The year was 2008.
Alejandro Moreno was heading to a team dinner on the eve of another road match. Suddenly, a request.
ESPN, the network broadcasting tomorrow's match, wanted to speak to Mr. Moreno.
Flush with excitement and perhaps a nerve or two--this was ESPN, after all--Moreno strode into the meeting room with the producers and broadcast talent, ready to speak clearly and candidly about the next day's match. He was going to knock this interview out of the park.
That is, until he found out he was only serving as a translater. For his strike partner, Guillermo Barros Schelotto. What a bummer.
Still, Moreno sucked it up and sat in the interview room for nearly two hours, orchestrating a conversation between the two parties. He didn't have to stay, it wasn't his job, but he did it anyway.
Three years later, Moreno's phone is ringing. It's ESPN, and they want to speak with him again. This time, however, it's because they want to offer him a job. Turns out being a good sport and choosing to stay in that interview room was a good call, after all.
Speaking in front of the 2013 version of the Columbus Crew, this was Moreno's lesson. Interviews and media obligations might not always seem like fun, but if you approach each one with a professionalism and a positive attitude, they can pay big dividends in the end, even after you're done playing.
Moreno's insight was just a part of a two-hour discussion on the ins-and-outs of dealing with the media in MLS, led by Dan Courtemanche, Will Kuhns and Gabriel Gabor. The training sessions have been utilized by 12 teams during this preseason as a way to make sure their players are sharp when they step outside the white lines.
For the young players, the information was new, and likely more thorough than they anticipated. For seasoned vets like Danny O'Rourke and Chad Marshall, the session served more as a refresher before the start of the campaign. These guys literally do hundreds of interviews a year, so it's good to be reminded of some key principles:
Mainly, show your personality, never lie, be a good person and stay away from doing things like this:
And of course, don't get yourselves in a situation like this, either:
Back in action after an off day, the Black & Gold took to the training field this morning before doing a youth soccer clinic for the Greater Osceola United Club in Central Florida on Tuesday evening. Below are some shots of the guys helping out the local youth side. Participating players included Ben Speas, Aaron Schoenfeld, Ethan Finlay, Matt Lampson, Eric Gehrig, Justin Meram, Chad Barson and Josh Williams, along with Assistant Coach Duncan Oughton.
Crew midfielder Wil Trapp and the United States begin their 2013 U-20 World Cup Qualifying campaign against Haiti on Monday night in the CONCACAF U-20 Championships in Puebla, Mexico. The Homegrown product from Gahanna, Ohio has been a mainstay in Head Coach Tab Ramos' camp leading up to the tournament, and figures to be an influential figure in the United States' midfield.
The U.S. features in Group A of the 12-team tournament with Haiti and Costa Rica as the top four nations will advance to the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey this summer.
Monday night's match against Haiti can be found on FOX Soccer Channel, and will be shown live at 6:30 p.m. ET.
Ahead of Saturday evening's Disney Pro Soccer Classic clash with USL-Pro side Orlando City (6:00 p.m. ET/Stream), the Black & Gold played a scrimmage on Saturday morning against MLS rival Sporting Kansas City. The technical staff wanted an extra match to get their players additional minutes, and the Crew delivered, downing Sporting by a final score of 5-2. The Black & Gold had five different goal-scorers, with Shawn Sloan, Ethan Finlay, Justin Meram, Konrad Warzycha and Ben Speas all finding the net.
"It was great for everybody. We got our guys more playing time that we were looking for - some guys got 90 minutes and some got 60 - but it was a good exercise," said Crew Assitant Coach Ricardo Iribarren. "It wasn't the start we were looking for, but we found the way we needed to play and got the result. We're happy with everybody and it was a good win."
Full match details are below.
SKC - Dom Dwyer (Soony Saad) 5
CLB -- Shawn Sloan (Danny O'Rourke) 8
CLB -- Ethan Finlay (Aaron Schoenfeld) 46+
CLB -- Justin Meram (unassisted) 59
CLB -- Konrad Warzycha (Kyle Hyland) 64
SKC -- Soony Saad (Kyle Miller)
68 CLB -- Ben Speas (Ethan Finlay) 71
SKC -- Peterson Joseph (caution; tactical foul) 17
CLB -- Danny O'Rourke (caution; reckless foul) 35
CLB -- Eric Gehrig (caution; delaying a restart) 52
Sporting Kansas City: Brian Sylvestre*; Kyle Miller, Ike Opara, Yann Songo'o, Josh Gardner; Michael Thomas (Lawrence Olum 61), Peterson Joseph, Christian Duke*; Adama Mbengue* (Mike Reidy* 59), Dom Dwyer, Soony Saad
Columbus Crew: Samir Badr*; Jordan Gafa*, Eric Gehrig, Drew Beckie, Kyle Hyland*; Ethan Finlay, Danny O'Rourke, Tony Tchani, Justin Meram; Shawn Sloan*, Aaron Schoenfeld
Second Half: Daniel Withrow*; Reed Matte*, Eric Gehrig, Chad Barson, Kyle Hyland*; Ethan Finlay, Kevan George, Konrad Warzycha*, Justin Meram; Ben Speas, Ryan Finley
Crew Designated Player Federico Higuain made the media rounds while in New York this week. Here is an interview Pipa did with CNN Español.
“Espero poder quedarme aquí mucho tiempo” - Federico Higuain
Translation: "I hope to be able to stay here for a long time"
Black & Gold midfielder, Ethan Finlay, talks with TheCrew.com after his two-goal performance against the Philadelphia Union to help the Crew to a 4-0 win in the Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic.
FAMILIAR FACES RETURN
Monday afternoon's training session saw the return of two familiar faces to Black & Gold preseason camp, as 2012 co-leading scorers Jairo Arrieta and Eddie Gaven joined their teammates in Orlando. Arrieta - who has been away on national team duty with Costa Rica since the opening of Crew training camp - was happy to re-join his club side.
"It was very good to train with my teammates for the first time today - it's great to be back and I'm happy to be here in Orlando with the team," said Arrieta on Monday evening.
Head Coach Robert Warzycha wasted little time inserting Arrieta into the fray, as the Costa Rican forward immediately jumped into small-sided games and open competition. He will be available for Wednesday's Disney Pro Soccer Classic clash with Philadelphia (1:00 p.m. ET / TheCrew.com/preseason).
Gaven returned to training camp following the birth of his second child, and he's happy to report that both wife and baby are doing well.
"Everybody is doing well, and everyone is healthy which is the most important thing," said Gaven. "I'm excited to be back with the team now and working towards our first game against Chivas on March 2."
Gaven and his wife have named their newborn son Michael Joseph Gaven.
THE GANG'S (ALMOST) ALL HERE
With the addition of Arrieta and Gaven, Warzycha nearly has his full squad in camp. Only Wil Trap (U.S. U-20 National Team duty) and Federico Higuain (MLS Media Tour) are not currently in Orlando, while Homegrown player Aaron Horton is now on trial at Sweden's Hammarby following his time in Sarajevo. Higuain returns to Crew camp Tuesday evening and will be eligible to play in Wednesday's match.
"It's the first time we've had almost everybody together. Pipa [Higuain] will be back shortly, and everyone is healthy and pushing each other in competition," said Warzycha after Monday's training session.
He continues, "I think Gaven and Arrieta looked good today, they looked like themselves and they're happy to be here. We're going to try to get better on Wednesday against Philadelphia. It's another exhibition and fitness is going to be a component. We looked good against Toronto, and we're going to try to do the same on Wednesday."
Sunday was a regeneration day for the starters from Saturday's 1-0 win over Toronto FC in the Disney Pro Soccer Classic. The tweet below is from Head Athletic Trainer Dave Lagow, showing the players' makeshift recovery setup in Orlando following their weight room session. On Monday the guys will get back into full action.
— Dave Lagow (@DaveLagow) February 10, 2013
Newly acquired defender Gláuber speaks to TheCrew.com after scoring the match-winning goal against Toronto FC at the Disney Pro Classic on Saturday. The match in Orlando was Gláuber's debut for the Black & Gold.