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U.S. World Cup team, down on the farm

On their short stroll along the path from the U.S. team accommodations to the media briefing Wednesday, Jose Torres, Jonathan Spector and DaMarcus Beasley had to yield to another group passing: cows.

While players answered questions from a dozen reporters, noisy roosters and chickens squawked outside the media tent. When the breeze was just right, it smelled like a Wisconsin dairy.

Inside the rustic market, area residents stopped at the dispensary for fresh milk. There is a cafe with outdoor seating and a formal restaurant in a barn.

Welcome to the neighborhood, Landon and Co. The Americans have taken residence across the street at the Irene Country Lodge, a bucolic setting between Johannesburg and Pretoria. Downtown Joburg, it is not. The living quarters and working farm, dating from 1895, are separated by a narrow road and security fences.

While the U.S. delegation is guarded by the South African national police, U.S. Department of State officers and World Cup organizing committee personnel, the farm grounds are open to the public. On this gorgeous afternoon, families picnicked and children pointed excitedly at the animals. Locals stopped by for ham-and-brie sandwiches, fresh baked goods and produce.

Players are permitted, with supervision, to visit the market and cafe.

irene.jpg

The rural backdrop stirred memories of the U.S. team headquarters in 1998: a vineyard in the peaceful Beaujolais region north of Lyon, France. Back then, players complained of boredom and isolation, saying they never felt part of the carnival atmosphere surrounding the World Cup. So in 2002, then coach Bruce Arena made a point to base the team at a major hotel in Seoul. Four years later, Arena centered them in the middle of Hamburg.

But in part because of the security and logistical issues presented by a World Cup in a still developing South Africa, the Americans chose the Irene site, which offers easy access to highways and their training grounds in Pretoria.

Technological advances have diminished the threat of boredom. The players brought along computer games and laptops and have Internet access and satellite TV.

Away from the lodge, the players have embraced the quiet place.

"It gives you time to get out and get some fresh air, and see some live animals -- that's kind of cool," said Beasley, preparing for his third World Cup. "You didn't see any cows walking around at the hotel in Germany."

By Steve Goff  |  June 2, 2010; 9:00 AM ET
Categories:  2010 World Cup , South Africa , U.S. men's national team  | Tags: South Africa, U.S. national team, World Cup  
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Next: World Cup news & notes, Brazil video

Comments

The 98 team complained, incessantly, about their bucolic location. Nice to read that the 10 team aren't a bunch of whiners.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 2, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

The players that Tweet have been quite complimentary of the lodgings....

Posted by: JkR- | June 2, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Good thing United doesn't train at a dairy. Emilio would balloon up to 240 lbs.

Posted by: fallschurch1 | June 2, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

I-270, the 98 team had plenty of reasons to complain about isolation: They were about as much as a spectator of the World Cup as I was. Certainly they should have been involved in the "carnival atmosphere" too.

Who do you think is the best FIFA 10 player on the USMNT? I'd go with Edu or Holden. Do you think they play as US or Brazil/Spain? What is Alitdore's rating? Would it be awkward to play yourself, epsecially if yourself sucks? I just realized I haven't played FIFA in about a yr :(

Posted by: grubbsbl | June 2, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

"You didn't see any cows walking around at the hotel in Germany."

My god what a set up even Carrot Top could use it.

Posted by: Southeasterner | June 2, 2010 9:40 AM | Report abuse

I noticed that Italy used the same facility during last year's ConfedCup.

Posted by: grabowcp | June 2, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Reminder for those interesteed..

1) World Cup Yahoo Fantasy
2) Group: Insider Loyalists
3) Password: Insider
4) Group ID: 16863

Posted by: delantero | June 2, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

I was put on earth to state the obvious -- in the yahoo bracket deal, you can wait to make your knockout stage picks until the first round is complete? Do I have that right? So if a seeded team flames out in the group stage, you can adjust? Ja?

Posted by: fallschurch1 | June 2, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Come to think of it, I guess to be safe I'll make the knockout picks now and edit later if possible and necessary.

Posted by: fallschurch1 | June 2, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

@grubbsbl - Edu and Holden are probably good bets, maybe Rico? itd definately be a younger player. I wonder if FIFA is as big with soccer players as Madden is with NFL guys (thinking about Deangelo Hall actually complaining to the media that his rating was too low). probably not.

Posted by: VTUnited | June 2, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

I'm such a homer. In my first draft of my World Cup office pool I have the U.S. reaching the quarterfinals. I should probably change that, but I WANT TO BELIEVE. ;-)

Posted by: nairbsod | June 2, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

"I noticed that Italy used the same facility during last year's ConfedCup."

they wanted it again for the WC but we snaked it out from under them, and they weren't happy about it at all.

Posted by: joe_hill | June 2, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Curse you Insiders and your irresistible, timewasting fantasy leagues. I'm in.

Posted by: hungrypug | June 2, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

The Fifa Special One Nerd in me knows from game by game lineup tinkering that Donovan is an 81, Howard an 80, Dempsey 80 up top, 78 wide. Altidore a 74, as was Davies. Bradely is a 76 pretty much anywhere, Clark 73, Edu rates low, in my mind at 67. Holden is a 72 in the middle and 74 on the wing.

Man I feel lame, but that world cup game is soooooo dang fun.

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | June 2, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

""in the yahoo bracket deal, you can wait to make your knockout stage picks until the first round is complete""

Far as I can tell, the explanation of rules is limited to picks and points. Not much else to go by. I expected the knockout stages to populate when I had finished my group picks, but that didn't happen.

I know that you can change picks up to 5 minutes before the start of each game. Beyond that . . . I dunno

Posted by: delantero | June 2, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Hey Jacob -- Hope Solo is heading your way.

Posted by: OWNTF | June 2, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

International Sporting event and cheese reference.....

I think that's someone else's shtick.

Posted by: kolbkl | June 2, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

@JacobfromAtlanta-ish - I picked it up this weekend, and it really is a solid game. Davies and Holden could both have been rated a little faster IMO, but both play just fine. It seems like they've notched up Dempsey's skills a bit since FIFA10.

Posted by: VTUnited | June 2, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the FIFA update. I am still unsure if I should re-enter the video gaming world. I am to worried about preformance in graduate school. Well I guess now is as good as a time to fill in my Soccer Insider World Cup braket.

Posted by: grubbsbl | June 2, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

The 98 team complained, incessantly, about their bucolic location. Nice to read that the 10 team aren't a bunch of whiners.

Posted by: I-270Exit1
------------------------------------------
Yeah. That still gets me ticked. They had a lot bigger things to worry about than not being able to be staying at the Chateu Downtown Paris.

Just another reminder of what a miserable waste '98 was.

If dysfunction equated to goals scored then we could have contended for the trophy that year.

Posted by: yankiboy | June 2, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Just got that email, OWNTF. Totally pumped. Also picked up Elia, the English international leading the league in goals, and today they're announcing the addition of Lori Chalupny. All great news. Bad news is they've had to put Tobin Heath on the season ending IR to make room, without her even having played a home game.

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | June 2, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Note to Nats: Now is not the time to experiment with "fresh" milk! Do that, after the tournament. I don't want to hear anything about anybody having stomach issues.

Of course, I, myself and too much of a wuss to try anthing that was not pasteurized but hey--maybe I am just another "victim" of the "big, bad, corporate criminal machine". I have never tried the freshly squozen stuff and in no hurry to do so.

Posted by: yankiboy | June 2, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Cluck, Cluck, Moo!
Cluck, Cluck, Moo!

Buddy you're a young man hard man
Shoutin' in the street gonna take on the world some day
You got blood on yo' face.
You're no disgrace
Wavin' your banner all over the place.
We will, we will rock you!

[My apologies to Queen for taking literary license]


Posted by: carnack | June 2, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Rossi cut from the Italian roster. Ouch.

Posted by: CrippledKeeper | June 2, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Rossi cut from the Italian roster. Ouch.

Posted by: CrippledKeeper

* * * * * *

That's old news, Paolo Rossi probably doesn't add that much to the team anymore.

Unless you're looking for someone to warm up Dino Zoff.

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | June 2, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

I'm such a homer. In my first draft of my World Cup office pool I have the U.S. reaching the quarterfinals. I should probably change that, but I WANT TO BELIEVE. ;-)

Posted by: nairbsod | June 2, 2010 10:12 AM |

Quarterfinals? Pish posh. I have US in the semis where we lose to...I forget which, the Dutch I think.

Posted by: fedssocr | June 2, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

You guys remember former Post writer Jason Lacanfora...he put his thoughts on the US World Cup team at http://www.woodnosesoccer.com. Interesting thoughts.

Posted by: PattersonPark76 | June 2, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

I haven't had the chance to check the link yet but if I recall correctly, La Canfora is cashing NFL network checks now. Must be nice.

Posted by: yankiboy | June 2, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Schadenfruede is ugly, but this Rossi thing feels satisfying. After reading the ESPNMag article (cover jinx?) my already poor opinion of him declined further. His defense about "being American all the way except for when it comes to soccer" just seems so hollow. He's not like Subotic, he was born here, and he considers himself American. Whether or not he went to Italy to play at 12 is irrelevant. Wanting to play for a team you love, and wanting to represent your country are different things, and one of them is clearly more selfish. So instead of being an American legend, he will be an Italian footnote. See you in '14.

Posted by: VTUnited | June 2, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

VTUnited...I agree. In some respects I applaud him for chasing his dream, but for the reasons you cited above, I take guilty pleasure in him being cut.

Posted by: PattersonPark76 | June 2, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

No matter how far Beasley and Edu hide in the middle of nowehere farmville, their cars will still be firebombed back in Glasgow!

Posted by: alan19 | June 2, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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