Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Monday, April 7, 2008
Each day we'd wake up, eat breakfast, go to school for a few hours, go back and train, and then hang out until the end of the day. We would lift weights and do other things like that a couple times each week. It's a lot more involved and intense than I just made it sound but that's the bare essentials of the program.
Within the Galaxy organization, who has offered the most in the way of help and advice?
Greg Vanney and Chris Klein, in particular, have really helped me out. They are both very good players who are very experienced and great guys. Landon [Donovan] and David [Beckham] have also offered a lot of help on the field.
Are you close to full health? What are your goals for your first MLS season?
I am in full health and I’m hoping to learn as much as I can in my first year. We have a lot of good, experienced players to learn from and a great coaching staff and I’m hoping to improve various aspects of my game. If I get first team minutes it would be an added bonus but my primary goal is to make sure that I improve a lot and that I’m a much better player by the end of the season.
One of the major keys to our success this year will be staying healthy. If we can minimize injuries, we’ll be able to have a very successful season.
I saw that the Sons of Ben were able to interview you earlier in the year. How has the Riot Squad and the Galaxians treated you upon your arrival into the Galaxy organization?
I’m slowly getting to meet some of the Galaxians and Riot Squad members and they have all been very welcoming. They’re great fans, knowledgeable fans, and very passionate about the club. They are a huge part of the success of the Galaxy and it’s an honor to play for their club.
I also got to meet some of the Sons of Ben at the draft and through email and they’re all great guys. Their passion and organization was a major part of Philly being awarded expansion. I have no doubt that they will become one of the best supporter groups when the team starts playing. It’s funny because they already are!
Favorite player? Team?
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Snippets and quick retorts below:
With all due respect to the "Sons of Ben" (SOB) - the Philly-based fan
group on steroids that successfully pressured business owners, state legislators
and league officials, and helped close this deal by deflecting shots from
naysayers - Major League Soccer is just plain boring.
With all due respect, the "boring nature of Major League Soccer" could be that
you've never had a strong enough allegiance to a team to really care about the
development of a team, on-field and off-field. MLS is 13 years old. Don Garber
repeatedly says we're taking baby steps in the progression of the league. Most
"naysayers" don't understand that. They expect the product on and off the field
to automatically on par with the NFL, MLB, NBA. Give it time.
Even if MLS wasn't overshadowed on TV by better leagues and vastly more talented teams, there's still the almost total blackout of intelligent soccer commentary in all major media outlets. When Jon Stewart and Drew Carey talk about pro soccer more often (and more intelligently) than Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon (the "Pardon the Interruption" sports-show guys), you know your sport really doesn't matter.
We all know Max Bretos and Christian Miles have a long way to go, so do Paul Caligiuri, Christopher Sullivan, etc. Think about every English commentator. They've been raised on the game, standards are a bit higher, etc. Our commentators are as young as the professional game. The more games they cover, the better and more prepared they'll make themselves. Anything that Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon say against the sport of soccer is publicity for the league. Frankly, I'll take it.
This isn't MLS' fault, of course, but it's hard to justify $250 million to lure David Beckham to America and a series of expensive soccer-specific stadium deals when the league as a whole is still millions in the red.
We all know now that Mr. Beckham COULD make $250 million. His guaranteed salary is $5-6 million a year though. As for Soccer-Specific Stadiums pushing the MLS further into the red. Several teams have already turned profits - and have since 2005. Think about the nascent stages of ANY PROFESSIONAL league. Think about the English Premier League in the late 1980s. There has to be significant spending in order to build your league. Don Garber knows that, Ivan Gazidis knows that.
The 2,600 temporary construction jobs and 800 full-time jobs will be a nice boost to the local economy, to be sure, but what percentage of the good jobs will go to actual Chester residents?
I saw Chester Mayor Wendell Butler at the MLS Philly 2010 Press Conference and trust me, he seems like the guy that wouldn't allow otherwise. I don't have a great source but I have heard that over 70% of the Chester casino's staff are from Chester or the surrounding area.
He goes on to mention positive things - youth participation, ties to ethnic communities, but fails to touch on the fact that 3,400 have already put their deposits two years in advance. Call me biased, but there has been nothing more fun to watch than the development of Major League Soccer. The ebb and flow of public sentiment. The progression of teams. Every year it gets better and better, and this was after years of inconsistency. It's safe to say, however, this league is here to stay. Let's revisit this in 10 years when Philadelphia has won several MLS championships, draws 18-20k a game, and soccer finds its way past the NBA into the Big Three.