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Chatting with Chelsea

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Latest: Monday September 18, 2000 02:13 PM


Midfielder John O'Brien is a key member of the U.S. men's Olympic soccer team, which headed Down Under hoping to do what it had ever done: make it out of the first round alive. O'Brien, 23, left California at age 17 to develop in Ajax Amsterdam's famed youth program. He is now a member of the first team at Ajax and has earned a spot in the full U.S. national team side during World Cup qualifying.

Check in with O'Brien on throughout the Olympics.

September 18, 2000
Melbourne, Australia

What is your assessment of the 1-1 draw with Cameroon? How do you feel about the result?

After we weathered the initial storm the Cameroonians came out to, we did alright. In the second half, we even had the majority of the game and we could of -- maybe even should of -- pulled off a victory. Now with two ties, it leaves us in a must-win situation against a Kuwait, who could get through on a tie.

As the tourney winds forward, the adrenaline can't be tapped quite as easy, making every game a little bit more difficult than the first. Physically, our team is in good shape. A few players have had to train a little lighter than the rest, myself included due to knocks, but overall we're good.

How did the Cameroon game differ from the Czech game?

One of the best parts of a tourney like this is that you play against such different teams and playing styles. The Czechs were direct, tall and zoned at the back, while the Cameroonians combined a lot more, were very technical and occasionally got out of position at the back. Lastly are the Kuwaitis, who from what we've seen so far have played real organized and condensed and have countered with quick forwards.

Any other news?

Now the Olympics are starting to shine. Other events have started and we've moved to the happening city of Melbourne. We have been meeting other athletes, soccer players especially, and even had time for a chat with Chelsea Clinton at the U.S.-China women's game.

The question for us now is if the happenings are going to distract us or motivate us.

Surely seeing this we would love to be here longer, but during those lonely "rest hours" we're supposed to be getting, it's tough to hold out with hundreds of Chilean fans chanting outside our hotel: "Vamos Chile, vamos Chileano, esta noche, tenemos que ganar."

One single game and one acceptable result.

Until then.

--John O

Related information
Checking In: John O'Brien Archive
Group C: U.S., Cameroon men tie; Czechs upset
SI's Grant Wahl: Clive Charles is missing the point(s)
Brian Dunseth Checks In: Kuwait is underestimated
Landon Donovan Checks In: Put me in coach
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