Friday, April 9, 2010

Half Time Heroes World Cup Interviews USA

Daniel Seco is editor in chief of:           His cellphone once went off during a press conference with US coach Bob Bradley. Seco is still feeling the after effects of such jackleg-esque move. Reports remain unconfirmed if Bradley “wakes up in the morning feeling like P-Diddy.”

Half Time Heroes: Compared to some other groups you must have been happy with scoring Group C? You have the glamour game with England and you could say that Algeria and Slovenia are not really World Cup heavyweights are they? So what was you first reaction?
Daniel Seco: When I first found out that the US would be playing in Group C, my initial reactions were that of relief and optimism. We have a great first match against England and the other two teams are extremely beatable. While we might not win the group, I’d be surprised if the USMNT doesn’t advance to the next round.

HTH: What’s been the reaction by the management of the USA when they saw the draw? Save for England does your Coach Bob Bradley see your group C opponents as a threat?
DS: The words “cautiously optimistic” come to mind. Granted, what the team says to the media and what they really feel are two different things. I would surmise that my sentiments and theirs regarding the draw are probably pretty close.

HTH: Before the World Cup draw was made four years your then coach Bruce Arena said he thought that Australia would be one of the weakest teams, this caused Australian fans to get a bit agro. It ended up that the USA was knocked out of the group stage and the Socceroos made the round of 16. Care to make any such claims this time round?
DS: I’m not Bruce Arena as I generally have respect for all teams that have the wherewithal to actually make the field of 32. Simply put, best of luck to the Australian team.

HTH: The USA and Australia have many similarities when it comes to football. The first is a lot people in both countries love calling it Soccer (weeven have t-shirts that say It’s not Soccer Mate!). What’s your opinion on that? The second is that football/soccer is not the most popular sport in both countries. In Australia it faces radical opposition from so called local sports like AFL and the Rugby codes sometimes to the point of sabotage and getting into the mainstream media is a challenge. How is football in USA responding to challenge of your other big other sports?
DS: Soccer continues to grow in America. Hopefully Major League Soccer can continue to grow and become more commonplace in the everyday sports conversation. We’re still  a long way off, but soccer will become a major sport in America sooner rather than later.

HTH: It seems that the World Cup bid is shaping as a European tournament in 2018 and the 2022 tournament looks like a face-off between the USA, Australia, Japan and South Korea. How is your bid going? And how the hell will you guys me able to afford it, isn’t the country broke?
DS: I’d like to think we have a great shot to secure the bid for 2022. Just look back to 1994 – America hosted one of the most successful World Cups in history – even if the mascot was ridiculous. America is broke, but we’ll find a way; we always do.

HTH:  What is your honest assessment of the quality of the MLS on the field and off the field?
DS: The league is struggling a bit as the players and owners are trying to come to an agreement over contracts and free agency. I think the product on the field is adequate and should continue to get better. Will it ever become the EPL? Of course not, but it doesn’t need to be. The fans are good and continue to be supportive of their teams. You have to love what the supporters in Seattle and Philadelphia do for their respective teams.

HTH: David Beckham brought a lot of attention to US Soccer  on and off the field. One ofmy favourite moments was David Beckham trying to teach Snoop Dog’s kids to play fooball and then going out and eating some fried chicken after. Did the Beckham experiment work in your opinion?
DS: I always appreciated Beck’s style of play, but as one of my colleagues puts it: “He’s a philanthropist, socialite and sometime soccer player.”

HTH: Back to the World Cup, what are your teams main strengths?
DS: We have a great goalie, strong midfielders and a defense that continues to improve.

HTH: Any weaknesses that you see in the team? 
DS:An inability to score goals. I’d love to discover that Wayne Rooney is actually from Bergen County, New Jersey. Alas, he is not.

HTH: How do you think your team will adapt to the conditions in South Africa where teams can expect high altitude, differing weather conditions and those ubiquitous vuvuzelas that will be blasting for the whole game?
DS: The Yanks are a professional bunch. There’s no reason to believe it will affect them any more than any other team. We’ll be fine.

HTH: What kind of support can your team expect in South Africa?
DS: I imagine the U.S. will have a strong presence in South Africa. We’re sending two of our writers, but I won’t be making the trip. Hopefully we’ll have more supporters there.

HTH: Are you happy with the Coach and the way the team is playing leading in to the World Cup and is there anything you would change?
DS: I respect Coach Bradley a great deal and think he is the right man for the job. The team has dealt with injuries fairly well and seems to be in a great place to make a run come June.

HTH: Tell us the  player in your team that annoys you the most in team USA and why?
DS: Wow, great question. There are so many players to choose from: Dempsey, Landon, Junior Bradley. All of these guys can be great, but often disappear, disappoint or disgust me from time to time.

HTH: The player you like the most in team USA?
DS: Jozy Altidore, our young striker, has shown a lot for his 20 years of age. If the Yanks want to play well in South Africa, it relies on Altidore’s ability to score goals. 

HTH: Any good young players to watch out for?
DS: Besides Altidore, Junior Bradley is still pretty young and a major part of the team. Let’s just hope he doesn’t get a few silly red cards that have him on the bench early and often.

HTH: Lastly please give me a prediction on how your team will progress and also who will be the winner and loser of the World Cup?
DS: Spain takes it and England implodes early. As for the Yanks? I won’t say where they will end up in terms of a round, but they will surprise people with their play.

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