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Today Show
06-25-2002

Katie Couric: For the first time since 1930, the US played in the quarterfinals at the World Cup. They lost by one goal in their final game on Friday after playing well against Germany, one of the best teams in the entire world. Well today theyíre back home in the United States after sparking World Cup Fever all across the country: US World Cup Coach Bruce Arena, Captain Claudio Reyna, and teammates Landon Donovan, Tony Sanneh, and Jeff Agoos. Good Morning and Congratulations to all of you. Itís great to see you!

[Screams from girls]

Katie Couric: Weíve got a big cheering section here this morning.

[More screaming]

Katie: Claudio, did you guys have any sense as you were playing in the World Cup just how excited fans here in this country were getting about it? I mean people were getting up in the middle of the night to watch you guys play.

Claudio Reyna: Yeah I mean, we were calling back to our family and friends telling usÖ it was incredible because we were far away, but we definitely felt it over there that people were following us and it was gathering steam. The further we went the more people were getting up. It was great and we definitely enjoyed it.

Katie: Now, Germany apparently said after the game that they were lucky to have won and that you guys really deserved it. What did you think of that Tony when you heard the German players make that remark?

Tony Sanneh: I mean it was a good consolation prize, but we played well and we have a lot of confidence in ourselves. We appreciate the way the country got behind us and that gave us an extra push. We knew that after they said that we really gave it our all and that we played well. We lost, but thereís no shame in that.

Katie: I think that game, Jeff, against Mexico was such a high for you all. Tell me what it was like for you participating in that game and enjoying that victory?

Jeff Agoos: I was on the bench that game, but the guys did a great job. Itís great to play your neighbors and especially against Mexico. We get four years of bragging rights, so that was really the most important part of it was. If any game we had to of won it would be the Mexico game we were happy with.

Katie: Meanwhile, I should mention Landon that you just turned 20.

Landon Donovan: Thatís right.

Katie: Youíre such a baby.

Landon: AwÖ

Katie: Youíre the youngest player to have scored in the World Cup competitionÖ

Landon: Am I?

Katie: Yes you are. Did you not know that?

Landon: Um, hopefully no one scores in the last couple games so we can keep that. Thatís cool.

Katie: Tell me about that, having that honor. Is that something youíre mindful of?

Landon: I wish I was still in Korea right now and I didnít have that honor, but thatís ok. Um, yeah thatís awesome.

Katie: Now tell me, Bruce, what you think needs to happen, you know I talked to some US Womenís soccer players not too long ago about what the next step needs to be for soccer in this country. Obviously, everyone got excited about the World Cup, and I guess when the team played Germany, it was huge. I think the highest rated programming at 7 a.m. ever and I think something like 3.7 million people were watching. How do you advance the sport further now that youíve guys have done so well?

Bruce Arena: Well, I think the World Cup has given us an awareness of the sport in this country and hopefully that will transfer to our professional league thatís now in its 7th season. Thatís Major League Soccer. In order for us to have a strong national team program and one day hopefully win a World Cup, we need to have a strong professional league. Hopefully, the awareness is there, people will get behind there, local clubs and the different markets in the United States support the sport and will continue to grow. And hopefully weíll make it back to the 2006 World Cup in Germany and hopefully do better.

Katie: Well, now whatís ahead for you? I know that probably you reached your peak as the soccer coach at UVA in the late 70s. Itís sorta hard to top that.

Bruce: Not late 70s. Iím not that old, Katie.

Katie: You told me.

Bruce: 90s.

Katie: They told me that you were there when I was there.

Bruce: I started UVA in 78. I had you in one of my physical education classes. Didnít you know that?

Katie: No, you did not!

Bruce: Iím only kidding you.

Katie: I probably fluked it.

Bruce: I donít know. Iíll look at other opportunities. Coaching a club team or perhaps remaining in this capacity with the US Team.

Katie: Now what will you guys be doing between now and the next World Cup? Hopefully weíll see you all.

Claudio: Um, I actually play in England. Itís actually my off-season right now. And then basically the same, you know, just keep going. You train and play seasons all through the year.

Katie: And what about you, Landon?

Landon: Celebrating.

Katie: Youíve been celebrating for a while. Now you might go back to Germany, right? Is that true?

Landon: Possibly.

Katie: Tell me about that.

Landon: Well, I played in a team in Germany and now Iím back in America playing, but they technically own my rights. I mightÖ(mumbling)

Katie: Do you have a say in the matter?

Landon: I think you always have a say, but weíll see. Iím excited being here playing in America and weíll go from there.

Katie: And Tony?

Tony: I gotta go back to Germany. Iíve been there for 3 years now and I talked to my coach this morning. He said, ďYou have 2 weeks vacation. Enjoy it while you can.Ē I love being in America and Iíll enjoy it all I can.

Katie: Well seeing that you guys obviously have some Germany connections, does that make it particularly tough to get beaten by the German team?

Tony: Yeah because theyíre gonna have bragging rights when I go back. I donít wanna hear that everyday.

Katie: And how about you, Jeff? What will you be up to?

Jeff: I will be rehabbing and getting back to the middle of our season. We haveÖ

Katie: Rehabbing for soccer we should say? Thatís such a loaded word these days. And what will you being doing after that?

Jeff: Weíre in the middle of our MLS season, so I go back to San Jose and the season will end around October, so Iíll have a couple weeks off.

Katie: Ok, they want you guys to show us your stuff. A lot of little kids playing soccer now. Will you guys just sort of play around, actually Iíll be the goalie. And tell us..

Landon: Uh-oh.

Katie: Haha. Why donít you come with me? The key to being a good soccer playerÖ

[Audience cheering]

Bruce: Bend your knees and have your hands ready.

Katie: Now tell me, Bruce. When it comes to giving advice to young kids, what are the most important things to remember?

Bruce: For goalkeeping you have to have soft hands and let the ball caress into your hands nice and easy. There you go.

[Claudio kicks the ball, Ball bounces to her, audience boos, Katie heads it, audience cheers]

Katie: What about other players?

[Landon kicks it to her]

Bruce: Well done, Katie. Claudio?

[Katie makes a diving save]

Bruce: One more, Tony.

Katie: Now wait a second. Give it everything youíve got and try to score and go ahead Bruce.

Bruce: Good luck, Katie. Easy Tony.

[Ball flies into goal]

Katie: One more, Tony. Come on you can do better than that.

[Tony shoots right to Katie]

Katie: One more, Landon. Okay ready? Seriously.

[Landon kicks it to the bottom corner of the post making it in]

Katie: And thatís why theyíre members of the World Cup team. Thank you guys so much for coming by. Good to see you.

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