“The fellows had been consuming burgers in the course of the … / Mondial 2022 / Gr. B / United States-Wales / SOFOOT.com

Participant, he noticed the beard of Alexi Lalas, the expertise of Landon Donovan, but additionally the quarter-finals of the 2002 World Cup with the USA. Now put in in Thionville, greater than 6,000 charging stations Stateshowever very near Metz, the place he performed for 4 years, it’s a little additional than the previous American worldwide David Régis, 27 caps and two World Cups with Workforce USA, appears on the youthful collection of his former teammate Gregg Berhalter, who begins his event this Monday night towards Wales.


What relationship do you have got right now with the USA and their nationwide workforce?
I am going there twice a yr, as a result of my two kids reside there. I’ve stored in contact with the Fédé since our match with Martinique, once I was the supervisor in 2017. We even have a personal website the place we change between former gamers. I usually have Tony Sanneh and Oguchi Onyewu (ex-defender of Metz and now ex-manager of Virton, in Belgium, Ed), who additionally referred to as me not too long ago to supply to accompany him to Qatar the place he was invited. With out my coaching, I might have left, as a result of I do not know this nation. Once I was in Metz, I needed to signal there, however with the American nationality, it was a bit tense. I might have preferred to see the way it goes, they’ve enormous sports activities complexes, I might have been .

No query, subsequently, of boycotting the event?
You do not have to be pretend. Even when we discover that there are issues which can be fallacious within the nation, and that I’m a fervent defender of ecology and respect for human beings, everybody should keep of their place. As athletes, it is the bottom that issues. If we do not go, others will proceed to play. Whether or not we defend a message or whether or not, like France, we offer monetary assist to associations, OK, however boycotting, I am towards it, as a result of I am an athlete and what pursuits me is the sphere.

“In France, we’re at all times afraid of upsetting individuals, however the People, once they defend one thing, they go all the way in which. »

Hugo Lloris, however, refuses to put on the rainbow armband, whereas the USA has put their brand within the colours of the LGBT + flag of their coaching middle. What do you suppose ?
The mentalities are completely different. In France, we’re at all times afraid of upsetting individuals, however the People, once they defend one thing, they go all the way in which. We all know that there are monetary stakes, and the Fed in all probability doesn’t need to harm the Qataris, however the gamers, failing to win the cup, additionally need to mark the event. With out being on the degree of the massive nations, it stays an enormous nation they usually should set an instance. They’re usually decried for that, however take the brand: if they do not, they get slaughtered on the way in which residence. Even when it stays a sport, they signify an influential nation. It is by no means trivial for them to be talked about, particularly at an occasion that everybody is watching.

This yr, the USA took the unprecedented step of practising equal pay for women and men within the nationwide workforce. How did you react to this resolution?
I discover it nice. Once I was in choice, the ladies weren’t put apart in coaching in comparison with us. They do the identical races, put and take the identical pictures and, to coach women (the primary workforce of Amnéville, in Regional 1, Editor’s observe), I do know what they’re going by way of. This measure ought to change the mentality in different nations, make them conscious that women have the identical place as males in sport, as in different sectors of exercise.

While you had been a participant, did the lads’s workforce have a posh vis-à-vis the ladies, due to not being a part of the perfect nations on this planet like them?
No, we knew we lacked high quality in comparison with the Europeans. That is why we see an increasing number of American gamers and coaches in Europe: the USA doesn’t need to keep behind for too lengthy and can do every part to get nearer to the perfect. It may already be seen: the sport is extra enticing, the gamers extra aggressive, issues are altering. Once I arrived in choice, the blokes ate hamburgers in the course of the talks! The coaches handle to alter mentalities, to professionalize the gamers, and it is beginning to come.

“The US doesn’t need to be left behind for too lengthy and can do every part to get nearer to the perfect. »

What to anticipate from the TeamUSA on the World Cup?
What I do know is that they’re fighters, that is why most play in England, Germany, nations the place you need to moist the jersey. Realizing Gregg (Berhalter, coach), who nonetheless performed within the Netherlands, England and Germany, there will probably be sport, but additionally coronary heart. Regardless of the rating, they will not let go. If the sport follows, they will create surprises.

You performed with Berhalter. What sort of man is he?
Somebody very calm, considerate, a visionary who shortly analyzes the opponent. He’s a contemporary coach. When he was taking part in within the Netherlands, he was already telling me about some French golf equipment: “I watched such a match, it was attention-grabbing, are you aware him, this coach? » He’s somebody who cherished soccer and likes to educate, assist his workforce progress and who learns shortly.

He has tremendously rejuvenated the workforce, now removed from the workforce veterans of 1998. Was it essential?
In some unspecified time in the future, it must be, the cycles cannot final too lengthy. And it’s in these competitions that they progress the quickest. It is time, however watch out: an elimination in hens would nonetheless be seen as a failure within the nation. People do not prefer to lose.

You reached the quarterfinals in 2002, and the USA have come out of the swimming pools 4 occasions of their final seven appearances. What’s lacking now to rise to the extent of the perfect nations?
Extra high quality gamers, gamers in Europe, and friendlies towards European groups. For those who play Guatemala or Curaçao, do not anticipate enormous progress… Earlier than the 2002 World Cup, we performed Brazil, Italy and Germany. It was useful.

On this, the League of Nations, which tremendously reduces the variety of pleasant matches, just isn’t excellent news.
In CONCACAF, outdoors of Mexico, Canada and Costa Rica, it is difficult to gauge your self. However why not play towards good European golf equipment? It might additionally make good matches, and it could assist the blokes who aren’t chosen to progress. To evolve, you need to go to the massive ones.

Can boys like Christian Pulisic or Giovanni Reyna take this workforce larger?
They’re precocious, like Landon Donovan, however do not have the shoulders but, like a Zidane. And subsequent to Zidane there have been different guys who may take over. The World Cup is a really quick interval with very large matches, quite a lot of depth and, there, a warmth that you do not know. It’ll be difficult. These gamers may be good in a championship, however in such a brief, demanding event, will they be? That is the place we see the greats.

MLS stopped earlier than the key championships, so a part of the squad had extra time to organize. Can this work of their favour?
It relies on their preparation. In the event that they eat burgers or drink coke… A priori, it is over, however the American stays American! Afterwards, that does not imply something: once I was in Germany, the day earlier than a match, everybody was having three or 4 beers. The subsequent day, you noticed the man operating, you stated to your self: “Rattling, he wasn’t the one who was drunk final evening! (Laughs.)

Will the local weather across the duel with Iran be as particular as in 1998, in your opinion?
It could be much less marked, however even when it stays a soccer match, we are going to nonetheless speak so much about it, politicize it. It’ll at all times be “God versus the Satan”. I do not know the place the Satan is, however there’ll at all times be this stress. The 1998 match, in any case, sticks in our throats. Shedding towards the massive workforce of Yugoslavia, there’s nothing to be ashamed of, however towards Iran, after we had the means, and being eradicated due to this defeat, it hurts very, very badly.

On the sphere, nevertheless, issues went very effectively between the 2 groups. Can the 2022 match nonetheless carry a message of peace?
The workforce is youthful: will they’ve sufficient expertise for that? Afterwards, they might not even take into consideration this rivalry, discover. But when there’s a message to cross and that the gamers can do it, a lot the higher, as a result of they’re watched and we are going to speak about it much more with social networks.

Would you see your self on this workforce?
Yeah, however to not play, it is going method too quick now! (Laughs.) I might take packing containers. Quite to border, encourage, give recommendation. I’ve a factor with younger individuals, moreover I prepare them too (the U15s of US Mondorf, in Luxembourg, Editor’s observe). For those who handle to seize them, you may assist them explode like I did, participant, with Manu Adebayor, Louis Saha, Olivier Dacourt, Valérien Ismaël or Martin Djetou. Manu, as quickly as he sees me, he kneels!

And this Mondial then, who’s it for, in accordance with you?
Brazil, I feel. They’re again on high, the warmth just isn’t going to destabilize them an excessive amount of, and there are too many absentees within the different large nations. Or possibly Argentina.

Iran: one workforce, two atmospheres

Interview by Simon Butel


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