On the eve of their first group round games at the CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament in Portland, coaches and players from the United States, Belize, Costa Rica and Cuba had press conferences Monday.
Ian Mork, our friend and soccer colleague back in Sonoma County, handled himself very well and spoke like a seasoned veteran as his awaited his debut as the coach of the Belize national team, which meets the United States on Tuesday night.
It was nice to hear both Ian and his goalkeeper, Shane Osorio, give their thoughts in advance of the U.S. matchup. Both were realistic in pointing out the United States was the favorite but spoke more about their own team. A few themes throughout were the pride the team has in competing for their country, the family-like camaraderie of the squad and how hard they have worked in preparation. Although Ian didn't appear nervous, hopefully it was comforting to have a few familiar faces in the crowd, and both my brother Marcus and I made a point to ask him some questions.
Marcus, who coaches at Sonoma State University, where Ian served as an assistant coach, is usually on the other side of the questions so it was an interesting experience for him.
Marcus is still trying to get the hang of the press conference but he did manage to come up with a few questions for the Cuban coach:
Question 1 – Did you bring any cigars?
Question 2 – As a Dodgers fan, do you think Yasiel Puig should be in the All-Star Game?
Question 3 – Are you worried any of your players will defect?
I suggested we save them for the postgame press conference .<th>.<th>.