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January 28, 2012 at 4:32 PM

A stop and chat with Brad Evans

evans mug.jpgBrad Evans is the other half of a duo that returned to Sounders FC camp Saturday after serving with the U.S. national team. The midfielder came on as a substitute in both games Saturday and Wednesday, and now has six caps.

After practice he talked about the experience, watching Jeff Parke go through USMNT camp for the first time and had a couple fun notes regarding trialist goalkeeper Andrew Weber (another Phoenix native). Here’s the transcript:

* * *

(What was the timing on your call-up?) “I was here pretty much the whole time. I was working out with (fitness coach Dave Tenney) and then I came home for lunch and got a call from Sigi and was on a flight the next morning.”

(How does a Klinsmann camp compare to a Bradley camp?) “It was definitely different. I just remember with Bob from the (start) it was playing twice a day with fitness — it was pretty intense from the get-go. I think Jurgen’s philosophy is he wants everybody on the same page, so I think for the first six days we maybe played on the field twice. The rest of the time was spent in the gym. I think he has a real belief in (Athletes’ Performance), he helped him with the German national team; he had him all through the World Cup when they made that run. He’s a big believer (in that type of performance training) and now that they’ve signed a contract with U.S. Soccer they’re pretty involved. We spent a whole lot of time just doing small, little exercises making sure that everybody was on the same page, working on little technical things. Then we got on the field, and it was pretty similar, but it was a much smaller camp — 20 guys, three of those were goalkeepers, so with 16 field players it made for intense trainings. They were small and they were short, but they were very, very intense.”

(Did you have a bunch of family and friends make it to Saturday’s game in Phoenix?) “Yeah, absolutely. Everybody came out. It was a great atmosphere — the second largest U.S. crowd for Arizona, which was good. It was 22,000, all Americans pretty much. Small contingency of Venezuelans, but everybody else was American. It was good to see old friends I hadn’t seen in a long time, and obviously get the result and send the fans home happy.”

(How’d you feel about the way you played in the two games?) “The first game was just all over the shop. It was just, ‘Let’s get the ball down the field and try and score.’ The second game was much different — you’re down a guy, you kind of want to try to keep possession and keep in their half being up 1-0, so try to connect your passes. I think the guys who came on did well. We held the ball in the corner. We didn’t have too many chances on goal. They were really putting pressure on there for a while. I think toward the end they kind of got tired and died down. We were able to keep the ball in the corner, and they weren’t really pressing that much. We withstood the pressure and it was a tale of two different games and two difference scenarios.”

(You played at right back before, how nice was it to play in the midfield, your natural position?) “It was good. From the beginning I was always playing in the midfield — whether it was with Jermaine (Jones) or Ricardo (Clark) or Jeff Larentowicz — it was good. Those are guys who are a little bit older than I am and they play overseas, so it was two guys, three guys that you kind of want to emulate because they’ve taken their careers to the next level, which is good to see. And you see it in their play, you see it in the way that they play, and it’s something for me to watch for sure. If I can learn just a little bit, take a little bit off of each other their game, it’s going to be beneficial.”

(Is there some familiarity and comfort you have with the U.S. team that you didn’t have in your first call-up?) “Yeah. Obviously when you get your first call up you’re kind of nervous. You don’t know what to expect. This one I knew pretty much what to expect from the get-go. I think getting a late call-up was beneficial, as well. I hadn’t touched a soccer ball since the last game of the season because of my ankle, and I let them know that and they said, ‘No problem, if you need to get extra work in after practice, then we’ll do that to get your touch.’ But from Day 1 I felt good. Ankle felt good, body felt great, and that got me confidence going into it. And there weren’t the expectations that maybe (would’ve come with an early December call up). They let you know in early December usually, and if you get that one you’re really, really working hard and you really want to show what you can do. But when you get that late day-before call up when camp has pretty much already started, it takes a little bit of pressure off your back and you can settle in and play your game. I think it was a comfortable environment for everybody, especially myself. I didn’t feel pressure form any angles. Nothing but positivity, so overall it was great.”

(What was it like watching Jeff go through it for the first time?) “It was good. He is a guy who always is going to be prepared. He doesn’t stop working. Obviously, he had his wedding and he got married, but other than that he’s a hard worker. From that aspect he’s going to come in fit, he’s going to come in strong and his play is so consistent it always is what it is. He’s even keeled, so you know what you’re going to get from him. I thought he did really well. It’s a really good contingent of players. It’s tough to break in. And the guys that Jurgen selected on the front end are probably the guys that he wants to see and wants to play. Unless you have an unbelievable camp, it’s hard to break through that starting 11 that he already had molded in his head. We obviously did the best we could, and we got playing time as well, so in saying that it was successful. And for Jeff getting his first cap, everybody was happy for him.”

(Any impressions from your first day here? Maybe with some new guys?) “It’s tough. There are so many guys. I don’t even know names yet. It’ll take a couple of days, a couple practices, to get used to guys, similar to the camp we were just in. You’re around all new guys and you get used to different styles of play and everything. Today is what it is. You play 15 minutes; it’s not enough to really get into a flow of a game. It’s really about who finishes chances first. Overall, a good training. It will be exciting over the next couple of weeks to see how everything folds out.”

(Do you know Andrew Weber? Isn’t he an Arizona guy?) “We played in high school against each other. I’m sure he remembers, but we were playing high school once and my high school team was playing against his, and I rounded him and scored, and he grabbed me with both hands by my jersey and threw me in a 360. This was when I was like a sophomore in high school, I weighed like 140 pounds, and he was still the same size that he is now. He got a red card and got sent off. I’ll always remember that. But yeah, we grew up playing club together, too. His head coach was my head coach for a while. So we know each other pretty well and his brother as well. We went on a couple trips to Europe together, so I’ve known him for quite some time.”

(You see he’s going to be on The Amazing Race?) “I know. I saw that. This is going to be awesome. I told him I want to know who wins so I can bet it in Vegas. He said, ‘I can’t tell you. I can’t tell you.’ ”


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