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Rapids midfielder Colin Clark

July 31, 2009 | 12:27 pm 1
By George Tanner

Rapids midfielder Colin Clark has returned to the Colorado Rapids after playing for the United States at the Gold Cup. The U.S. finished second to Mexico, losing 5-0 in the final on Sunday. I caught up with Clark after training this morning (Friday), as the Rapids prepared for Saturday’s match against the Columbus Crew.

How would you characterize your experience at the Gold Cup?

It was a good first cap and a good first camp with the national team. You get to see what it’s like and experience it firsthand and get to know the coaching staff pretty well.

Was one game (in the 2-2 tie against Haiti) enough playing time for you?

No, it was a little frustrating for me to only play in one. But it was a good experience, and I got to see what the level is like and what I need to do to get back there.

How much would’ve been enough for you?

Ha, playing in every game, starting all of them. But you know the way things go, it’s up to the coaches. Anybody’s going to want to go in and play every game. Coach has his gameplan and sticks to it. Unfortunately I wasn’t a part of that and didn’t do enough to pressure him to play me more. … The games came quick, so training was limited. There wasn’t a lot of time for me to prove, to show what I can provide the team with. So that was a little frustrating. So I have the rest of the year to let (coach Bob Bradley) see what I can do and hopefully get a call-back.

What is that level like, training, the coaches … ? How is that different from being with the Rapids?

The pace is a little bit quicker. Instead of taking three touches you’ve got to take two, sometimes one. But really, that’s about it. Speed of play.

Would you have liked to have played in the final, the 5-0 loss to Mexico? Is that somewhere you want to be, or is that something a player doesn’t want any part of?

Of course. You want to play every game. We just had a difficult start to the second half. I felt we outplayed … the team played better the latter 30 minutes of the first half. And I think we just came out a little sluggish in the second half, and we were punished by a very good team. You know, it’s something that anyone involved in the national team, the players who were there, the players on the field, the players who were on the bench, I think that’s something they’re going to keep in the back of their mind the next time they play Mexico.

What was the locker room like after that loss.

It was a good tournament. The team played well. We got where we wanted to be. We wanted to qualify out of our group in first place, and we wanted to win the final. We were just one step short. We accomplished a lot. And for a lot of players it was their first time in a national-team camp, so I think we did very well for ourselves. Just another game. We came away with a lot, so no reason to hang your head. … To frown upon it would not be the way to go out.

What was it playing with Kyle Beckerman again?

He’s good. I’ve always been a fan of his. Good player. Great guy. It was good to see him again.

What would Bob Bracley’s scouting report on Colin Clark say today?

(pause) (big exhale) (pause) I guess, “Likes to run at players and likes to serve the ball. But needs to work on his speed of play.”

Where do you see yourself fitting in with the national team from this point forward?

I’ve got a lot to prove, a lot of work the rest of the year. Hopefully we’ll get a chance to get a call-back for the January camp, and I’ll have to perform there to get a seriously look from coach.

You wore No. 13. How’d that come about?

It’s what I was given.

When you were in high school in Fort Collins, did you ever dream you’d be representing the United States and playing Mexico in the final of a tournament?

No, to be fair. But as my career has gone on, I’ve gotten more and more eager to get that shot to play for the national team.

And now you’re back with the Rapids for the regular season.

I’m looking forward to being back, to getting home, to getting settled in, to getting accustomed to the team again. We’ve got a tough game on Saturday, and hopefully we can continue our run of form at home.

Does it feel odd not having Terry Cooke here?

I came home and he wasn’t here. He’s a good player, and I wish him all the best. But it’s a business, and there’s nothing I can do about it.

Have you spoken to him?

No, I haven’t.

Will there be more pressure on you offensively without him in the lineup?

No. We have a very, very good roster, full of depth. We’ve great players up top, out wide. Anybody who comes into the game is capable of changing the game, scoring a goal. I need to focus on what I can provide the team with.

blockquote-tiny-georgie-mug George Tanner is a former writer and editor for the Rocky Mountain News; the Greeley Tribune; The Daily Independent of Ridgecrest, Calif.; the Durango Herald; and the Boulder Daily Camera. He is a graduate of the University of Colorado and an associate professor at Metropolitan State College of Denver. E-mail him at [email protected].

Photo by Jonathan Ingraham/ColoradoSoccerNow.com. E-mail Jonathan here.

One Comment »

  • soccer goals said:

    Great interview. Thanks.

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