Time off a good way to re-energize
WITH the friendly games over, we looked forward to time away from each other and from soccer. A break after a long training camp is important for all players.
Many of you may be thinking that, with the first game right around the corner, we should not have time off, but this is one of the reasons that Bruce Arena is the right man to be our coach. He understands that after those first three weeks together we will all be physically fit and will need time to focus before the games begin.
These are days that I do not take lightly. It is my chance to relax physically and mentally but, more importantly, to see my wife, Charisse. It has been more than three weeks since I last saw her. Having to spend so much time away is one of the downsides to this profession. Thankfully, I have a loving and understanding woman who is rooting for me.
DURING MY time off Charisse and I spent time doing things together that we love to do. This really helps me to escape soccer. It is amazing what a couple of days can do. I felt that I had been away from the team for a week and was excited to get back to playing again.
It is funny because a lot of coaches feel that the family is a distraction to players. Some coaches isolate their players because they believe it is the only way their players can be focused. I have heard that this has happened in the past with the U.S. team. However, every week, with our club teams we are with our families before our games. It is what we are used to and most happy with.
Bruce made a good point that there needs to be a good balance between family and soccer. He gives us every opportunity to make this happen and as a result we are happier.
AFTER BEING refreshed we were excited to get to Germany. We arrived at 6 in the morning in Hamburg, after a 7-hour flight from Newark. I was surprised when we landed. There were about 50 people from the media, a choir, and some dignitaries waiting for us.
None of us expected any type of reception, so we were pleasantly surprised. After shaking hands with the dignitaries, we boarded the bus to the hotel. Little did we know we were going to be traveling within a police convoy. The security presence for us has been very noticeable and intimidating, but makes me feel very safe.
The U.S. Soccer Federation has treated us with first-class travel and accommodations. Our hotel is top quality. They have taken care of everything for us off the field and have left us with nothing to worry about but playing soccer, or should I say "fussbal."
It seems that we are taking a different approach from most teams in the World Cup. From what I hear we are the only team that is staying in a major city.
Most teams are staying in smaller towns outside of the cities. I even read somewhere that the Spanish team is staying in a hotel where the most expensive room is about $128 a night. Though the price of a room does not say everything, comfort does. These differences allow us to get the total experience of being a part of a World Cup.
There is a lot of excitement in our team and in the city of Hamburg. Everyone seems to be waiting for that first kick, that first goal, and that first win. You can see the excitement in all the faces, including mine. As you know, this is extremely rare for a laid-back kid from the islands. Wish us luck and we will do our best to make you proud.
Kamehameha graduate Brian Ching will represent the U.S. in the upcoming World Cup.