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We want to win gold

Competing in his first Olympics, 18-year-old Landon Donovan is the youngest member of the U.S. Olympic soccer team. The forward/midfielder signed a deal with German Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen in 1999, becoming one of the youngest players in U.S. soccer history to sign a professional contract overseas.

Check in with Donovan on throughout the Sydney Olympic Games.

Adelaide, Australia

September 21, 2000

How does it feel to make American soccer history, being the first U.S. men's team to make the quarterfinals?

It is quite incredible to think we made history. We are all very excited, but we know we aren't done yet.

What is your assessment of the Kuwait game? What went right? Wrong?

I thought we played well enough to win the Kuwait game, but I think we could have played better. The guys were a little tired, and it would have been easy to have a letdown, but everyone played well enough to win, and that's the most important thing.

How did it feel to finally get on the field?

It was a huge relief to finally get to play. I was excited and extremely ready, and I was happy to be able to help.

Were you surprised to go in as such an early sub against Kuwait?

I was very surprised when coach John Ellinger told me to warm up. I had to get ready quite quickly, but when he came over and told me I was going in, I didn't care if I was warm or not.

How did it feel to put away that third goal, after missing on a couple of earlier chances?

It was again a big relief, because I knew I should have finished the earlier chances. I was proud of myself for not letting it weigh on me, and I just kept getting forward and trying to score.

What did coach Clive Charles say to you personally and to the group after the game?

Clive congratulated me as well as the team, but he told us that we aren't done yet and that we have to start preparing for Japan.

After your performance against Kuwait, what do you think your role should be in the quarterfinals?

I'm not quite sure what my role will be against Japan, but I will be ready if Clive wants me to start, and I'll be ready if he needs me to come off the bench.

What are your expectations for the quarterfinal game?

I expect to win every soccer game I play in. I expect this team to compete against any team here and to have a chance to win any game we play.

With the team's goal having been to get out of the first round, how do you guard against a letdown in the quarters?

The media may have said our goal was to get to the quarters, but our goal is much greater than that. We want to win a gold medal, and we think we have a chance against any team here.

How have you spent your time since the Kuwait game?

We traveled to Adelaide the day after the Kuwait game, and then we had the next day off. I went golfing with some of the guys and just relaxed all day.

A TV commentator made a mention of you getting ribbed by your teammates for carrying a teddy bear on the road. What's that all about?

I used to carry a bear from my girlfriend with me, but I don't carry it anymore. I don't know how that came up!


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