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Nowak at RFK

What was old friend Peter Nowak doing back at Estadio RFK last night for the D.C. United-Pachuca Champions' Cup match?

"Scouting, in general terms. I look at many players, not just for my [under-23] team, but the whole program with Bob Bradley and the USSF."

Anyone specific, maybe, um, a young Pachuca player with dual citizenship, perhaps?

"I spend time talking with Ben Olsen because he's not in good mental shape with his injuries."

But what about 20-year-old Jose Francisco Torres, Pachuca's Texas-born and Texas-raised midfielder who has earned playing time for Mexico's most decorated club this decade?

"We are interested in every possible scenario, like a Polish guy who is eligible for Germany. We try to monitor every possible scenario and look to make ourselves better. In the long term, of course, you don't know what they will do."

Were you able to meet with him?

"He knows there is interest on our side. It is no secret that he has choices."

So there you go -- a promising player with an American background and Mexican heritage who is fluent in both languages and, assuming his skills continue to develop, will have to decide which country to represent.

"The early indication is that he wants to play for Mexico," Fox Soccer Channel's Christopher Sullivan said on the air upon Torres's entrance in the 79th minute last night. However, I have heard that Torres has not made a decision yet. If, in fact, Nowak, Bradley and the USSF have a chance to secure his services, they would hope it happens soon so they could prepare him for a possible Olympic roster spot. Mexico did not qualify for the Summer Games.

We'll keep you updated.....

By Steve Goff  |  April 10, 2008; 4:38 PM ET
Categories:  U.S. men's national team  
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Comments

Might as well keep it up. Worked with Orozco.

Posted by: Stan | April 10, 2008 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Goff.

I've been wondering about Torres and his US eligibility / desire to play for the US.

Whether or not he decides to play for the US (or at least try out for the team) it's good to know Nowak is making inquiries.

Disappointing to hear his statement about Ben Olsen's "mental state".

Posted by: garbaggio | April 10, 2008 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Chief, I could have sworn that you mentioned you were near the Home Deport Carson. I am going to be in So Cal for the Chivas v United Game in May. Any advice on where to sit or where NOT to sit in the stadium. Thanks for your help.

Posted by: Looking for Chief Clancy Wiggum
_________________________________________

Hope this finds the right guy....

You are correct sir, I do live in So-Cal. As for the game in May, check out this website below. It's Big Soccer blog where the Barra Brava are planning/discussing where to sit during that particular game.

http://www.bigsoccer.com/forum/showthread.php?t=663381

If i remember correctly, for the Chivas game last year we sat in the first few rows in section 136. For the Galaxy game last year we sat in the first few rows right in the corner of section 119. However for this year I think they're trying to sit near midfield. But check that blog. That'll provide some answers and it's also where I'm taking my lead from, in terms of where to sit.

Posted by: Chief Clancy Wiggum | April 10, 2008 5:18 PM | Report abuse

What are the chances Ben Olsen plays for DC United this season? As much as I hate to say it, I'm losing hope quickly.

Posted by: Todd H. | April 10, 2008 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Cap him now!

Posted by: Cap him! | April 10, 2008 5:29 PM | Report abuse

i would think its an easy decision. we've been generally better than mexico in recent history. maybe he just likes being a tease...

Posted by: longfellow | April 10, 2008 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Sure, we can beat Mexico, but then, he plays in Mexico. What would his career prospects at Pachuca look like if he joined the Yanquis?

Posted by: northzax | April 10, 2008 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for fulfilling my request, Mr. Goff!

Posted by: Glaucon | April 10, 2008 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Well I'd expect to see him donning an MLS kit if he does in fact choose to represent his Texas roots. I can't imagine he'd ever be aloud to live in peace if he stays at Pachuca after such a decision. Aside from that though my gut tells me that he'll stay south of the border. He's already playing on an excellent side down there and I just don't see why he'd want to get thrown into the mess that is the United States youth development system. I mean I love my national team but let's be honest here, we ruin alot of promising talent in this country. Why would he want to be the next Eddie Johnson? I hope the kid comes, but I wouldn't bet on it.

Posted by: Chris | April 10, 2008 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Nice scoop. Guess he can't play in the Olympics for Mexico :)

BTW, did Nowak call Olsen dumb? :)

Posted by: RK | April 10, 2008 6:04 PM | Report abuse

What are the chances Ben Olsen plays for DC United this season? As much as I hate to say it, I'm losing hope quickly.

Posted by: Todd H. | April 10, 2008 5:26 PM

---

Well, I don't think it's THAT bad... at least, not yet. It's just very frustrating to be sitting there watching a game when you know you could be making a difference, and even more frustrating that the doctors aren't completely sure why.

Posted by: Stan | April 10, 2008 6:05 PM | Report abuse

It looks like Nowak and Petraeus might have the same interview coach.

Posted by: Gburg | April 10, 2008 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Another SoCal-ite here, Chief. Are you referring to attending the United games at Chivas and Galaxy this year?

I'll try to get tickets in one of those sections, thanks. Anyone know if Knave is going to go?

Posted by: viv | April 10, 2008 6:06 PM

If I were you I'd also check out that thread on Big Soccer that I linked. That would have the most up-to-date info of where everyone is going to be sitting.

Posted by: Chief Clancy Wiggum | April 10, 2008 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Why would he want to be the next Eddie Johnson? I hope the kid comes, but I wouldn't bet on it.

Posted by: Chris | April 10, 2008 6:02 PM

Sure, why would he want to play in the EPL?

Okay, so Fulham (Team USA) is going down, but hell, it's no worse than being the next Nery Castillo.

Posted by: longfellow | April 10, 2008 6:49 PM | Report abuse

two words come to mind

Guiseppe Rossi

sigh

this kid will pick mexico the pressure will eventually cause him to not choose the US.

Posted by: hank | April 10, 2008 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Let's hope the Fed makes the most of this situation. Playing in the Olympics vs. spending August in Mexico should be a powerful incentive.

Posted by: JJH | April 10, 2008 7:42 PM | Report abuse

Sure, why would he want to play in the EPL?

Okay, so Fulham (Team USA) is going down, but hell, it's no worse than being the next Nery Castillo.

Sure, it's not but I could throw a few more glaring examples in there that might make the point a little better... Adu (yes, he's not a failure, but I think it's fair to say that he probably never will live up to his initial hype)... Gibbs... I mean I could go on but to be honest this is all just my opinion. So obviously it doesn't matter very much. I guess I just feel like I've heard this all before and it hasn't worked out very well in the past, so why should it now?

Posted by: Chris | April 10, 2008 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Haven't you heard, the US is going to be renamed North Mexico. So he will play for us anyway.

Posted by: peridigm | April 10, 2008 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Haven't you heard, the US is going to be renamed North Mexico. So he will play for us anyway.
==========================================

Or the other way around, if Absolut becomes a major sponsor of FIFA events, so that not only Torres, but also Donovan, Bocanegra, Dempsey, etc. are considered to be from south of the border.

Posted by: tri-village | April 10, 2008 8:18 PM | Report abuse

Chris:

I see where your argument is going, but Gibbs is a pretty poor choice of an example. Gibbs has just had numerous knee ligament problems. Blaming a player's bad knees on the youth set up is, in the words of Cosmo Kramer, arbitrary and capricious.

Posted by: Chest Rockwell | April 10, 2008 8:32 PM | Report abuse

And the Mexican Women's team would Absolutly win the World Cup.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | April 10, 2008 8:35 PM | Report abuse

Chief, your info found the right gal. Thanks you so much. This should be a big help.

Posted by: you are the best, chief | April 10, 2008 8:39 PM | Report abuse

Olsen went through hell with his ankle injury years ago. His quotes about the current injury not healing sounded very discouraged.

DC United aside, that's not good for the US. He's just the kind of experienced, tough leader that the US needs for early WCQs.

Posted by: Mastodon Juan | April 10, 2008 8:46 PM | Report abuse

DC United aside, that's not good for the US. He's just the kind of experienced, tough leader that the US needs for early WCQs.
=========================================

Interesting! But to the best of my recollection, he hasn't been called up since Germany '06. In other words, Bradley has never shown much interest in him. Even without the injuries, would Bradley all of a sudden start considering him for the role in the early WCQ stage that you envision?

Posted by: tri-village | April 10, 2008 9:01 PM | Report abuse

And the Mexican Women's team would Absolutly win the World Cup.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | April 10, 2008 8:35 PM
=========================================

Actually, they would only get Boxx, Wagner, Lopez Cox, and perhaps one or two others.

Posted by: tri-village | April 10, 2008 9:08 PM | Report abuse

What are the chances Ben Olsen plays for DC United this season? As much as I hate to say it, I'm losing hope quickly.

Posted by: Todd H. | April 10, 2008 5:26 PM

Cap him now!

Posted by: Cap him! | April 10, 2008 5:29 PM

Just because Ben might not play this season is no reason to go "Old Yeller" on him. If you wanna go bustin' caps, save them for no-neck Blanco.

Posted by: Snoop Dizzle | April 10, 2008 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Sadly, I think Olsen is 50-50 to retire after this season. Hate to see it, but just a hunch.

Posted by: Terp | April 10, 2008 10:24 PM | Report abuse

Well, if FSC said so, it must be true.

Posted by: Kim | April 10, 2008 10:53 PM | Report abuse

So did Nowak talk to Torres or not?

Posted by: sitruc | April 11, 2008 12:23 AM | Report abuse

Unfortunately for Ben, his absence is giving somebody else an opportunity and McTavish is learning a little more each game. We will see what happens, but these kinds of things are a two edge sword. Ben has been a great servant for DC United. I hope that he remains with the club in some capacity, regardless of the result of his injury.

Posted by: Reality | April 11, 2008 2:42 AM | Report abuse

Snap out of it, guys, Olsen will be back and fit this season. It's just might take longer than anyone hoped. But it's definitely premature to talk about US duty for him until he's fit and showing something on the field again. A lot of young competition in midfield days.

Meanwhile, you have to think Bradley and Nowak like what they're seeing from Simms.

Posted by: Joe S. | April 11, 2008 3:16 AM | Report abuse

i would think its an easy decision. we've been generally better than mexico in recent history. maybe he just likes being a tease...

Posted by: longfellow | April 10, 2008 5:46 PM
---------------------------
I'm afraid this is a pretty narrow, limited view. As I understand it, although Torres was born and raised in Texas, as I understand it, his father played Mexican futbol for his whole career. How likely, then, is the son to chuck it over because Peter Nowak comes calling? This becomes even more when you consider that Torres plays for Pachuca. I don't think their supporters would be too thrilled if one of their ranks "turned" on them and put on a US uniform.

The comment regarding Guiseppe Rossi - it has nothing to do with pressure and everything to do with upbringing. In both cases, I think you'll find they were raised in the US, but in homes where US soccer means much, much less than the possibility playing for another country.

Posted by: schmuckatelli | April 11, 2008 7:34 AM | Report abuse

"This becomes even more when you consider that Torres plays for Pachuca. I don't think their supporters would be too thrilled if one of their ranks "turned" on them and put on a US uniform."

The fans will get over it. Why do you think Mexican fans don't know how to separate club and country?

I'm sure he'd get booed everywhere outside of Pachuca, though. But so what?

Put yourself in their shoes. Let's say Torres plays for Mexico but comes to play for DC United. Would you boo him? Of course not.

Posted by: Joe S. | April 11, 2008 7:45 AM | Report abuse

I think a lot of you are overstating the 'pressure' to play for Mexico that these dual nationality guys are facing. It has a lot more to do with their identity as mexicans and mexican americans and less with their fear of the crowds booing them.

I think a lot of generic American white people just don't get what ethnic/national identity means to more recent immigrants.

Posted by: Sharp | April 11, 2008 8:07 AM | Report abuse

Put yourself in their shoes. Let's say Torres plays for Mexico but comes to play for DC United. Would you boo him? Of course not.

Posted by: Joe S. | April 11, 2008 7:45 AM

Put Rossi in those shoes, and I bet he'd never hear the end of it if he played here.

Posted by: RK | April 11, 2008 8:58 AM | Report abuse

"This becomes even more when you consider that Torres plays for Pachuca. I don't think their supporters would be too thrilled if one of their ranks "turned" on them and put on a US uniform."

The fans will get over it. Why do you think Mexican fans don't know how to separate club and country?

I'm sure he'd get booed everywhere outside of Pachuca, though. But so what?

Put yourself in their shoes. Let's say Torres plays for Mexico but comes to play for DC United. Would you boo him? Of course not.

Posted by: Joe S. | April 11, 2008 7:45 AM

************************************

I think many posters in this thread are over-imagining Mexican reaction. Some people will be upset but the Mexican league is full of good foreign players.

Only Chivas de Guadalajara is built upon a "Mexicans only" nationalist identity - and even they have a dual national Mex-American kid on their roster.

Michael Orozco from the San Luis team is on the US olympic team and Sammy Ochoa from Tecos' system has been on US youth teams. In the past players like Wynalda, Balboa, Sorber and Kooiman all put in stints south of the border.

Torres may choose Mexico over US but I doubt it will be because of fear of a backlash from Pachuca fans. They already root for Colombian, Argentine and Paraguayan players.

Posted by: garbaggio | April 11, 2008 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Why would choosing the US mean that the US youth system would ruin him? I mean, we aren't stupid enough to require him to quit Pachuca and move to Brandenton if he decides in our favor.

The kids youth development is over, further development will be directed by the Pachuca coaches and their training and his skill will determine how good he is eventually regardless of whether he chooses to play for the US, Mexico or Mars. He's the same player, and a player that has potential to make an international impact and putting on the shirt of one nation over another doesn't change the core of his skill.

As to who else Novak was looking at- probably Simms a bit but the depth chart at that position is so deep that even playing out of his mind it is hard to do better than the bench. Maybe Wells who has gotten a few camp looks. And maybe wanted to get an early look on how the rehabillitation of Quaranta is going, he did almost make the 2006 team.

And for the one who asked if Olsen had a cap since the WC- yes. He provided the veteran leadership on the doomed Copa America squad. And most observers noticed that when he was on the field it made most of the rest of the team look better.

Posted by: bluemeanies | April 11, 2008 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Gburg,

Knocking Petraeus' interview style reveals more about yourself than you probably want others to know: unpatriotic, style over substance and spineless.

Sell your Clement Vallandigham-ism silly someplace else.

Posted by: charlton heston | April 11, 2008 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Sharp
I think a lot of generic American white people just don't get what ethnic/national identity means to more recent immigrants.

Hey i am Mexican American, lived in Mexico for a few years but without a doubt, would choose the U.S or Mexico. Dont care for ethnic/nationalism. I was born here i am American.

Posted by: JAV | April 11, 2008 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Disagreeing with your government is the single-most patriotic thing you can do.

Posted by: AlecW81 | April 11, 2008 11:38 AM | Report abuse

With regard to Torres, could Nowak's interest be of a case of too little, too late? How much interest did, say, the U17 program show when he was younger?

Posted by: tri-village | April 11, 2008 11:47 AM | Report abuse

And for the one who asked if Olsen had a cap since the WC- yes. He provided the veteran leadership on the doomed Copa America squad. And most observers noticed that when he was on the field it made most of the rest of the team look better.

Posted by: bluemeanies | April 11, 2008 10:07 AM
==========================================

Thanks for reminding me of Olsen's Copa callup, bluemeanies. However, as I recall, that squad was something more than a "B" side, but still short of an "A" side. Olsen certainly turned in a good performance, and we'd like to think he impressed Bradley. Still, even before his most recent injuries, he wasn't getting the nod when Bradley wanted his best 18.

Posted by: tri-village | April 11, 2008 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Torres is probably getting paid more money in Pachuca on the bench than he could make in MLS, unless he reached the status of a Landon Donovan. And over all, football players get paid big $ in Mexico, that is why throughout the years, many never left.

Also, would playing in the Mexican league be more beneficial for him in the long run (ie, with more posibilities of ever playing in eurupe; playing against top club competition -Mexican teams play the SudAmerican and Libertadores, MLS only plays Sud Americana).

I have no idea what the deal is over in Mexico. Some foreign players that have nationalized themselves as Mexican still play as "foreigners" for 2 years after their naturalization. I have no idea if the kid has held dual citizenship or for how long.

Ultimately its up to him, and how he feels he identifies himself more.

John McCain was born in Panama (even though it was in the Canal Zone), obviously he feels more American than Panamanian.

Posted by: Vic | April 11, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse

I think the best question should had been what about Subotic? Torres is ok but Subotic looks more promising and we need him to boost up our defense.

Posted by: Juan from L.A. | April 11, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Well, Torres is still very much alive for the US as Mexico didn't pick him for the friendly in Seattle vs. China.

http://www.femexfut.org.mx/portalv2/(msdtbj55besokt45yuig1j45)/default.aspx

Posted by: Roberto | April 11, 2008 4:33 PM | Report abuse

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