We had so much success with bum-rushing Dan Califf in Switzerland, we decided to give it a go here in Jo’Burg. And who would tonight's unsuspecting victim be? Mr. Jonathan Spector. After tricking him into entering the U.S. Soccer Mobile Communications Center, we started winging questions at him. Here’s what followed:
ussoccer.com: What were you doing right before we grabbed you in the hallway at 10:15 at night?
Jonathan Spector: “Getting treatment on my quad. I managed to get two dead legs in the same quad on consecutive days.”
ussoccer.com: How’s it feeling?
JS: “A little better. I got the expert Bruce Snell massage [Bruce is one of two trainers on the trip]. Should be fine.”
ussoccer.com: You were involved in a controversial decision this past weekend where a shot you took kinda sorta went in off of Eddie Lewis. Some people thought you should be credited; others – including the official scorer – called it an own goal on Eddie. So what’s worse: Eddie getting stuck with an own goal or you not getting credit?
JS: “I think it’s a conspiracy against Americans to upset both of us! I did an interview with Match of the Day afterwards. They said ‘one American scored today – which one was it?’
ussoccer.com: Why do the English press and fans seem to hate England manager Steve McClaren so much?
JS: I don’t think it matters who the manager is, they are going to hate him. I don’t understand it. They love to criticize. Everyone over there is the “expert.”
ussoccer.com: What’s one of your indulgences you don’t like people to know about? (Which of course, they will now…)
JS: On the bus going to our games, it’s amazing the amount of chocolate bars we eat. Say we are going from London to Birmingham. It takes three hours to get there, mostly because we always leave at rush hour. Explain that! Anyway, when you’re bored you eat, and for some reason there are always chocolate bars around. The average player consumes 2-3 per bus ride. Fortunately I can hold myself to one a trip.”
ussoccer.com: Do you own any bling?
JS: “No, I don’t spend much money on jewelry. There is certainly a lot of it floating around this team though. I won’t say who, but I did see a diamond grill (shaking his head).”
ussoccer.com: Is bling an American phenomenon?
JS: In England it’s massive. American culture is so big there. It’s way worse on my club team than it is here.”
ussoccer.com: Do you know what the current exchange rate is between the British Pound and the U.S. Dollar?
JS: “2.06 to 1.”
ussoccer.com: Favorite or most often used movie quote?
JS: I do quote movies quite a bit, and I can’t think of one right now. Must be the altitude.
Coincidentally, I rented Goodbye Bafana a couple weeks. I didn’t know what it was about; I had just heard that it was a good movie. It’s all about the life of Nelson Mandela. Great film.”
ussoccer.com: What’s the craziest experience you’ve had at a game?
JS: We were playing at Fenerbache. It seemed like every other person in the stadium had a flare. The fans were whistling non-stop, this screeching whistle. I’ve never heard anything like it. My ears were ringing an hour after the game.”
ussoccer.com: You’ve done hundreds of interviews in your life. If you had the chance, what would you ask a reporter back?
JS: “That’s a good question.”
ussoccer.com: Thank you.
JS: I’d be interested to hear what their candid opinion is on the questions they are asking me. A lot of times what they are writing and they are thinking are two different things. For example, in England the press can be overly critical of their players. I’m curious if they think that is hurting or helping the sport in their country. I’d also be curious why they just flat out make up stories sometimes.”
ussoccer.com: Not that were searching for acceptance or anything, but what’s your favorite thing on ussoccer.com?
JS: “I have to be honest. I like Neil Buethe’s Studio 90 interviews. He just seems so happy to be there. You can tell that when he was a kid, he wanted to grow up and be a journalist. No matter how the interview is going, Neil never ceases to entertain.”
ussoccer.com: Are you a good typer?
JS: “Why, do you want me type the rest of this?”
ussoccer.com: Well, since you offered …
JS: I’d like to think I’m a good typer. I learned in computer class in sixth grade. I didn’t actually mind school. I’m not sure if that makes me un-cool or not.”
ussoccer.com: Speaking of school, you started playing pro at a very young age. Do you ever regret not continuing your education?
JS: “I certainly don’t regret it. The experiences I have had are amazing compared to most people my age. I would have liked to have the college experience. I was pretty close to going. I visited a bunch of schools: Boston College, Notre Dame, UVa, and Princeton. I was at Princeton right when A Beautiful Mind came out, so it was cool to see the campus. But I wouldn’t trade what I have done.”
ussoccer.com: Are you sorry you let us drag you in here?
JS: “I’ll tell you after I read it.”