Thursday, July 17, 2008

U.S. Olympic Team Conference Call

New-Agey instrumental music is playing on hold. Ok, it's stopped now. Silence. Blessed silence. Oh, no, it's started again. Now Neill Beuthe comes on and introduces Peter Nowak. Buethe also reads off the complete roster:
GOALKEEPERS (2): Brad Guzan (Chivas USA), Chris Seitz (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (5): Patrick Ianni (Houston Dynamo), Michael Orozco (San Luis), Michael Parkhurst (New England Revolution), Nathan Sturgis (Real Salt Lake), Marvell Wynne (Toronto FC)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Freddy Adu (SL Benfica), Michael Bradley (SC Heerenveen), Maurice Edu (Toronto FC), Benny Feilhaber (Derby County), Stuart Holden (Houston Dynamo), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA), Danny Szetela (Brescia Calcio)
FORWARDS (4): Jozy Altidore (Villarreal), Charlie Davies (Hammarby IF), Brian McBride (out of contract), Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew)

Peter says he has evaluated the whole roster and Olympic team needs. "We wanted to field two competitive teams."

"We feel very good about the players" He also says the group for the Olympics is difficult.

Nowak now talks about working with player agents, managers and teams to bring in players and to compromise on player selection.

Michel Parkhurst, Brad Guzan and Brian McBride are the overage players selected. "He's underrated defender in our league," Nowak says of Parkhurst. He liked Parky's performance in the Gold Cup.

Nowak talks about how Robbie Rogers has come on strong recently. "He's developed not only his strengths, but his weaknesses."
Nowak says that Donovan was considered for the team, but that a lot of factors went into selection, including wanting a strong team for WC qualifying. He talks then about Kljestan, about how he is an experienced and versatile player. "It's time for him to shine on the international level."
Nowak is asked by Luis Arroyave about Chad Barrett's exclusion. "If I would have 30 places, everybody would get in," said Nowak. It seems he was more inclined to go with versatile forards who can also play in the midfield. He says nice things about Chad's progress, though, thanks him for helping the team qualify.
Nowak on McBride "He's going to be vital to this team. He brings great experience. For his career, this Olympics will be the cherry on the cake."
Nowak talks about the difficulties of the schedule - with CONCACAF qualifiers in the way. "The senior team is very important also."
Nowak talks about how the guys in season are match-fit, while others are not. "We have to get the groups on the same page. It's going to be a little challenging."
Because of the number of games in group play and weather conditions, Nowak really wanted versatile players on the squad "We would like to have options."
Brad and Parky missed the Olympic deadline by only one year, and Nowak says this was a factor in the decision. "Team chemistry". Nowak says they thought about other players, but he feels good about the choice.
Here are the team alternates, by the way: Goalkeeper: Dominic Cervi (Out of Contract)
Defender: Frankie Hejduk (Columbus Crew)
Midfielder: Dax McCarty (FC Dallas)
Forward: Robbie Findley (Real Salt Lake)
Sal Zizzo wasn't picked - Nowak seems to imply that Hamburg didn't want to release him, but ultimately says there wasn't room for Sal on the roster.
CONCACAF Qualifying isn't a controversy Nowak wants to get into. "That's not my concern. My concern is to get these guys ready for Japan."
"We did everything in our power to get them on the field," Nowak says of players in transition with club teams.
I ask Peter what he's looking for from players in the preparation matches. It turns out he wants to acclimatize the players to the weather conditions more than anything.
Having asked my question, I'm signing off now. The whole conference will be podcast on the U.S. Soccer site later.


Ben7 said...

I'm hoping somehow he overlooks/forgets the brilliant rookie Sean Franklin...

LA needs him much more than the US Olympic Team...

A.C. said...

Sean is injured, so he won't be picked.

Ben7 said...

Well I'm glad no Galaxy player was selected with the current injuries...

still will be following the olympic team closely, since I really like Robbie Rogers.

Thanks for sharing the news :)

L.B. said...

Good stuff AC! Thanks for the info as I was not able to join in on the call. Congrats to Sacha and Brad! And Edu, representing the IE!

Jon E said...

Nowak sez: "My concern is to get these guys ready for Japan."

Why? What's happening in Japan?

Anonymous said...

One of the many joys of blogdom - or blogdumb - it's sometimes impossible to tell when someone is joking or not.

Jon, Japan is our first opponent!

Anonymous said...

Zizzo plays for Hannover not Hamburg