Saturday, January 31, 2009

Pictures from Today's Hot Morning Training

Here are some photos from today's training session. As usual, head to to check out the rest. Or just click here.

Howard and Everton Fall to League Leaders

Tim Howard and Everton put in a valiant effort but ended up on the wrong side of a 1-0 defeat against high-flying Manchester United. A Ronaldo penalty was the difference between the two sides, though Howard kept his team in the game by making seven saves. Next up for the Toffees is a Fourth Round FA Cup replay against bitter rivals Liverpool. Be sure to check back here on Wednesday for the highlights of that game from Goodison Park.

Liege at Top with Win

Standard Liege and Oguchi Onyewu kept up their good form in Belgium with a 3-0 win over Roeselare. The win keeps Liege at the top of the table, two points ahead of Anderlecht, who still has a game in hand.

Ask Brian Ching

Your turn folks!

We're taking questions for U.S. forward Brian Ching, who played an instrumental role in the USA's 3-2 win on Jan. 24 against Sweden. Ching earned the foul that set up Sacha Kljestan's free kick, then magnificently took down a long ball from Danny Califf and teed up Kljestan for his third goal.

Ching is no stranger to finding the back of the net on his own, scoring four goals in World Cup qualifying last year to equal the team best in 2008.

Submit your questions and we'll sift through the best for Brian.

Saturday Session

Only one session on the field today as the team continues to get back in the swing of things. After the warm-up, the team played the 'box' game. From there, it was straight into a full-field exercise. The field was divided into four sections, and the only rule was once you gained possession in one section, you could not play the ball backwards into a section behind you. Hopefully that makes sense; if not, you''ll be seeing it for yourself in the next installment of "Inside the Lines" later this evening.

The only news from this morning's session was the absence of Stuart Holden, who is still dealing with tightness in his right hip flexor.

Studio 90 News Update

The MNT is back in camp (the WNT is still here too), which means Studio 90 News is back as well. Check out short interviews with Frankie Hejduk and Abby Wambach below:

Friday, January 30, 2009

Pictures from Today's Make-You-Jealous Training

Well, today was beautiful - close to 80 degrees. It's probably not the best weather to train in (that would be the rainy, cold variety) but it's definitely the best weather for watching training. And taking pictures. Here are a few of today's shots:Head over to to catch the rest of them. Or click here.

The Three Amigos

Chivas USA has donated three players to participate in some of the U.S. training sessions this week in the form of Jim Curtin, Jesse Marsch and Carey Talley. Each of the trio each has experience being part of national team camps, and Marsch has two appearances for the full team. The three will be splitting time between the U.S. and Chivas USA preseason throughout the next week. That's what we call double duty...

One Down

The team resumed training today after a five-day hiatus, and it was back to business as usual. Warm-ups, technical work, fitness ... it's like they never left!

Sacha is sporting a new look, Frankie is Frankie, and overall you can already see that the group is starting to get mentally focused for what lies ahead. A photo gallery and a Studio 90 News Update are on the way...

Thursday, January 29, 2009

In Honor of Frankie

In honor of our coffee-swilling, surfing-loving, Bob Marley-quoting right back and his return to camp, here's a look back at the interview we did last year with the two-time World Cup veteran. No better guy to have in the locker room than 'Dukes' ...

And We're Back...

After short break, the team gets back into camp today. Some guys went home, while others hung around in the sun for the few days off. The roster of 20 features many players who took part in the Sweden game, with one notable inclusion: defender Frankie Hejduk. The World Cup veteran joins up with the team and will begin training tomorrow. The team will train in Carson for nine days before departing on Feb. 7 for Columbus. The guys are trickling in to the team hotel, and we'll be back later with all the goings on from Southern California...

U.S. Men’s National Team Roster By Position
GOALKEEPERS (3): Jon Busch (Chicago Fire), Will Hesmer (Columbus Crew), Matt Pickens (Colorado Rapids)
DEFENDERS (5): Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA), Frankie Hejduk (Columbus Crew), Ugo Ihemelu (Colorado Rapids), Chris Wingert (Real Salt Lake), Marvell Wynne (Toronto FC)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Brian Carroll (Columbus Crew), Ricardo Clark (Houston Dynamo), Eddie Gaven (Columbus Crew), Stuart Holden (Houston Dynamo), Jack Jewsbury (Kansas City Wizards), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA), Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew), John Thorrington (Chicago Fire)
FORWARDS (4): Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo), Kenny Cooper (FC Dallas), Charlie Davies (Hammarby IF), Chris Rolfe (Chicago Fire)

Pachuca Downed in Santiago

José Torres and Pachuca fell 1-0 to Universidad de Chile in the first leg of the Copa Libertadores preliminary round on Wednesday. Torres started for Pachuca, who will have to make up the one goal deficit in the return leg in Mexico next Wednesday.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Everton Draw with Arsenal

A late Robin Van Persie goal rendered honors even Goodison Park, as Tim Howard and Everton shared the points with visiting Arsenal. After the late slip, Everton have no time to rest, and they face the league leaders Manchester United on Saturday. Howard will suit up against his former club, while Everton look to improve on their sixth place standing in the league.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Fulham Stumble at Sunderland

Fulham and Clint Dempsey fell to a 1-0 defeat away to Sunderland on Tuesday, with T&T international Kenwyne Jones scoring the only goal of the game. Dempsey went the full 90 for the Cottagers, who will look to get back on track this coming weekend against Portsmouth.

Bayern Through to Next Round

Bayen Munich demolished VFB Stuttgart 5-1 in the DFB Pokal Cup on Tuesday. Landon Donovan entered the game as a second half sub, replacing Luca Toni in the 67th minute to make his competitive debut for Bayern. Up next for Bayern is a match against Hamburg on Saturday, as the Bundesliga commences its second half of the season.

Donovan Could Debut

Bayern Munich begin the second half of the season tonight, as they face VFB Stuttgart in a Cup match from the Mercedes-Benz Arena. Landon Donovan could be in line for his competitive debut tonight, as Bayern look to advance to the final 16 of Germany's cup competition. We'll try to put up some highlights here later today/tonight, so check back to see if Donovan makes his first official appearance for Bayern Munich.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Left Unsettled - Liverpool and Everton Will Meet Once More

Liverpool and Everton drew their fourth round FA Cup game 1-1, with Steven Gerrard canceling out Joleon Lescott's first half goal to force a replay to be held at Goodison Park. Meeting for the second time in the space of six days, Tim Howard and Everton put in a dogged defensive performance to ensure another meeting between the two sides, this time on the Toffee's home turf. On the back foot for much of the afternoon, Everton got a big performance from Howard, who made eight saves in the draw. The FA Cup 4th round replay will be held on Feb. 4.

Liege Leave it Late

Oguchi Onyewu and Standard Liege got a goal five minutes from time to earn a 1-0 victory over Westero in the Belgian League. Liege are still in second place, one point behind leaders Anderlecht.

Rennes into Final 16

Carlos Bocanegra and Rennes advanced to the last 16 of the Coupe de France with a 2-0 win over St. Etienne yesterday. Two goals from Jimmy Briand were the difference for Rennes, who get back to Ligue 1 action with a match against Toulouse next week.

Orozco and Torres Do Battle in Mexico

San Luis hosted Pachuca last night in Primera División action from Mexico. Michael Orozco went the full 90 for San Luis, but his team was on the losing end of a 2-1 scoreline. José Torres entered the game as a second half sub for Pachuca, who next face Universidad de Chile in their opening match of the Copa Libertadores.

Dempsey Gets Assist in Win

Clint Dempsey assisted on Fulham's first goal as the cottagers ran out to a 4-2 win over Kettering Town in the FA Cup. Dempsey played 90 minutes for Fulham, who have been drawn against Swansea in round five of the knockout tournament.

Watford to face Chelsea in FA Cup

Jay DeMerit scored the opening goal of Watford's 4-3 win over Crystal Palace in the FA Cup yesterday. Up next? Chelsea. Watford will host the London club on Feb. 14 in the 5th round of the touranment. Jay had some comments on the match, saying ""It's a tough game of course but this is what we play for. Ever since I've been here we've never been short of cup runs and it's always good to get in these situations.''

Here's DeMerit speaking to about the tie. Over at The Mirror, Jay says that the team hopes this can kick start a good run of form in the Championship, where things haven't been going so well for Watford.

Watch ( FA Cup 1/24/09 Watford v Crystal Palace in Sports Online | View More Free Videos Online at

A Brief Hiatus

After last night's exciting win over Sweden, the team is breaking for a few days. The team will reconvene later this week, as preparations for the Feb. 11 showdown begin in earnest. Who are we playing again? For now we'll leave you with some highlights from last nights game...We'll be back in a few days!

Press Conference after last night's game:

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Live Blog: USA vs. Sweden Pre-Game

5:25 PM - That's it for us here. Tune in to FSC or Galavision to catch the game as it gets underway in a few minutes...

5:20 PM - This is the first of a two game tour of California for Sweden. Their second game? Against Mexico in Oakland four days from now.

5:18 PM - That's it for the warmup, the teams are off the field as we're just a few minutes away from kickoff.

5:16 PM - wizardgirl asks if Jack Jewsbury will be involved tonight, but unfortunately the answer is no. He's one of four inactive players along with Holden, Pickens and Hesmer.

5:15 PM - The U.S. is finishing up their warmup with some shooting. The crowd behind the goal is enjoying it as they cheer each goal...Hopefully the guys save a few for during the game...

5:13 PM - One more score from today, as Carlos Bocanegra and Rennes beat St. Etienne 2-0 in the Coupe de France

5:11 PM - You may have read that Stuart Holden was a late scratch from the gameday roster. He suffered a mild hip flexor strain in training.

5:09 PM - Taking Care of Business is currently playing on the loundspeaker. A timeless classic.

5:05 PM - Some results from our U.S. internationals around the world include: Clint Dempsey and Fulham getting a 4-2 win over Kettering Town. Jay DeMerit scored the opening goal of Watford's 4-3 win over Crystal Palace. Both Watford and Fulham move on to the fifth round of the FA Cup...

5:03 PM - Those in attendance will include the Women's National Team, who is in camp at the HDC as well. Be sure to check out the WNT Blog for the happenings from their camp during January. They're preparing to go to Portugal for the Algarve Cup soon...

5:02 PM - 58 degrees out right now, with just a small chance of rain tonight. About 8,000 people are expected for tonight's game.

4:58 PM - By contrast, the U.S. starting eleven has 106 caps between them, with Brian Ching's 32 appearances leading the way.

4:55 PM - The Sweden starting lineup has 101 caps between them. If you take out captain Daniel Andersson's appearances, you're left with just 30 caps...

4:54 PM - And there's the U.S. team. As you noticed, the Starting XI for the U.S. has been posted...

4:51 PM - The Sweden team is out, and here's how they're starting: Dahlin; Johansson, Jonsson, Lindberg, von Schlebrügge; Dahl, Andersson (c), Holmén, Svensson; Dahlberg, Nannskog

4:50 PM - The goalkeepers are out for both teams. U.S. starter Troy Perkins is stretching in the 18-yard box, while his backup for tonight, Jon Busch, is warming up with a ball.

4:49 pm - Coming to you live from the HDC...we've settled in to our spot and hopefully the rain can hold off for a few hours!

Starting XI vs. Sweden

Here's how the U.S. will start tonight's game against Sweden:


Wynne--Parkhurst--Califf (c) ---Bornstein




  • Danny Califf captains the side tonight, his second time wearing the captain's armband for the United States

  • Robbie Rogers earns his first cap with the full team after appearing in all three matches in the 2008 Olympic Games

  • Jonathan Bornstein gets his second start in the 'January game', his first in the memorable 3-1 win against Denmark on Jan. 20, 2007, in which he scored the game-winning goal in his debut for the full team

Roster Reduced to 18 for Game Day

U.S. head coach Bob Bradley has revealed the names of the 18 men who will dress for tonight's match against Sweden. Stuart Holden was scratched from consideration after he suffered a mild hip flexor strain during yesterday's training, and is being kept out as a precaution. The 18-man game day roster:

GOALKEEPERS (2): Jon Busch (Chicago Fire), Troy Perkins (Valerenga IF)

DEFENDERS (6): Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA), Danny Califf (FC Midtjylland), Ugo Ihemelu (Colorado Rapids), Michael Parkhurst (FC Nordsjaelland), Chris Wingert (Real Salt Lake), Marvell Wynne (Toronto FC)

MIDFIELDERS (6): Brian Carroll (Columbus Crew), Ricardo Clark (Houston Dynamo), Eddie Gaven (Columbus Crew), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA), Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew), John Thorrington (Chicago Fire)

Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo), Kenny Cooper (FC Dallas), Charlie Davies (Hammarby IF), Chris Rolfe (Chicago Fire)

Check back in at 4:30 p.m. PT to find out who has been selected for the starting XI against Sweden.

Twitter Me This's Twitter feed has just surpassed the 500 followers mark. Woo! For those of you that use twitter, is a great way to keep up with all the news and links coming out of camp. For those of you that don't use twitter, well now you have an excuse to sign up!

Oh, and if you poke around there before the game tonight, you just might see the U.S. lineup before anybody else does...

Studio 90 News for Gameday

The latest from The Home Depot Center:

Friday, January 23, 2009

Podcast with Pontus

Friend of the of the MNT Blog, Pontus Kåmark is back in the States, and he'll be commentating on tomorrow's game between the U.S. and Sweden for TV4. We met Pontus before last year's game, and it turns out the former Sweden international has some interesting connections to the U.S. First, he played in the 1994 World Cup, which featured Sweden making a run all the way to the semifinals (they ended up finishing third). Second, he was a teammate of MNT goalkeeper Kasey Keller at Leicester City. The two were part of Martin O'Neill's famed squad that won the League Cup in 1999.

Pontus took time out of his busy beach schedule (just kidding, we caught up with him during Sweden's trainig) to talk to us about the opposition that the U.S. will be facing in tomorrow's game.

Listen to the full podcast with former Sweden international Pontus Kåmark here.

Bornstein Cleared pt. 2

As you read, Jonathan Bornstein has been cleared to play. Here's Jonathan himself updating you about his foot:

Sacha Returns

Sacha Kljestan has returned from a training spell at current Scottish Premier League champions Celtic and will be on the field tonight for the USA's final session prior to the match against Sweden.

"I had really good experience at Celtic, and now I'm excited to back and getting ready to play against Sweden," Kljestan told us. "The only future I'm focusing on right now is trying to put in a good performance tomorrow night."

Bocanegra and Rennes Aim High

Carlos Bocanegra and Rennes had an excellent start to the season, going 17 games unbeaten to close out 2008. The unbeaten streak has ended, but Rennes will look to back to their winning ways this weekend, as they take on St. Etienne in the Coupe de France.

Carlos spoke to Ligue 1's official website during the week, and said that Rennes are pushing to keep pace with leaders Lyon. Read the whole interview in English here.

Here's a quote from the article where Carlos talks about the club's goals for the season:

"Our ambitions have not changed but they have become more realistic. Why shouldn't we aim for top spot? It will be difficult as there are some good teams both behind us and in front of us but we are very much in the mix. Lyon are only five points ahead of us so why not?"

Rennes are in fourth in the table, but with three points next weekend against Toulouse, they can potentially leapfrog Marseille in the third spot. Stay tuned...

National Team Reunion

A very interesting convergence of past and present took place in the gym yesterday at The Home Depot Center.

With both the national team and the Los Angeles Galaxy in training at the HDC, their schedules happened to coincide for the workout portion of the day. A glimpse down the row of treadmills and stationary bikes revealed current MNT assistant coach Mike Sorber running alongside former assistant Dave Sarachan (now associate head coach of the Galaxy), and on the bikes Bob Bradley, John Hackworth and Bruce Arena.

Eddie Lewis bridged the gap between club and country as he went through lifting exercises with L.A., next to 2002 World Cup defender Tony Sanneh and former U.S. international striker Jovan Kirovski.

That's a lot of experience in one place ...

Bornstein Cleared

Jonathan Bornstein has been cleared to train after an MRI revealed no structural damage to his foot. The defender's status for the Sweden match will be determined following today's training session in the stadium.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

UNCAF Nations Cup Underway

Competition began tonight in the 2009 UNCAF Nations Cup, the championship of Central America. The tournament runs from Jan. 22-Feb. 1 in Tegucigalpa, with five spots in the Gold Cup up for grabs. Three of the USA's opponents in Final Round Qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup - Costa Rica, El Salvador and Honduras - are all in action. In the opening night's actvities, El Salvador let a lead slip away in the final minutes to end in a 1-1 draw with Nicaragua, while hosts Honduras endured a tougher struggle than they expected but still managed a 2-1 win against Belize.

You can watch the entire tournament on Galavision, and follow the news at the official tournament website.

Donovan Scores Twice for Bayern

Landon Donovan continued spurt of good form for Bayern, as the on-loan LA Galaxy forward scored twice in a 5-0 victory over lower division side Mainz. Donovan came on as a second half sub and played the last half hour. The two goals take his pre-season tally to four for Bayern. Check out the full highlights of the game below:

Photos from today's Nearly Raining Training

Here are some photos from today's training session at The Home Depot Center. The 80 degree weather subsided a today and we were subjected to the horror of 65 degrees and mildly overcast skies. OK, so we're a little spoiled... Head over to to check out the full gallery.

The News from Carson

In case you haven't seen it yet, here's today's Studio 90 News update from today, Jan. 22. As previously mentioned, Jonathan Bornstein is going for an MRI on his bruised foot this afternoon, but you can see him and Kenny Cooper talking about their first caps (and first goals) in the video.

Bornstein Sidelined

U.S. defender Jonathan Bornstein skipped this morning's session after suffering a bruised foot Tuesday afternoon. He will undergo an MRI evaluation later today to determine the extent of the injury. Meantime, the team is gearing up for its final training session prior to Saturday's match. The group will be on the field inside The Home Depot Center tomorrow evening.

Frankie Coming to An Official U.S. Soccer Bar Near You

On Jan. 24, all of the Official U.S. Soccer Bars will be hosting viewing parties as the U.S. takes on Sweden at The Home Depot Center beginning at 5:30 p.m. PT. Get together with your friends and fellow fans to watch the U.S. MNT get 2009 off on the right foot. Now in in its second year, the Official U.S. Soccer Bar Program features bars spread across 16 states. For a full listing of the participating bars, head over to

For the game against Sweden, three-time World Cup veteran defender Frankie Hejduk will be taking in the proceedings at Claddagh Irish Pub in downtown Columbus, Ohio. Frankie, who of course captained the hometown Columbus Crew to an MLS Cup triumph last year, will be doing an autograph session while hanging out and meeting fans from 7:30 to 8:30 at the bar. He'll also be sticking around for the game, which kicks off at 8:30 p.m. ET, so if you needed more incentive to watch a game with like-minded U.S. supporters, there it is: for the game against Sweden, you can kick it with Frankie over at Claddagh Irish Pub.

Photo Gallery

Snaps from Wednesday's training. Any favorites?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Better Look at a Great Goal

For those of you who missed Michael Bradley's great volley from earlier this week, here it is again - this time with a better frame rate:

Troy Perkins - A Team Building Experience, Part 2

Troy Perkins left national team camp for four days last week to participate in a team building exercise with Valerenga in Norway. Valerenga's hosts for the 'retreat' - a unit of the Norwegian Special Forces. Here is Part 2 of Troy's experience.

Day Two


We awake to a bitter cold tent and the realization that we now have a 30-minute run


Breakfast consists of one loaf of bread and two pieces of cheese and ham per member of the team, as well as a pot of coffee.


Military leaders decide that we should move camp, so we now had to tear down the tents of metal poles and canvas. Then we carried everything to the fort by way of a three kilometer path the winds in and out of the bog and up and down the mountain. This was quite an experience, since the bog was frozen and the rocks were covered in ice, but my team fought hard. We went from being a half-course behind to passing the other team, setting our tent up first and winning the race.


We were all awarded lunch that day and what a feeling that was. There was fresh bread, soda, smoked salmon, soup, and coffee.


My team is led to the front door of the fortress where we were taken in one by one and told that to pass into the gates as a team we must each defeat a two-headed troll. As we were running down the dark and cold stone tunnels, we are asked if we want to box and wrestle the first head. So I chose to box first, and then wrestle second. At that point, they put the gloves and sparring helmet on you and throw you into one of the rooms where two world champion cage fighters are waiting to box and wrestle you. You had to go one round with each without being bloodied or injured. Obviously, they could have destroyed any of us, but they sized us up and measured their effort according to what we could handle.


We have dinner together and then meet outside to complete three puzzle tasks that involve team work and problem solving, and then we went back to the fort for a search and find drill that involved the same skills as the three previous tasks. This time it was a race, and you had to find your own way out of the fortress. For the entire day my team was the best, and we were awarded the privilege of sleeping in one of the warm barracks. We were left to decide whether or not the other groups should sleep in their tents or come in with us. Of course, we allowed them to come and sleep in the barracks because we know how cold we were the night before.

Day Three


Wake-up call.

One more 30-minute run. Afterwards, a light breakfast.


It is time for the last and final challenge of the trip. This was a biathlon event where each member of the team had to shoot five targets with 10 bullets. Each person had to do this twice in a row, but before any member could shoot, the entire team had to run around a 200 meter track, and for every target you missed the team had to complete that amount of penalty laps around a separate 75 meter track. All in all, my team finished second, running roughly about 4300 meters in the process. Our team didn’t shoot the best, but I finished strong going five for five.

So this could be the longest blog ever – and this is not even everything we did! These were the type of challenges that allow you to learn a little more about the guy standing next to you. There was pain and suffering, but this was only three days worth. The guys who are members of the elite forces have to partake in eight weeks of this stuff, and I now really have an immense amount of respect for them. The same goes for my teammates, who never quit and kept pushing to prove themselves: not just to the other guys, but to themselves as well.

Sweden - 367 Days Ago

Like this year, the United States opened up the 2008 campaign with a friendly against Sweden here at The Home Depot Center. The 2-0 victory became a part of several individual and team records set that year, beginning with official passing of the goalscoring torch as Landon Donovan climbed to the top spot of the USA's all-time goalscoring chart. Eddie Robinson snatched his own slice of history, becoming the 44th U.S. player to join the first goal - first cap club.

As you get primed up for Saturday, get a head start by watching all the highlights and pre-game hype from last year's showdown with Sweden here.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

TT - Doubling Up

The impending release of the 2009 U.S. Soccer Media Guide got us digging through records, and guess what we discovered? Only once in the last 20 years has there been an occasion where in one game two players got both their first cap and their first goal.

Your turn!

And Over on Field #4

Across the main drive separating U.S. Soccer's training fields, the Swedish underwent their first full training session in Carson. Like their U.S. counterparts, the Swedes have brought a mostly domestic-based roster that includes many of the younger players trying to make their way up the depth charts. A handful of players took the field in the meeting between the teams last year here at The Home Depot Center, led by Malmö FF defender Daniel Andersson. Only one pair of teammates could square off Saturday, with FC Nordsjaelland contributing Andreas Dahl and Michael Parkhurst to the encounter.

Sveriges trupp
John Alvbåge Örebro
Johan Dahlin FC Lyn Oslo
Patrik Anttonen Örebro
Rasmus Bengtsson Trelleborgs FF
Mattias Bjärsmyr IFK Göteborg
Adam Johansson IFK Göteborg
Markus Jonsson AIK
Marcus Lindberg Kalmar FF
Max von Schlebrügge Brøndby IF
Daniel Andersson Malmö FF
Denni Avdic IF Elfsborg
Andreas Dahl FC Nordsjælland
Mikael Dahlberg Djurgården
Rasmus Elm Kalmar FF
Martin Ericsson IF Elfsborg
Alexander Farnerud Brøndby IF
Samuel Holmén Brøndby IF
Andreas Johansson Halmstads BK
Andreas Landgren Helsingborgs IF
Daniel Nannskog Stabæk IF
Gustav Svensson IFK Göteborg

Training Notes from Tuesday

After a day off Monday, the team resumed double day sessions as the match against Sweden draws near. Ricardo Clark was back on the field after missing Sunday's session with a minor toe issue. Training had a very familiar rhythm, progressing from a warm-up and technical work to a possession exercise, and finishing with an 8 v. 8 game from 18 to 18 with big goals.

With 15 days of training and fitness under their belts, the soccer is clearly starting to get cleaner. With 18 field players and four goalkeepers, competition to make the 18-man game day roster is still very much in play.

Troy Perkins - A Team Building Experience, Part. 1

Troy Perkins left national team camp for four days last week to participate in a team building exercise with Valerenga in Norway. Valerenga's hosts for the 'retreat' - a unit of the Norwegian Special Forces. Here is Part 1 of Troy's experience.

Freezing water, well below freezing temperatures, little sleep, and even less food. Sounds like details an experienced war veteran should be using to start a story with. However, these are just a few of the things that I had to go through this last week during my club's “team building exercises.”

On Sunday, the 11th of January, I had to exit training with the U.S. team early so as I could make my early afternoon flight which took me back to Oslo, Norway. The next afternoon I arrived at home around 6 p.m. and spent a nice evening with my seven-month pregnant wife and woke early the following morning to arrive at the training grounds by 8a.m. The team all met in the changing room and were briefed by the elite of the elite of the Norwegian Special Forces. At this point I was really questioning why I had to endure the 13 hours of flying from the previous day just to get back for this two and a half days of what was described to me as a bonding experience wrapped together with some of the most strenuous exercises I would ever experience.

10:30 a.m.

Our team arrives at a fort that was built in 1915 just after the several wars which were fought between Norway and Sweden. The fortress itself was built into the side of mountain and was nothing but rock and stone. Here we were broken down into three teams and assigned our military clothing and gear. After changing, we were given our first assignment of putting our tent together. These tents, mind you, were two inch steel poles, heavy canvas, cast iron stoves, fifteen deer skin hides, and a 12’x12’ pad for the base. So all three teams assembled their tents and were immediately forced into a van and ushered to a gravel/sand pit about four miles away.


Teams were separated and tied up into straight lines with ropes connecting everyone's wrists -both right and left - to the person in front or behind. Were showed the path around the woods and through the gravel/sand pit, which involved running up mounds of gravel and along the side of a 300 foot sand cliff. We were told to do five laps, and each lap was one kilometer. There were questions we were asked after each lap, and if you were wrong than you were told to run a penalty lap which was another 200 meters. So after a few really mixed up answers and three penalty laps, our team figured out that what each person was either told or what they had seen on the paper they were showed all went together to solve the questions we were given, so needless to say my team won the first challenge. What a great feeling to win something like this. (Yes, everything we did was a race against the other two teams, and there were rewards for winning, whether it be food, sleep, or water).


Thinking that we would just be doing running and exercises like that, I was feeling pretty good about myself until we ran up the road from the pit to another pit where a nine foot wood log was awaiting us, along with two 10 gallon water jugs. Each team was told they had to carry the log and water 2.5 km one way and 2.5km back. Now, part of our gear we were assigned was an old military style stretcher with big wooden handles and metal arm extenders in the middle.

My team gathers and we were really feeling good that we could win this race as well, so we pick the log up on three of the guys shoulders and the other four carried the water on the stretcher and started off at a fast jog pace, which soon became a fast walk. When we came to the first ravine we had to navigate it quickly, which became just placing one foot in front of the other. Very quickly we realized that we could only go as fast as the slowest guy, and this was not the easiest thing to deal with considering we still had to carry our own packs on our backs. So after mounting four hills, we were back on the straight road and really trying to motivate the guys around us and just finish strong. We came in second and were awarded a loaf of bread for our team for dinner. The winning team earned a small bowl of beef stew per member of their team, and the last placed team earned nothing. But being a team, we all shared our food with each other and rested by the fire for the next hour as the night freeze set in around us and the last glimpse of the sun disappeared beyond the horizon, carrying with it any hope of rest and subduing the hunger that was mounting in all of our bellies.


So now we are in some dry clothes and ready to go home or run away - which ever would have put us in our beds and in front of a plate of food - but like true soldiers we marched on to the next three tasks:

-Walking through a freezing river in only your underwear

-Cleaning a Salmon, starting a fire, boiling water, cooking and eating the salmon

-Being blindfolded, led up a ladder and then repelling down the side of gravel silo.

The losing teams of these three tasks had to march the 3 km back to camp and at this point it was already 1 a.m. So once we arrived back at camp - yes, I had to walk - we had 10 minutes to shower and be in our tents. Through the night we rotated responsibility of keeping the fire going, and let’s just say the fire did not help to fend off the cold.

Danny Califf's Word of the Day - 'it's a little word'

Pi - or π - is a mathematical constant whose value is the ratio of any circle's circumference to its diameter in Euclidean space, it is the same value as the ratio of a circle's area to the square of its radius. It is approximately equal to 3.14159 in the usual decimal notation. Pi is one of the most important mathematical and physical constants: many formulae from mathematics, science, and engineering involve π.

It's also a number with endless decimal places. The Guinness-recognized record for remembered digits of π is held by Lu Chao, a 24-year-old graduate student from China, who recited pi to 67,890 digits!

When you get through all the technical terms, the bottom line is that Pi is a massively important number that impacts our world in ways that most of us never think of or imagine. It struck me as amazing that such a little word makes such a big difference in our lives.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Extended Highlights of Bayern Friendly

Here are extended highlights of Bayern Munich's friendly against Kaiserslautern from earlier today:

Donovan Scores in Bayern Friendly

Landon Donovan scored in Bayern Munich's friendly against Kaiserslautern on Monday. Bayern has returned from their stint in Dubai, and Donovan scored a late header to seal a 2-0 victory. Donovan entered the game as a substitute in the second half.

Inside the Lines - The Goalkeepers

Probably one of the least seen elements of a team's preparations is the training of the goalkeepers. Their actions during games are brought into keen focus, but what they do to get ready for those moments if often overlooked.

See for yourself.

Rennes Finally Lose

Rennes unbeaten run finally came to an end this past weekend, after Carlos Bocanegra's team lost 1-0 to Lille. The loss dropped Rennes to 4th place in the Ligue 1 table, five points behind leaders Lyon. Bocanegra and Rennes will look to get back on track with next Saturday's Coupe de France game against St. Etienne. Rennes' next League match comes against Toulouse on Jan. 31.

Fulham Lose to West Ham

Fulham dropped to 10th in the table, as London rivals West Ham Utd. leapfrogged the Cottagers in the table with a 3-1 victory. Clint Dempsey played the full 90 minutes but Fulham fell to their first defeat in ten games. Next up for Fulham is a trip to Kettering Town in the 4th round of the FA Cup next Saturday.

Pachuca Starts with Win

Pachuca and Jose Torres started their 2009 Clausura with a 4-1 win over Tigres. Torres started the game and played the first half before being subbed at halftime. Pachuca next faces San Luis.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Podcast with Pickens - You Heard it Here First

For goalkeeper Matt Pickens, this past year has been a learning experience to say the least. With an offer to re-sign with the Chicago Fire on the table last January, Pickens chose to test the waters in Europe where he landed at Queens Park Rangers in the English League Championship. A shoulder injury sidelined Pickens a month before the end of the season, and he mutually agreed to part ways with QPR in June. After rehab and trials, his next career move remained in doubt until the Fire traded his rights to the Colorado Rapids on Draft Day last week. With his situation settled and a fresh start in Colorado on the horizon, the 26-year-old Pickens spoke to about his journey, both past and future.

Listen to exclusive audio podcast here.

Taken Over By Demons

With the addition of Michael Parkhurst to the roster, there are now four alumni of the Wake Forest Demon Deacons here in Carson. Brian Carroll and William Hesmer were roommates in Winston-Salem, where Carroll was a finalist in 2002 for the Mac Hermann Award as the best player in the NCAA. Parkhurst earned ACC Defender of the Year honors in 2004.

Slightly more advanced in years is U.S. assistant coach John Hackworth, who played at Wake in his junior and senior seasons and helped lead the Deacs to as high as a No. 3 ranking in the nation.

Training Notes For Sunday

  • Troy Perkins resumed training after four days in Norway, while Michael Parkhurst participated in his first session after arriving yesterday afternoon
  • Ricardo Clark sat out with a minor toe problem
  • Los Angeles Galaxy Associate Head Coach Dave Sarachan and Chivas USA Head Coach Preki Radosavljevic watched training
  • The team has Monday off, and will resume training Tuesday morning

San Luis Tie to Start Clausura

Michael Orozco and San Luis tied Morelia 0-0 in the first week of the Mexican Primera División's 2009 Clausura. Orozco played the full 90 minutes for San Luis, who take on José Torres and Pachuca next week.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Liege Keep Pace

Standard Liege kept pace with Anderlecht, Oguchi Onyewu's side winning 3-2 over Dender on Saturday. Gooch was on the wrong end of an own goal for Liege, but it didn't stop the reiging champions from taking all three points to remain just one point behind the leaders.

Inside the Lines - 4 v. 4 with Bumpers

This installment of Inside the Lines follows an exercise which involves two teams going to goal on a field 36 yards long. There are four players on the field for each team, with two 'wall' players on the outside that are allowed one touch for passing and crossing. The size of the field provides for a lot of changes of possession, quick transitions, and shots.

Reinforcements Have Arrived

The recent injuries in camp have left the defensive corps depleted, but reinforcement has arrived in the form of defender Michael Parkhurst. The former MLS Defender of the Year joins up with the team from Copenhagen, where he was preparing for the second half of the Danish season with new club FC Nordsjaelland.

Parkhurst has four caps to his credit, and he most recently appeared at center back during the USA's 2-0 win against Guatemala in World Cup Qualifying last November.

Kicking It for Charity

Danny Califf, Brian Ching, Robbie Rogers and Chris Rolfe are joining a host of celebrities and athletes this afternoon to play in the Second Annual Mia Hamm & Nomar Garciaparra Celebrity Soccer Challenge at The Home Depot Center. Other celebrities scheduled to participate include skate boarding legend Tony Hawk and young gun Ryan Sheckler, U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist Kerri Walsh , NFL great Marcus Allen, Zachary Levi of Chuck, Jimmy Jean Louis of Heroes, Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo, and others.

Proceeds will benefit bone marrow patient and family services at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles. The Mia Hamm Foundation is a non-profit organization built upon the dual mission to: 1) raise funds and awareness for marrow and cord blood transplant patients and their families, and 2) promote and help develop more opportunities for young women in sports.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Guess Who's in the Van: The Answer

Now the compelling conclusion to Guess Who's in the Van:

A shout out to U.S. SOCCER FANS who improbably guessed three out of the four players who were in the van. We'll be back for another edition soon -perhaps with a clue or two this time around...

Inside the Lines - Soccer Tennis

The evening training session was designed to give the players a mental break, and there's no better way than a good ole' fashioned soccer tennis tournament. Mental break - yes. Reducing their competitive juices - hardly ...

Hernandez Set for Scan

After training this morning at the Home Depot Center, Jason Hernandez was diagnosed with a slight calf strain. He's heading for an MRI this afternoon and we'll let you know how that turns out. For the rest of the guys, a gym session lies ahead. They'll head to the HDC in waves a bit later on but, for now, we can only surmise that it's nap time here at the team hotel.

Fulham Set for West Ham

Clint Dempsey and Fulham face London rivals West Ham Utd. at Upton Park on Sunday. Jonathan Spector, just coming back to full fitness for the Hammers, could also make an appearance in the squad.

Dempsey recently took December's Player of the Month Award for Fulham and he'll be looking to continue his good form for the club, who have climbed up to 9th in the table.

Bradley's Goal

As we figured out this morning at breakfast in the MNT Camp, Michael Bradley actually scored a goal in yesterday's win over Grasshopper. The person who informed us of our mistake: Bob Bradley. Awkward. Next time, the Global Blog won't try to read German. Anyhow here is said goal:

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Show Your Mental Fortitude!

The MNT Blog is always trying to push the envelope for what we bring you faithful readers out there and today, friends, we've got an all new game for you to play at home.

Every day an armada of vans sets out from our hotel to the Home Depot Center. It's generally a free for all as we all make our way down the 405 for the morning training session. You never know who is going to get there first and with that in mind, we challenge you to this (Hint: there are 4 players):

Can you solve this magnificent puzzle? Should you triumph, you will earn yourself a special mention in the Blog, but even that fine honor will pale in comparison with the eternal greatness bestowed upon you for Guessing Who's in the Van.

In the Words of William

Hello all from sunny and warm Manhattan Beach, California! Michael Kammarman, the main man who runs this blog and keeps U.S. Soccer fans in the loop during camps, games, etc., must have either a hot date tonight or is fed up with blogging about the same stuff over and over again, (I’ll give him credit for the former, but I do have my doubts) and therefore has passed along his blogging duties to yours truly. [Editor's Note: Neither is true.] Being the good wing man that I am, and in an attempt to mix things up a bit, I’ll take it and try to add a little bit more insight from a player’s perspective on the day-to-day events that have been going on so far in January Camp 2009. Also, I’ll try not to mention the fact that it has been around 70 degrees and sunny everyday, just in case anyone in the rest of the frozen United States is reading.

As always, anytime you are invited to be a part of the national team program it is a tremendous honor, and this January camp is no different. For many of us it has been quite a bit of time off since we last played competitively with our clubs, so a big part of this camp unfortunately –or fortunately depending on your sanity- is fitness -- a necessary evil in our business. Therefore, most morning practices have finished with a fair amount of running. Other than the fitness, the majority of the work in the first week has been to get our competitive juices going again with some technical work, crossing and finishing, small sided games, and 8 v 8 with the space opened up to almost full field. The workload has been demanding, but we are all committed to not only representing our country with pride but also trying to make our own impressions on the coaching staff. We all want to prove that every time our number is called, we can be relied upon to deliver the performance necessary to get the job done.

Off the field, the main focus is making sure we are eating well and getting the proper rest. The meals at our hotel have been excellent; a good blend of different cuisines has kept away the monotony that typically builds with hotel food over the course of three weeks. Rest is not a problem for the majority of us given the amount of work we are putting in each day. On most nights it’s tough to make it past 9:30 p.m.; however, with the return of “24” this week I sacrificed a few winks in order to see Jack back in action. A decision not regretted. At least not yet.

For me, one of the great things about this camp, aside from the obvious soccer side of competing day-in and day-out against some of the best talent in America, is the relationships and friendships that are formed during the course of three weeks. It’s always an interesting dynamic when players who compete against each other year round are thrown together and expected to gel into a team. Personally I have found it one of the more rewarding parts about being in this camp. Everyone respects each others’ abilities as soccer players, but getting to know guys that you truly only know as soccer players is really enjoyable, and makes the camp that much more fun.

As the next week progresses, hopefully our weeks of hard work combined with our budding chemistry will amass into a product we will all be proud of come January 24 at the Home Depot Center. And in case there was any doubt, when I say “be proud of,” it means WINNING!

-William Hesmer

'Gladbach Wins in Friendly

Borussia Mönchengladbach is in the midst of their winter training camp, as Michael Bradley's club prepares for the second half of the Bundesliga season. Today 'Gladbach took on Grasshopper Zurich of Switzerland, with Bradley getting an assist in a 4-2 win.

'Gladbach get Bundesliga action underway in two weeks when they take on VFB Stuttgart on Jan. 31.

Kljestan Training with Celtic

Sacha Kljestan has departed MNT Camp in Carson, Calif. The midfielder is headed for Glasgow where he'll be training with Celtic.

Meanwhile, on the other half of the Old Firm, DaMarcus Beasley says he's prepared to battle for his place at Rangers. Hopefully he can do just that when Rangers face Falkirk on Saturday

Kljestan Gets Excused Absence

Chivas USA midfielder Sacha Kljestan has been given permission to take temporary leave from the national team for a week-long training stint with reigning Scottish Premier League champions Celtic FC. The 2008 U.S. Soccer Young Male Athlete of the Year is expected to return from Glasgow on Jan. 22, in advance of the USA's match against Sweden on Jan. 24 at The Home Depot Center.

Kljestan made a career-high appearances for the full team in 2008, including five starts in World Cup qualifiers. His memorable goal against the Netherlands during the 2-2 draw in Beijing won the honor for Best Goal: MNT in the 2008 Best of U.S. Soccer Awards.

Listen up: Podcast with Bob Bradley

Help yourself get to Friday with our first MNT podcast of 2009! Here's Bob Bradley talking to media after today's morning training session. He gives an update on how the camp's been going, the U.S. status as one of the favorites for CONCACAF qualifying, and how the team is preparing for a difficult final round in 2009. Listen to the full podcast with MNT coach Bob Bradley here.

U-17 Residency Alumni Make it Big in MLS Draft

One of the interesting side notes from today's 2009 MLS Super Draft is the impact of the U.S. Under-17 Residency Program. Four of the top 11 picks - led by defender Omar Gonzalez - spent a significant portion of their development growth years training and competing in the daily soccer environment in Bradenton, Fla.

All four players spent time together in Residency and contributed to the U-17's successful run through qualifying and eventual fifth-place finish in the 2005 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Peru. Gonzalez was selected with the #3 pick by the Los Angeles Galaxy. Peri Marosevic went next, chosen by FC Dallas with the #5 selection. Kevin Alston closed out the top 10 when he was taken by the New England Revolution, immediately followed by the New York Bulls picking up Jeremy Hall.

Often times youth development programs are measured by results, when realistically the true measure may comes years later when and whether the players reach the elite levels of the sport.

"The reason that Residency exists is to create an environment for elite level players to be able to reach their full potential," said U.S. Men's National Team Assistant Coach and Development Academy Technical Director John Hackworth. "U.S. Soccer strongly believes that this time in their lives is crucial to their development, and today's draft contributes to the validation of the work that has been done during the last decade in Bradenton."

Hackworth, the former U-17 coach who oversaw these four players during their time in Residency, believes that their time in Bradenton provided an important foundation, and is only one piece of what will hopefully be successful careers at both the professional and international levels.

"I'm proud that their time in Bradenton played a part in helping them achieve their goal of becoming professional soccer players. However, this is only the beginning of the next stage of their careers, and it will be equally important for them to build on the lessons they have learned and continue to grow and mature as both players and people."

Franklin Out

Defender Sean Franklin has left the MNT training camp with a lower abdominal strain. He has returned to the Galaxy for evaluation by their team doctors. No word on whether the U.S. coaches will replace him leading into the game against Sweden.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Day at the Beach

Today is the second day off for the players since training camp began on Jan. 4 in Carson, and their time is their own. Some of the guys are heading to Nike Town, others to the ocean, and a few are heading to the movies. Overall, the theme seems to be taking it easy. And in California, that's not hard to pull off. Enjoy the day guys...

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Updated Beep Test - New, Improved, Still Looks Like A Nightmare

Today's fitness evaluation was a new version of an old exercise - the vaunted 'beep' test. (For a great look at the old and equally not fun test, watch Best All_Access Video #3). The short explanation of the beep test is that involves running back and forth between a measured distance in a defined time frame that gets faster as the test progresses. That time frame is marked by a recorded 'beep', thus the significant but not-so-clever name.

In all seriousness, the evaluation is an excellent tool for the coaches to establish a baseline of the capacity of each player, which they use to design an individualized training program to advance each player's performance.

With Landon Donovan and Frankie Hejduk not here to claim the highest marks, today's top finish belonged to Houston Dynamo midfielder Stuart Holden.

Quick Chat With Jack

We caught up with Kansas City Wizards midfielder Jack Jewsbury after training to get his thoughts on the step up the to national team, the adjustments to life in camp, and his relationship with one member of the coaching staff.

Pre-Training Notes - Tuesday, Jan. 13

  • There will be no field session today. The team will go through fitness testing and gym training in the morning.
  • Sean Franklin continues to be bothered by a lower abdominal strain and will be evaluated by doctors this morning.
  • No decision has been made on whether to replace Chad Marshall on the roster prior to the Sweden match.
  • Wednesday is an off day for the group. Training will resume Thursday.

Inside the Lines, Pt. 2

Today's installment of All_Access video's 'Inside the Lines' is from an 8 v. 8 game played during Monday's morning session. It's several minutes of (nearly) unedited video to give you a chance to see how an exercise flows, with the good plays as well as the mistakes As coaches will tell you, mistakes happen. It's what happens next that's important.

Donovan Scores in Bayern Friendly

Bayern Munich got by side Al-Wehda last night, beating the Saudi Arabian side 3-1. Donovan came on as a halftime sub and, after hitting the bar with a header, scored the final goal of the game. No word on whether Franck Ribery drove the team bus to the game.

Also, here's a Bild interview with Donovan after the game.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Training Room Talk - Brian Carroll

Columbus Crew midfielder Brian Carroll is no stranger to success. After winning the crown with D.C. in 2004 in his second year in MLS, he picked up his second MLS championship ring when he helped the Black and Gold to their first-ever league title this past November. Having played in the U-20 World Youth Championship in 2001, he has also represented the U.S. at the U-23 and full team levels. Credited with being the defensive anchor of the Crew midfield, the 27-year-old stands ready to put his skills to use by the national team if called upon in 2009.

us: We noticed you walked in holding a copy of USA Today. Would you describe yourself as a crossword or sudoku man?

BC: "Neither. I would label myself as a stock market guy. I follow it very closely."

us: Have any tips for us?

BC: "Stay away from bank stocks at the moment."

us: You have won two MLS Cups, with D.C. United in 2004 and this year with Columbus. Can you describe how each of the victories felt different?

BC: "The first is very nice, but the more you win it, the sweeter it feels. You understand the type of work that needs to be put in, and the type of relationships that need to be developed during the season in order to win a championship. To experience that again feels better the second time around."

us: Having grown up in Virginia and spent a lot of time in D.C., how do you like living in C-bus?

BC: "Columbus is a much different city. It's smaller, with less traffic. Even though the D.C. area is my hometown, I've grown pretty fond of Columbus. It's easier to live there. Until this week, that is! I had my windshield bashed in. Whoever broke in left all the electronics and only took the change, which amounted to a couple of dollars."

us: Did you have any players as role models when you were growing up?

BC: "There are no specific players. If possible, I like to take things from different players and incorporate into my game. Growing up I was a big fan of Manchester United. I'm sure part of that is because of their success. I went to a lot of D.C. United games at RFK, and a couple Cup Finals."

us: You have six caps for the national team. What has been your most memorable experience?

BC: "I would say the first one. I started and played the whole game against Panama [a 2-0 World Cup qualifying win on Oct. 12, 2005], and got named Man of the Match. The game against Mexico in 2007 was also special. It was a crazy crowd at the University of Phoenix Stadium.

us: Ah, the first taste of the rivalry. Anything stick out?

BC: "While I was warming up to come into the game, my studs broke and I had to wear molded boots instead. I had to mark Andres Guardado, who was really fast. I was slipping everywhere."

us: Is it a situation where you can watch and hear all the stories about USA-Mexico, but it's the not the same until you play in a game?

BC: "You don't get the full experience until you are a part of it. And once you've experienced it, it certainly sticks with you any time you are watching a game involving the U.S. and Mexico. It sticks in the back of your mind no matter how long you've been away from it, or when the next game is. That intense rivalry never leaves you once you've been a part of it."

us:You have been involved in several national team camps and games since 2005. Do you think you would have progressed so much as a player without your experiences with the national team?

BC: "I really don't think so. The entire level of play, the amount of fitness required, and the day in and day out scheme that is stressed here has clearly improved my game to a level that would not have been achieved if I was not lucky enough to have the opportunity to represent my country."

us: You have been re-united here with Peter Nowak, your former coach at D.C. ...

BC: "It's always interesting being in the same camp with Mr. Nowak (laughs). He was very intense in D.C., and pushed us hard to get the most out of us. Here he pushes is hard, but he also is very good at handling the role as the assistant coach. He's a little more light hearted at times, but still doing his best to help us improve. It's always great to be around Peter."

us: Knowing that there are a whole host of important games in 2009 - World Cup qualifying, the Confederations Cup, the Gold Cup - as well as a lot of competition for spots, how do you approach this opportunity?

BC: "The way I approach this year is that I know we have a good, solid team. I am striving to help the national team in any way I can, so for now that means being here and getting in competition and making myself a part of the pool. I know we have a lot of good players who are competing for these jobs. I just want to work hard and keep my name in the hat, and hopefully get a chance to be a part of games."

Something You May Not Know About Kenny Cooper

Two words - NEAT FREAK!

We went into Kenny's room to listen in on his interview with Glenn Davis, and couldn't help but notice the orderly fashion in which he keeps him room. Clothes neatly folded and stacked, shoes lined up in perfect rows, bathroom items neatly arranged ... if organization is a key to success, this kid is on his way.

Highlights from Rennes' Win

Over the weekend Carlos Bocanegra and Rennes were victorious in a game against Grenoble. Check out the highlights:

Pre-Training Notes for Monday

  • Sean Franklin will miss training again with a groin strain, while Ugo Ihemelu returns to action
  • Chivas USA goalkeeper Dan Kennedy will train with the team in the absence of Troy Perkins, who has returned to Norway for a three-day team bonding exercise with Valerenga
  • Kenny Cooper will be a guest on "The Soccer Hour with Glenn Davis" radio show tonight around 6:45 p.m. PT
  • Several coaches and players will sit down with Jaime Motta from ESPN Deportes to film interviews for a couple of features to air prior to the USA-Mexico game.

Short Interview with Troy Perkins

We're really into short intros today. Here's an interview with Troy Perkins that we did during yesterday's afternoon/night training session. Bam!

Video - Inside the Lines

Have a look "Inside the Lines." No talking, no interviews - just soccer.

Pachuca Prevail in Shootout; Copa Libertadores Awaits

Pachuca and Jose Torres faced Atlas in Interliga play last night. After taking a 3-0 lead into the locker room at halftime, Los Tuzos looked to be heading for an easy victory. Not so! Atlas fought back to tie the game at 3-3, sending the match into extra time. What followed was an excruiatingly long shootout, featuring 13 rounds of shooters:

Torres scored his pk and Pachuca qualified for the Copa Libertadores, joining Chivas and Michael Orozco's San Luis as the clubs representing Mexico in South America's equivalent of the Champions League.

San Luis have already qualified for the group stage, and they've been drawn into Group 8 with Argentina's San Lorenzo, Paraguay's Libertad, and Peru's Universitario?

Pachuca's road is much tougher, as they have to face a preliminary home and away playoff with Universidad de Chile in order to gain entry to the group stage. Those games are set for Jan. 28 and Feb. 4...

Szetela Interview

Serie B is currently on an extended break, but Danny Szetela played 89 minutes in Brescia's 1-0 win over Grosseto on Dec. 19, the last game before the hiatus.

Brescia are sitting at seventh in the Serie B table, and Szetela knows his team as what it takes to challenge for promotion at the end of the year. Check out an interview with the U.S. midfiedler over at

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Training Room Talk - Jonathan Bornstein

Jonathan Bornstein's career with the national team is a tale of two years. The first was highlighted with the thrill of scoring his first goal while earning his first cap, then proceeding to become one of seven players in U.S. history to record at least 10 appearances in his debut year. The second was marred by injuries and rehab that reduced his time with the team to a single game. Entering his second January camp, Bornstein has added a layer of confidence and maturity to his ever-present energy and enthusiasm. sat down with Bornstein to get his insights on his past and future at the sport's highest level.

us: You told us at the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Winter Showcase that you were planning on building a deck at your house in the off season. How did that project go?

JB - The deck took a backseat to getting new windows installed. I figured it was more of a necessity for energy conservation. I also didn't want to waste too much energy building a deck when I could be getting prepared for the national team camp. And no, I didn't install the windows myself either!"

us - Your first time in a national team camp came two years ago. Are things different for you this time around?

JB - "A little bit. This camp I had more of an understanding of what to expect. I remember my first day of practice with the national team, which was also Bob's first day as the head coach. It was all brand new. Now coming in here and seeing so many young guys here, I start to think of the fact that I have had numerous experiences with the full team. I know what is expected out of you every day. I think I have a better feel for it."

us: What advice would you give to the younger players who are getting their first experience at this level?

JB - I'd say talk to the other players as much as you can to get a feel for what they've done to keep getting called back in. Listen to the coaches - they have a lot of insight. The faster you can get on the same page as them, the better chance you have. You are here for a whole month, and hopefully that pays off by getting to play in the game. Once given that chance, you have to make the most of it."

us: You had an amazing start to your career, going from MLS Rookie of the Year to playing in a double-digit number of games for the national team in the first year. All of that came to a halt with the injuries you suffered. How did you deal with the roller coaster?

JB - "The first year was a dream come true. Getting to represent your country in more games than you can count on your fingers is a fantastic feeling. To go from that into a year where you are plagued with injuries was both disheartening and disappointing. In the back of my mind, I felt that once I was healthy and getting back into the swing of things that I would eventually get called in and get a chance to earn a spot. I feel like I'm in that spot now, transitioning back into full fitness and proving myself all over again."

us: When you entered camp in '07, you were essentially still a converted left back. Are you more comfortable in the position now?

JB - "I've learned the ins and outs of the position quite a bit more since that time. Coming into that camp, I'd only been in that spot less than a year, so I felt it wasn't that strong. I might even have still thought of myself as a midfielder or a forward. But after playing in the spot for both Chivas and the national team in my second year as a pro, I started to consider myself as a true left back. Last year with Chivas I played in a variety of positions, so it still crosses my mind every once in a while about where my perfect spot would be. As for the national team, I definitely feel that left back is my strongest position. I feel comfortable in that role."

us: In 2009, there are 10 World Cup qualifiers, the FIFA Confederations Cup, and the CONCACAF Gold Cup. At the end of it, the pool of players for 2010 will be fairly well defined. How do you see this year for the national team?

JB: "This is a big year for players in terms of the opportunity to claim a spot on the national team, especially if we are able to qualify for the 2010 World Cup. I'm a big believer in not getting too far ahead of myself. I know it sound cliched, but I try take it one day and one game at a time. Hopefully I stay healthy so that when the time arises to get my chance, I am fit and ready to compete."

us: You have seen the coverage of the decisions of both Michael Orozco and Jose Francisco Torres to play for the United States. As a man who was eligible to play for both the U.S. and Mexico, how do you view the choice that players in this position have to make?

JB - For me it wasn't even a question. I was born and raised here. To be honest, I had never even considered the possibility of playing for Mexico until people started asking me about it when I started playing for the U.S. For those guys, it's a much different set of circumstances. While born in the U.S., for the majority of their professional careers they have been playing in Mexico. For them it would be a harder decision: to play for the country where you were raised, or the place where your career has grown. They know the style, the players, and are probably very comfortable there. My father is American, but if he had been Mexican and been submersing me in the culture, taking us to his hometown, meeting family, and things like that, it would be much harder. Since I play for a club with Mexican roots, I understand how passionate the fans and media are about their teams, and it probably made it that much more difficult. I certainly empathize with those guys."

us: Do the media still ask you about being torn between the U.S. and Mexico?

JB - Yeah, almost every interview! The first year the topic was new to everyone. Even now they still ask the same questions about whether or not I feel connected to Mexico. After two years of playing for the U.S. National Team, I think the question has been answered."