williams, Olsen, Alegria, Quintinilla, Mapp, Swinehart (Charlotte Eagle – A-League), Broder (Atlanta Silverbacks – A-League)
F – Lassiter, Curtis, Quaranta

Notes:
Apparently there was a note-worthy scrap between players on Tuesday’s practice. No details were given.

It is possible that the “old Moreno” came out of his closet for this week’s practice. He along with Quaranta, fired several goals throughout the week. Today Moreno scored several times, both power and touch, during the inter squad scrimmage.

Obviously the players that are going to England are anxious to get underway. Likewise, those that are being left behind due to money limits or injuries are bummed that they can’t make the trip.

Practice started out “normal.” As the team did their warm up laps Moreno bulldogged Reyes down onto the ground . . . into the wet . . . the only muddy puddle available.

The team will return next Friday and resume practices on Monday, October 21st.

Quotes:
Asst Coach John Trask
What are the goals for the trip to England?
“Hopefully some of the things we’ve done here in the off-season will carry over in the match. It’s going to be intense for a lot of our players who are coming off the season. We’re not going to be as match fit as they (Tottenham) are, but we are looking to have a good run. It should be a fun game, more a friendly game and not that intensity where people are attacking and tackling over the top of balls I just think it’s going to be a great day for DC United and the league. MLS can show off some of it talent.”

Even though it’s a friendly, are you look at specific players to see if their mental attitude, their intensity, has improved from last season?
“Definitely! . . . Definitely! I think Ray Hudson is going to be watching with a sharp eye to see how some guys have come along. It’s going to be great. Santino will be back, we didn’t have him at the end of the season. Jaime is moving very well. We’re nursing a couple of injuries. Other than that, the guys seem to be in great spirits, and really looking forward to getting on the plane tomorrow morning.”

Are you going to be able to judge the improvement in the younger players?
“Yeah, I think definitely. You look at Santino, and you look at Bobby, those two kids had a chance to play against Bayer Leverkusen last year, and if you look at the tape of that game, and even if it’s not being played like a World Cup match, there’s still quality and a pride factor for any player when they’re on the pitch when they’re at that level. Hopefully we can get Justin Mapp in and give him a run and see how he does with the speed of play. That’s going to be the biggest thing. I think the speed of play when you watch the English Premier League on TV, that’s where they are more advanced than we are. And that’s what separates players at the highest levels. That’s what makes guys capable of playing for Bruce (Arena) on the National Team rather than just playing for their MLS team, which players can play at that speed and focus for long periods of time.

Are you happy with the level of progress of the team since the end of the regular season?
“Yes. I’ve been with the team since we started up again. We included a strength and conditioning coach, Greg Petrosian, who has been doing some great work with the guys, and it seems to be paying off. I don’t think we’re 90-minutes match fit like we would be in the season, games provide that. But, considering our training environment, and what the guys have put into it, I think we’re going to put in a good showing over there. I’m really looking forward to it. I’m looking forward to it for the players. Players thrive in an environment where it’s competitive. The quality is out there and training has been good for the last two weeks, and I think it will carry over to England, and we’ll show some very good things. Whether we can sustain it for 90-minutes, I’m not sure of that.”

Obviously the game will showcase DCUnited players to EPL scouts. On the other hand, are you and Coach Hudson looking at any Tottenham players, or the invited players?
“One nice thing about all the players who have come in to train with us, from Paul Dalglish to Paul Gascgoine, have told us point blank that this is a club where they’d like to be. So I think that speaks volumes of DC United and the tradition, and what people think of the club. And I guess the way Ray approaches the game that players are excited to play for him. ‘Gazza’ speaks all the time about wanting to come over and play for DC United, and we’re hearing that a lot out of players over there, which is a great sign.”
“I think the main thing Ray is doing right now is identifying what the market can bear for certain players right now. I don’t think he’s identified any one or two players right now. He and Dave Kasper, the technical director, are taking a look and seeing what’s out there because the landscape across Western Europe, and South America, for that matter, has completely changed because of the economics. And there are players today that would be available for the beginning of our season that were not around a year or two ago on the present day dollars MLS has to spend.”

Bryan Namoff
You are in an awkward position because you belong to two teams. Do you expect that to change next year?
“Yes, I was on loan to Richmond, but now I’m back. So, that was it. I believed that . . . I’m here until whether or not I stay here, or I get traded.”

Are you going to demand that that situation changes? Would you accept being on the Reserve Squad again?
“Yeah, I’m not going to do that again. I’m not going to go back and forth because it’s just too taxing. Your loyalties are split . . . you’re on two different teams and that’s not how it should work.”

Do you have a preference between starting in Richmond, or your role with DCUnited?
“I like playing down there playing defensive midfield, and getting 90-minutes a game. In that sense I liked it. But no, I’d like to be in MLS at the highest level.

What are you going to talk about with Coach Hudson about the situation?
“Basically find out if I’m in his future. If I’m not . . . then I need to look at other options.

Would that include possibly asking for a trade within MLS?
“Yeah, because I want to stay at the highest level.

What plans do you have for off-season training? Anything overseas?
“It’s in the works. They are trying to get me over somewhere. I know that John Trask is pushing to get me in the Project 40 trip. I think it’s going to Germany. I think that would be a great opportunity for me just to go over there and play in other countries.”

What are you working on personally in the off-season?
“If they see me as a defender – I’ve never played there until this year, not having trained there, not knowing where to go tactically – I have to watch a lot of games. I have to learn where to go tactically and positioning – right position at the right time – things like that.”

Practice Notes & Quotes 10-07-02

Attendance:
G – Rimando, McGinty, (Charleston Battery)
D – Reyes
M – Etcheverry, Convey, Williams, Olsen, Alegria, Quintinilla, Mapp, Judah Cooks
F – Lassiter, Curtis, Quaranta

Invitees include Jordy Broder (Atlanta Silverbacks – A-League), Abdul (local from Sierra Leone),
Dustin Swinehart (forward/midfielder – Charlotte Eagles – A-League)
– 1st Team All A-League (2001)
– (3x) A-League Player of the Week (2001)
– (4x) A-League Team of the Week (2001)
– In 2001 – GP – 27, Goals – 10, Assists – 6, Points – 26

Todd Hoffard (GK – Charleston Battery – A-League)
From Charleston Battery website (www.charlestonbattery.com)
“ . . . he started his indoor career at the Harrisburg Heat in 1995 and was named to the All Rookie All Star Team. He spent the 1997-98 season with NPSL Champion Cleveland Crunch and signed with the Philadelphia Kixx in 1999. He also played outdoors in the USL D3 Pro League during this period, playing with the Albany Alleycats in 1996 and the next three years with the Reading Rage.”
In 2001 – GP – 5 (3W/1L/1D), Shutouts – 4, Goals Against – 1

Etcheverry came out to the practice field and participated in the last half.
Moreno was excused for personal business.
Namoff is expected to return to the team tomorrow.
Villegas was excused for illness.
Prideaux, McKinley, Nelsen, Alavanja are all on the healing block, and still at their respective homes.

Notes:
Again a large part of the practice was with Fitness Coach Petrosian. 10-yard wind sprints seemed to be the key exercise throughout – front, side, backwards, sprint & header, sprint, spin & sprint, etc.

Q1 seems to be hampered with groin strain. Several times throughout practice he grabbed that area and winced in pain. Also, at the end of practice physio Rick Guter and Q1 were attempting to massage the pain.

Convey is actually anxious to increase his level of fitness training.

Williams actually made a beautiful run during the inter squad scrimmage. He deftly touched the ball around a couple of defenders and as he bore down on goal, his own player stepped in and stripped the ball away. Williams continued his run to the far post where he was rewarded with a return pass, which he tucked away neatly.

Quotes:
Asst Coach John Trask
Coach Hudson said that he believes this team will play with 3 defenders. With McKinley, Pope, Prideaux, Reyes, and Nelsen you can argue that they would be part of the ‘Best XI’ for DCUnited. How are all five going to fit into the plan next season? Will Reyes and/or Nelsen learn defensive midfield roles during the off-season?
“I think if Ray had his druthers, probably he’d like to play 3 in the back with 5 in the midfield – a bit like some people said we played a 3-6-1 in Miami last year. I think if you look at the successful teams in the league, a team like LA, is Ezra Hendrickson a right back, or a right midfielder? It’s kind of a skewed 3 or 4, depending on how you want to call it.”
“We’re not as worried about a system of play as we are about personalities that we need on the field. If that means we can line up three in the back to get our strengths in the midfield, add the extra players and play the type of soccer we want to play, then that’s what I think you’ll see. If we’re in a situation where injuries, or we just feel we’re going to be stronger with a four man back, which could be on the road, we’d continue to look at that.”
“We have great versatility in Benny and Bobby in our wide midfielder slots, and Justin Mapp coming up. Both of those kids can play – I’m sure they’d rather play in a 4-4-2 where they have protection behind them – both of them have the range where they can play in a 3-5-2.”

Similarly you’ve got 3 kids in the midfield that can either go on the left or in the middle – Convey, Quintinilla, or Mapp. Convey was effective towards the end of the year centrally. Is it possible that he will slip into the middle and either Mapp or Quintinilla take over on the left?
“Yeah, that’s one of the nice things that came out of end of the year having Benny back, and having that driving force on the right side, so it wasn’t always Milton’s job to come from such a deep position to give us width on the right side, it allowed us to do some things with Bobby. Early in the season we had to play Bobby on the left. He was our one real wide threat, and with Benny coming back, we were able to move Bobby inside. There were a lot of parts that we really liked. Whether that will be the case going forward I’m not sure.”
“Justin Mapp is an extremely talented left sided midfielder. He is truly a left sided midfielder. If and when we decide that Bobby would move inside because Justin is ready to play on that left side, that may put our best eleven on the field. Justin would probably need a bit more cover on that side. But the thing we like about Ivan, Brandon, and Milton, and those guys, is that they are capable tactically to skew it a little bit.”
“We never really got into rhythm this year in terms of how we wanted to organize our eleven with all the injuries. But I think when the end of the came on you started to see how we would like it to look.”
“And we also learned that Milton Reyes is extremely versatile. He’s been a right back his entire life, but the opportunity to have him in a man marker role, whether it’s on the left side, right side, or in the middle of the field, is a great strength.”
“Hopefully Eddie will continue – we’ve been working him hard on his leadership qualities – will continue. Usually at that age it happens. With a man marker like Eddie, around 29 or 30-years old, with the experiences he’s had in the game, he will mature and become a bit more cerebral and more of a communicator to those people around him, to the younger players, and give us a more solid back line, much like Jeff Agoos did for San Jose, and much like Carlos Llamosa has provided for New England – just that little bit of stability and mental side of the game. Eddie has all the physical abilities, that was quite evident in the World Cup. We just want to see him take that next step in the development of his game. I would imagine the National program wants to see that too.”

Are you getting the feeling from the younger players that they matured to the point where they are saying, ‘Start me, or trade me to someone who will!’?
“No, I don’t think that’s so much it. Eliseo was playing quite a bit when we brought him in, and did very well for a player of his age. Justin Mapp, coming out of the U-17 program, just needed to get used to the speed of play, the size, and the toughness, and the mental focus.”
“You can get away with mistakes when you’re still considered a youth player. I think we saw that the last couple of years in Bobby Convey making some mistakes. But to be a solid wide play in this league, on par with the ‘Chungie’s’ (Mark Chung), Henderson’s, and Ralston’s, it’s the ability to do it on both sides of the ball – to impact the game, to get assists, to get the occasional goal for your team, but to make sure you’re not vulnerable going the other way. That’s just part of the learning curve with young players.”
“I think with Justin from day one has understood that he has some things he has some things to learn. Everyday I see improvement in the young man. Is it to the point where I think, ‘Oh boy, we’re looking at him in the starting lineup for next year!’ I don’t think he wants that verification. Yeah, I know he doesn’t want to go into next year looking at playing 29 minutes like this year. But he knows he’ll play when he’s ready to play. It’s up to him to prove to Ray and the coaching staff that he’s ready to take on that challenge. We feel great about him. A lot of people question about that draft pick, but we’re very comfortable with where we drafted Justin Mapp, and who we have as a player.”
“Going forward, how that plays out, time will tell. Whether it’s Bobby to the interior, and Justin starting out wide . . . Possibly later in a match, after Bobby’s played wide for 60 minutes, we give Justin that last 30 minutes – he’s kind of a game breaker type of player. I think we saw that in San Jose and in the New York game at home. He’s capable of getting to the end line and making things happen, and we love that about him.”
“We’re lucky we have three American players that we feel – Bobby, Santino, and Justin – not only do they hold their own, but they are capable of going out there and breaking open a game. It speaks volumes of the quality of these kids, all 20-years or younger. You’ll see it in the Under 20’s qualifying that they are three players that Thomas Rongen and our National program are really depending on to get us through qualification.”

Even though Coach Hudson said there would be changes, with the defense, and with these younger players, would you be comfortable going into next season if changes can’t be made?
“I’d like to defer that to Ray Hudson. My feeling is that we came in tenth place, and you can blame a lot of different things. The bottom line is that this was a last place team. It’s three years out of the playoffs. I think some changes have to occur. Whether it’s just for the psyche of the rest of the players that are here . . .that they feel like going into next season thinking, ‘Wow, these guys aren’t standing pat and hoping it’s all going to all come back together.’ I think that’s what Ray was saying pretty early in the season. He sees it. I think both of us, with the success we had in Miami, we had to make some very big changes there to get the right people on the field.”
“Soccer is a very, very subjective game in terms of looking at players. How Ray wants to play, we need to have certain players here. And they may not be a good fit for some other teams. There may be players that do well for other teams that don’t do well for us. That’s the nature of the beast in soccer. Ray Hudson has a keen eye for what he’s looking for, not only from individual players, but what he expects from his team.”
“And we fell short. There’s no hiding that this year.”
“Ray is a firm believer that it’s a players’ game. We can talk, we can show video, we can train, but the bottom line is that it is the quality of players when they enter the field that are going to dictate what type of team we have. We didn’t feel that we were strong enough this year.”

Just to tie everything together, you’ve got the potential players here – Pope’s leadership, the young players – can the change come from within the team, or must outside players be brought in to make the change?
“Well, the type of players you’re talking about right there – Benny is a game breaker, Ryan Nelsen showed to be a very solid defender, and capable of scoring some goals for us – I think the beauty of MLS is bringing in those ‘gems’ as Ray Hudson would say, those couple of players, whether they are on the team right now and we need to get them more fit, or we need to bring in some new ones, those are the players that accentuate the team. They take Bobby Convey to the next level. It’s the brilliance of Preki, the one touch ball of Carlos Valderamma that makes everything happen. That’s what we’re looking for. Whether we have that in the side right now, that fine. To think that Benny Olsen is going to become our attacking midfielder, I don’t think that’s in the cards. He’s a right-sided midfielder, and a very talented one, and a very important part of this team – as is Bobby Convey, as is Ryan Nelsen, as is Brandon Prideaux. But to give them one or two more special players is really what Ray is trying to do.”
“I think that’s why we had success in Miami. We had existing players such as Pablo Masteroeni, whose now gone on to bigger and better things, Tyrone Marshall, Lazo Alavanja, Jay Heeps, but it was by bringing in the Ian Bishop’s, Preki, and Chacon that took Jimmy Rooney’s game to that next level. And I think you can see that now Jimmy is trying to play in New England without Bishop. He’s a good player, but he’s not nearly as effective as he was when Ian Bishop was playing next to him.”
“That’s why you pay those foreign players, and that’s why you bring them in. You look at how Santino’s has been brought along by Jaime and Marco. It’s a great thing in this league. And most of the foreign players in this league, minus a couple, seem to take great joy in helping the development of the American player.”
“I as a coach can say anything I want to a player in training. But when a Marco Etcheverry, who brings the label of a world-class player, reconfirms what I’m telling a player, or brings a kid over to the side during a water break and gives him a little bit of fine tuning that maybe he’s not going to hear on the soccer field, maybe something that a typical American soccer player won’t know, it’s worth its weight in gold. Those players hang on every word. It’s great! The influence Preki had on our team last year in Miami on the team in the training ground, in the locker room – talking to younger players, keeping their heads right, keeping them focused, making them realize what being a pro is – how you treat yourself, how you treat your responsibilities – you can never over look that.”

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.”

Practice Notes & Quotes 10-01-02

Attendance:
G – Rimando, McGinty, Henson (D3 NoVA Royals)
D – Pope, Reyes
M – Etcheverry, Convey, Olsen, Williams, Alegria, Mapp, Villegas
F – Lassiter, Moreno, Curtis

Prideaux at home in KC. Nelsen worked out with weights, but not at practice. McKinley in FL. Quintinilla in El Salvador. Zambrano in Columbia. Namoff given time off after A-League Championship in Chicago. Alavanja in Indiana.

Two foreign players invited to work out in practice. Local players from Sierra Leon, Abdul and Albert (last name unknown), will practice with the team for a couple of days – no, nothing to it.

Quotes
Nick Rimando
What will you be working on over the off-season?
“The off-season? . . . Relaxing . . . . Nothing . . . I try to think about the game as little as possible for the first couple of weeks. Once we’re back into it the usual for goalkeepers is a lot of footwork, a lot of handling, and then you get into the pre-season and that’s where you best react.”

Are you looking for some off-season training at a club?
“I don’t know. We’ll see what falls into my hands. I’d like to, then again I don’t – I don’t want to think about the game for a little while. Come early December, maybe I’ll go somewhere to work on my game a little. If it comes, it comes. That’s fine.”

Any truth to the rumor that you might be going to the EPL on loan?
“Keep spreading that rumor! (laugh) . . . Really? No, I haven’t heard that one yet.”


Santino Quaranta
What will you be concentrating on in the off-season?
“Just next season, pretty much. I’ve got other stuff going on with the under 20’s, and this. We’ve got a lot of stuff going . . . it’s not like a typical off-season. So, I’m just focusing on getting ready for next season mainly.”
“I’ve got goals for myself to come in and be ready, and to be healthy. I definitely want to come in healthy next year.”

Any particular part of your game you want to improve?
“Finishing and being able to stay fit.”

Can you give any details about training or loan in England during the off-season?
“I don’t think they’re trying to get me there. They (Sunderland) invited me over, so I’m going to head on over for some training. It’s not something that DC wants me to do, I want to do it.”

It’s being done through your agent?
“Yeah.”

When?
“Right after Thanksgiving. So I’m going to finish all this stuff here with the Under 20’s and this team, and head in over there.”

John Trask
What is the ‘game plan’ for the team over the next couple of months?
“We’re going to get into some strength training here pretty quickly – try to build some strength. There were a few too many muscle injuries this year. When we change over the coaching staff were going to have the ‘Strength and Conditioning’ Coach much more active than he has in the past.”
“We’re going to go possibly until the early of November, then give the guys a break. The ones in town will be working with him. The others will get a program to do on their own wherever they go. A lot want to go and train with teams, such as ‘Chino’ Alegria going back to Peru. Jaime may possibly go back to Bolivia. I know Benny would like to go to back to Europe. We’ve got quite a few players involved with the Under 20’s qualifying, which goes to the middle of November. And also there’s a Project 40 trip until early December. Then Santino has an opportunity to possibly to go overseas and train. We may look into that for Bobby Convey too. We’ve got a lot of different irons in the fire with the existing players.”
“As Ray stated there will probably be some changes in the squad going into next year.”
“The off-season is important we think in just changing the mind set of where we were as the 10th place team. It just wasn’t acceptable. It happens here on the practice field.”

Do you try to maintain what you have until the New Year, or start making those mental changes now? If you’re going to have squad changes wouldn’t building a different mentality need to be done again if new players are coming into the squad?
“Definitely you’re looking to implement some changes just in the mind set. I know it’s difficult without the head coach here, but I do quite a bit for Ray anyways.”
“Tactically, the activities we did today stress once we’re up by a goal, such as the Dallas game, to hold the goal. And the just mind set of that you can put into training sessions. It’s not perfect, but we’ll do a lot of things like that, just tweaking the nature of the training to try get the thought process that when we’re up, we’ve got to stay up. Far too many times we gave up a lead this year, and then we’re chasing our tails. There’s no reason for that. Tactically we need to be sound enough, just like Chicago the other night when they got their 2-1 lead against New England, it didn’t ever look like the outcome was in doubt because of the seasoned pros they had – Nowak, Stoitchov – they just killed off the game. We’ve got to become more savvy in that respect. Yeah, we’ll take our second goal, we’ll go up two goals if it’s possible. But the key thing is that we have our goal, and we need to be able to sit on that lead. The good teams anywhere in the world are capable of doing that.”

If personnel changes are going to be made, do you think they’ll be made immediately, or wait until the beginning of next year – possible as late as the start of the season?
“The timing of it I’m not sure. I think Ray is a big believer that when you bring in ‘class’ into the team, even if you bring it in a bit late, it’s not going to make a big difference. I know when we made major changes with the Fusion, it was the middle of February before we got everybody in, and we still had a 6-week period before the season. That’s the best-case scenario. It would be great to have these players in right now for training and to get them acclimated, but that’s just not the timing of the way the league works.”
”Ray’s out there scouring Europe looking to see if there are players to make DC United a better team.”