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June 9, 2010 at 1:16 PM

Sigi Schmid talks D.C., Nkufo and World Cup after training

(Final thoughts before D.C. game…) “As we said, the game against New England was a step in the right direction. We want to make sure we keep going in the right direction and we build upon that. We know that D.C. can be a very dangerous team. You can’t look at a team’s record. I know that sounds like coach-speak, but at the end of the day you really can’t because our league is so tight from top to bottom. So we’ve got to be prepared to play but we have got to continue to play in the same manner that we played against New England.”

(On losing players like Le Toux and King…) “Obviously in Seba’s case you can’t protect every player. So who gets taken? Stephen King was available in that same expansion draft and Philadelphia decided to choose Seba. There’s been other players that have been available in the expansion draft, good players. I remember Eddie Gaven being available in the expansion draft and nobody took him. So it all depends on what that team is looking for. So sometimes you lose a guy who you expect to lose or you lose a guy you don’t expect to lose. In the case of Stephen King, sometimes a team is overloaded in a position and another team is under-loaded in that position and you’re able to make a trade that works and helps that person and you go forward. When I was at Columbus, I never thought I’d get a player like Brian Carroll from San Jose, and we got him off San Jose and he became a lock in the middle of midfield for Columbus for the last three years — and San Jose has been looking for a central midfielder for three years. So you don’t know. Can you say that that was a mistake? Not a mistake? You don’t know. At that time-point they thought they had that position filled with Ramiro Corrales and we had a need, and it worked out for us. I think in Stephen’s case, it was a good opportunity for him because D.C. was light in midfield and we were maybe a little bit heavier there, in terms of guys who can play in that position, and it gave him a good opportunity.”

(On watching Blaise Nkufo in the World Cup…) “Hoping that obviously he does well. We want to see him do well. We want to see Switzerland do well. A World Cup is a tremendous experience so you want to make it last as long as possible. Fingers will be crossed, want to make sure he doesn’t get injured. So you want to make sure of that as well. But you hope he plays well, because when a player is in good form, when he comes off a competition where his team’s done well, it fills him with a lot of confidence and happiness and that carries over.”

(On his availability based on Swiss team’s run) “The earliest he can play for us is July 15th. It’s a very fluid situation trying to determine. We need to give him a little bit of time off and we need to get him back in training before the game. So that situation is fluid as to how many days off and how many days back in training. All that is dependent on when exactly Switzerland exits the World Cup. But it’s something that we’re in contact with him on and something we’ve already spoken about before the tournament, and he understands. He needs some to his family, he needs a little bit of a break after the World Cup, but he’s also very committed to being ready to play for us as soon as possible.”

(But if they were in the final, no chance he’d play July 15…) “If he went to the finals, I think he’d be exceedingly happy, because that’s a large bonus money for him and for that rest of the team. And I’m sure the country of Switzerland would be in euphoria, but obviously something like that — a run into the semifinals, or a run into the finals — would definitely impact his start date.”

(On plans for World Cup break…) “Hanging out, watching a lot of games. Make sure my DVR is working and see all that. As with all the players, I’m going to take some days away in this break period as well and do some things but probably there’s always going to be one eye on the TV and watch games. There’s certain games you always want to watch live because, I don’t know why, even when you record them, just watching them live it just a different feeling. You can pretend for it to be live, but it’s just not the same.”

(Picks to win it?) “Obviously Spain is going to be very good. Spain’s going to be a team everyone has to contend with. Brazil is always a strong team. I think Holland could’ve been someone that could’ve surprised people, but the injury to Robben now, that maybe takes a little bit of the edge off of them. I thought Ivory Coast might have a possibility to surprise some people with the World Cup being in Africa, but now with Drogba’s injury, that makes them a little more tenuous. I mean the usual countries that step in World Cups — the Germanys, the Italys, the Argentinas — usually have decent runs just because of their, it’s not just tradition, the players have a certain mentality and hardness to them that allows them to compete. And for the U.S., getting into the next round. A lot depends on who you draw, who comes out of the other groups. Sometimes you get a good draw and sometimes you get a draw that’s not so favorable for you. But that draw, when you get into the round of 16, is a really important game, because sometimes you just end up running into the wrong team at the wrong time. But if you get through that game of 16, anything is possible from there. Once you get into the round of 8, everyone’s good, so it really doesn’t matter and you can jump all the way. In the round of 16, you can still maybe draw a more favorable opponent then another.”

(On teams he is pulling for…) “The United States and obviously being of German heritage I’ve got to pull for Germany. It depends. There are certain games you watch as a fan and there are certain games I watch as a soccer coach. When the U.S. plays, I’m more a fan, and when Germany plays, I’m also more of a fan. When the other teams play I’m more of a coach.”

(On Michael Ballack…) “Obviously he’s a quality player, so I’m sure there’s a number of teams knocking on his door, wanting him to play. The word is, with him missing the World Cup that he wants to play in another major competition, so he wants to play in the Euros in 2012. Based upon that, I don’t see him going to the United Arab Emirates or something to collect a check and basically phase out his career. So I don’t know. I’m sure he has opportunities in Germany, I’m sure he has opportunities in England, and I’m sure if he wanted to come to the United States he’d have opportunities here.”


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