World Soccer Talk spoke with Omar Gonzalez this week and discussed his partnership with Pass the Love, Steven Gerrard, why he’d like to borrow Abby Wambach for the US Men’s National team and more.
Here’s the transcript of the exclusive interview:
Caitlin O’Connell (CO): So tell us about Pass the Love and how you got involved.
Omar Gonzalez (OG): Today I’m working with Ritz, Chips Ahoy and Trident to let soccer fans know about the Pass the Love campaign and the way that I got involved is we are basically building on this program that started last year for the U.S. Men’s National Team at their World Cup and I was part of that campaign as well. Today, I’m just here trying to get the fans to show the same support that they showed us down in Brazil and send all that love to the women playing in Canada.
I can speak from a personal side because being down in Brazil and seeing all their support, seeing all the watch parties and everything it made us play that much harder knowing the whole nation was supporting us. I want all that love that was cheered for us and send it to the women.
— Omar Gonzalez (@Omar4Gonzalez) June 12, 2015
CO: Last summer the country fell in love with the U.S. Men’s National Team. How has your life changed as a player since coming back from Brazil?
OG – My life hasn’t changed all that much. The one thing I do is get recognized a lot more. Not a crazy amount more but a little bit and it’s been great for fans to come up and tell me how much fun they had watching the games, how great it was to get together with all their friends and family. It’s been really nice to hear that from fans.
CO: You were recently named to the Gold Cup preliminary squad. Do you have a different mentality this time around after being a part of the team that won the most recent Gold Cup?
OG – The mentality is always the same. You always want to win and we want to win the Gold Cup. This one is very important because if we win this one that will send us to the Confederations Cup which we missed last time. So the mentality is to be ruthlessL Go out there and play hard every single game. Just be dominate. We want to be dominate and we know it’s going to be hard. There are some very good teams who are playing in the tournament and who want to win as well but we just have to want it more than they do.
CO: Soccer’s popularity in the United States increases every year. How do you think hosting the Gold Cup in the U.S. aids in that growth?
OG – I think it aids in that growth because more fans can come out to the games and experience these games live and experience international soccer in their hometowns. Those are very special times because watching soccer on TV is great and fun but when you get to go to the games live and experience the atmosphere and the passion and the love for the game first-hand there’s nothing like it. Getting young kids to go to the game turns them into fans and they continue to be fans when they’re older, that contributes to the growth of soccer in this country.
CO: This has been an interesting season for your L.A. Galaxy. You’re post-Landon Donovan but pre-Steven Gerrard. What has this season been like for your team?
OG – It’s been a difficult season so far. We’ve been riddled with injuries and we haven’t had the same line-up two games in a row and we’ve had a lot of travel so far. We might be the team to have played the most games this year, so it’s been very difficult. But I think we’ve done a great job just playing through it all and sticking together. I think that’s been crucial for us and our success the first half of the season. It has been difficult but by no means are we giving up. This is just the start and there’s a lot of season left so we are looking forward to Steven Gerrard’s arrival.
CO: If you could borrow one member of the U.S. Women’s National team and have her play for the U.S. Men’s National team, who would you borrow and why?
OG – There’s a lot to choose from! After watching the first game there’s a lot of skill there! Maybe Abby Wambach. She’s played for so long and has the most goals and she’s so good at getting in the box and scoring goals and that never hurts having someone on your team with a nose for goals so I’m going to go with Wambach.
CO: Any final thoughts?
OG – I just want to tell the fans to go to PasstheLove.com and support the women!
Thank you to Omar Gonzalez for taking time out of his busy day to speak with World Soccer Talk.
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