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May 23, 2014 at 12:30 PM

Sigi Schmid reacts to the USMNT roster, provides injury updates

Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid met with reporters after Friday’s practice, his last availability before a road game this weekend against rival Vancouver. Much of the conversation, though, focused on the U.S. national team, and the recent news that Clint Dempsey and DeAndre Yedlin were on the 23-man World Cup roster, but not Brad Evans.

Schmid also addressed the Landon Donovan omission and gave some injury updates. Here is a full transcript:

*     *     *

(Will Brad Evans be available Saturday in Vancouver?) “Obviously Brad is back. He trained with us today. We’ll see. He’s had a very intense week of training. They really haven’t had any days off, so we’ll see where he’s at physically and make that decision tomorrow.”

(What did you make of Jurgen Klinsmann’s decisions for the World Cup roster?) “Picking a World Cup squad is always difficult. The decisions at the end of the group are always difficult. When you’re not there day to day, when you’re not on the inside of what’s going on, you don’t know exactly why decisions come the way they are. But obviously there is always going to be controversy, there is always going to be intrigue around certain decisions. Those are things that are U.S. Soccer’s concerns right now, not mine.”

(Besides physically, do you get the sense that Evans is OK mentally to return to MLS games this quickly?) “You’ll see. That situation is something that takes a while sometimes to settle in. I know Chad Marshall and I talked about it when he went through it in 2010. I know when Taylor Twellman went through it, we talked on the phone a few times in 2006. I was there as an assistant coach in ’94 and was part of informing some guys on those decisions. It probably really hits home the first time you see the team play and you’re not part of it. That’s when it really hits home. But there is a ways to go. You never know what could happen. Injuries can happen, and all of a sudden you think you’re out and all of a sudden you’re back in. You never know.”

(What does this inclusion mean for DeAndre Yedlin?) “It’s fantastic for DeAndre and his situation — as young as he is, as inexperienced as he is right now at the international level — to get that opportunity and to get that exposure. We all have a lot of faith in DeAndre’s talent level and his ability, and I think he’s made great strides since he’s played here. I think there are still things he can become better at. I’m sure Jurgen feels the same way and I know DeAndre feels the same way. But he’s continuing to grow, he’s continuing to develop, and this is just another step in that development.”

(What does it mean for the organization to have the first homegrown player on the USMNT roster?) “I think it’s something for all the kids in the academy and the kids in the Seattle area to look at and say, ‘Hey, there’s a path here.’ There’s a path that leads not only to professional soccer, but there’s a path that leads to the World Cup. And obviously there is money involved, so he’s going to make a nice bit of change. I know Frankie Hejduk bought a Hummer with his first World Cup bonus. I’m not suggesting that for DeAndre. (laughs) … It certainly represents a pathway, and I think there has only been like four Seattle guys or Washington guys who have been on the World Cup team: Chris Henderson being one of them; Kasey Keller is a Seattle guy to a certain extent, as well; Marcus Hahnemann is another one; obviously now DeAndre. You never know. You make it at a young age and you think it’s the first one of many, but you never know, so you have to experience them and you have to enjoy it and you have to make as much use of it as you can in terms of it being motivation for you, not being a gift for having done well.”

(How do you think Evans took the news?) “I’ve known Brad a long time. Not just Brad, but any player, what you’re going to do is you’re going to use that stiff upper lip or whatever and you’re going to try to put a good face on it and you’re going to try to be strong, but there is pain inside. If you don’t walk away with some pain inside, you’re not human. It’s going to take a little bit of time, but he’s a strong guy, he’s a strong character, this team means a lot to him, this organization means a lot to him, and when he steps on the field, he’s going to be 100-percent committed.”

(Sounders fans on Twitter reached out to Evans with a lot of affection. How was he received here?) “Good. Good. We didn’t make a big thing of it or anything like that, but the teammates know. They know. Chad Marshall, his roommate on the road, is happy to have Brad back.”

(Did you have any thoughts on Landon Donovan not making the squad?) “Again, like I said, that’s Jurgen’s decision. That’s something he has to evaluate as it relates to Landon’s individual abilities in the group. Every coach comes to a different decision. If you picked five coaches from across the U.S. and said, ‘Here is your pool of 30. Pick your final 23,’ you’d have five different 23s. Everybody would differ at some point at some time on maybe two or three players. You might agree on 17 to 20 of them, then the other three you’re going to argue on, but that’s just natural.”

(Do you think any other of those five hypothetical coaches would have left Donovan off?) “Hard to say. Again, unless you’re there every day, you don’t know the details. You don’t know what the thought process is and what the decision-making process is. It’s easy to sit back and criticize him. At the end of the day, what is coaching or what is leadership in any business capacity? You’re going to be held accountable based on the decisions you make. If you make decisions and you get more of them right than wrong, you’re going to be considered a good CEO or a good coach. If you get more wrong than right, then you’re going to get fired and you’re considered a back coach or a bad CEO. The proof is in the pudding as you move forward.”

(What is Lamar Neagle’s availability looking like?) “With Lamar, it’s a hamstring, not a knee. It’s a hamstring and he trained today. We didn’t want him to push it. We feel it’s minor and we’re just going to make a decision on if it’s worthwhile risking it this weekend with it being minor.”

(And to clarify, Evans will at least travel to Vancouver?) “Yeah. He’s going. We’re taking 20.”

(And Sean Okoli’s MRI came back OK?) “Yeah, it was negative, so there is nothing structurally wrong at all.”

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