So as Real Salt Lake gets ready to officially open their pre-season camp this week to shake of the rust of a couple months away from action, that has impacted me as well as my little audio recorder failed me as I sat down to talk with the MLS Cup MVP Nick Rimando.
Nick will join Kyle Beckerman and Robbie Findley in another two week USMNT camp later this week as the team preps for a Feb. 24th matchup with El Salvador. The US roster will feature all MLS players and could be the last chance for guys whose World Cup dreams for 2010 are sitting on the fence.
I asked Nick about the crazy off season, or for him really the lack of a off season, between being the MLS Cup MVP just a few days before thanksgiving, to the launch of his blog and clothing line, both named "Nick is my Homeboy" an homage to the sign that hung in the south end stands of RIo Tinto for the last half of the season. That would be enough for most folks, but Nick was in high demand and was showing up all over the Salt Lake valley to make appearances and meet his many fans.
More after the jump
The real high point of the offseason took place mid December with the arrival of Benny Rose Rimando, born on the 16th. Just a week later Nick was doing his part to help others have a great holiday and showed up to long lines at the RSL team store. After a couple days off for Christmas, it was the honor of being called in the USMNT January camp down in Southern California as the team prepped for a match against fellow World Cup participant Honduras. While Nick didn't see action in the match he was in the 18 for the match, and after a couple weeks back home Nick will be heading back to camp with the USMNT.
I asked Nick about the chance to go into camp and fight for a spot to represent the US, and the chance to work with some of the best players and coaches in the United States. His response that any player should be honored to be considered as a potential player for his national team and a chance to play in a World Cup. He also mentioned it was a little odd training and being teammates with so many MLS players that often are opponents during most of the year, but a good chance to practice and play with the best the league has to offer.
I joked with Nick that the fans in the south end stands who created the "Nick is my Homeboy" banner are wondering where their royalties are, Nick quickly answered " In my kids college fund, I hope that is OK". It is great how something as simple as a banner made by fans to express their feeling for Nick turned into him wanting to repay the favor by having some t-shirts made up and tossed into the stands for fans. Little did Nick know that after that act, the phones in the front office and team store would start ringing off the hooks with fans wanting to know where and how they could get their very own shirt. Never one to disappoint the fans, Nick has turned that idea into his very own online store.
I let Nick get back to signing autographs and I headed out to take a few more pictures of the FIFA 10 tournament, when I got home I realized that my recorder had indeed failed to capture a single moment of our conversation (silly pause button). It is a good thing I kept the questions simple, and that Nick was good enough to do the same with his answers.
Saturday afternoon also let me touch base with RSL's Raphael Cox, who made it clear that he is ready for the season to start. I get the feeling he is one of those guys who goes crazy without something to do. I noticed that Andy Williams has appeared to drop a few pounds as part of his offseason fitness program, he denied it, but I will let you all be the judge next time you see him.
I will be heading off to RSL practice on Friday so I am hoping to get a lot of pictures and hopefully I will figure out my technology issues so I can bring you a couple of interviews as well.
OFF MY SOAPBOX