Kicking it with Jimmy Conrad
Since the US Open Cup Quarterfinal match between Seattle and the Kansas City Wizards is coming up on Tuesday, I checked in with Jimmy Conrad, Wizards captain and defender for the US National team. Below, take a look at his commentary on Seattle, the Cup, and how good looking Jimmy Conrad is.
Ness: The Wizards go to the Emerald City on Tuesday. Predictions? A tornado, perhaps?
Jimmy Conrad: I will only offer that I've always considered Seattle as the pre-eminent team in USL, their inclusion into MLS next year will be a welcome addition, and after their systematic dismantling of Chivas USA in the last round of the Open Cup, I would expect a very tough game from a very tough team. I would like to add that I should be a politician with that answer. Thank you.
Ness: You made your first appearance for the national team here at Qwest in 2005… on a scale of 1 to incredibly awesome, how awesome was that first game in a USA kit?
JC: It was incredibly awesome because it was an opportunity I had been patiently waiting for since I had been in the league for a few years. Not too many players get their first cap at age 28, like myself, but I wasn't going to let age be an issue or excuse. I just wanted to prove that I could play on the national team and that I deserved to be there. I'd like to think I've done that.
Ness: Two-part question – what do you think of Seattle entering MLS next year, and of the rapid expansion in MLS in general?
JC: Like I said above, I believe the inclusion of Seattle into MLS is a great coup. It's clear they have the fan base, creative and forward-thinking owners, and a talented group of players who have already proven that they can play at the MLS level. In terms of expansion in general, I think it would be a great thing to be 12 years old and playing soccer right now. The opportunities expansion provides to our young American players is very, very exciting.
Ness: You played with Sounders defender Taylor Graham for a couple of years. Any good things to say about him?
JC: (Laughs) Well, "good" is a relative term but I will say this: I know he's got the cajones to step up and take the last kick in penalties to win a championship only to miss and let his goalkeeper make the save, win the championship, and be the hero. I believe that proves he's got courage AND compassion. Oh yeah, he's got freckles, he doesn't tan well, and he's tall. Wait, what was your question again?
Ness: Regarding the US Open Cup… Chivas boss Preki recently said “clubs in our league do not take this tournament seriously.” Do you think that’s a common belief among MLS clubs?
JC: Preki is one of a kind but he's not alone in the thought that if MLS clubs can get into the later rounds of the Open Cup without using their regulars they will do it. Of course, if somehow the team finds itself in the Open Cup finals they would DEFINITELY start singing a different tune about the competition. Like, "It's clear we have the depth to compete at the highest level and attaining the Open Cup trophy, which is a goal for us every year, is something we are very, very focused on." It's part of the song and dance. You get knocked out early by a lower division team, you don't take it seriously and if you find yourself in the finals, it's been your goal all along. Coaching Manual Volume 1, Chapter 12, page 236.
Ness: If (Wizards teammate) Claudio Lopez is nicknamed The Louse, what do we call Jimmy Conrad? The Gnat? The Stag Beetle?
JC: The ant. Because the ant's success has been attributed to their social skills, their ability to adapt to changing environments, their ability to solve complex problems, and their undeniable charm and rugged good looks. Okay, I'll be honest, I threw that last part in there but I'm only speaking the truth!
Big ups to Jimmy for chatting with me. I wish him the best of luck in the rest of the MLS season, but I hope the Sounders can beat his side on Tuesday!