I was originally planning on skipping RSL media day for the first time in several years, but just before it was scheduled to start I felt something tugging me towards Rio Tinto Stadium. I just couldn’t stay away. And I’m glad I didn’t. It was good to see some fellow media members, some of the RSL staff, and the players. I’m planning on putting together some detailed stories from the many interviews, but first I thought I’d give you a rundown of the event as well as a quick synopsis of some of the more interesting interviews. So here goes…
During media day, the players are broken up into several groups (5, I believe). The players have different zones, including one for them to have their headshot taken for their bio and one where they take video of them that can be used in different marketing spots. The other zones, well to be honest, I’m not sure. However, in between these zones the RSL Media folks (Sam and Trey) bring the players into talk to the assembled media. In past years, there has been a small media contingent. This year there were 3 TV cameras and at least a dozen print and online journalists.
First up were a series of interviews in the media room where cameras were set up. This included interviews with Coach Kreis, Robbie Findley, Nick Rimando, Nat Borchers, Javier Morales, John Stertzer and Devon Sandoval. With the cameras there, these interviews tend to be dominated by the TV crew. That’s not a bad thing, but the TV focus is a little more about some of mainstream questions with a focus on soundbytes. They cover what the general fan wants to know, but the line of questions can sometimes lack the depth and insight that I crave. Here’s a synopsis of this round of interviews:
Kreis: talked about Findley return, Javi re-signing, saying goodbye to players, and the challenges they face. Also talked about his foray into the Twitter world.
Findley: gave some thoughts on his return, what he wants to accomplish, and how his game now compares to when he left the club.
Rimando: some general comments on the changes to the club, talked about his shoulder injury, and responded to a question about his not getting more consideration in GK of the Year awards.
Borchers: talked about his 2nd consecutive off-season of having quad surgery, the loss of his center back partner (Olave), and how the backline may shape up for 2013.
Morales: explained that his offseason decision to stay with RSL was a family-driven one, and in the end fairly easy because this is “home”. After the cameras turned off, he did a side interview in Spanish and explained to the Spanish language media that he turned down an offer from Espanyol in La Liga for more money.
Stertzer: seemed genuinely overwhelmed by the media presence as he was being mic’d up. Shared that playing in the midfield with Beckerman would be a dream come true.
Sandoval: talked about his stint with RSL in the summer, and how he’s hoping to learn from Saborio, one of the best center forwards in the league.
After this round of interviews, the cameras packed up and the rest of the crew moved into the hallways outside of the locker rooms as we waited for various players became available. With most of these players, there were loss obvious general questions to be asked, and hence more insight. And for the final interview we went over to the Ardell Brown building to catch up with Lovell Palmer. Here’s a summary of these interviews:
Grabavoy: gave his opinion on young players needing to step it up this season, and what it takes for a player to do that. Also talked about how some of the changes may actually help make RSL a better possession team.
Viana: came through a Portugese interpreter. Talked about where he sees his role with the squad, why he came here, and how he’s adjusting to life in SLC.
Watson-Siriboe: a great interview, lots of personality and some straight-forward talk on his potentially increased role this season.
Palmer: gave some thoughts on his role on this team after bouncing around a bit, also surprised us by telling us that RSL had inquired about him last summer.
I’ll try to pass along some of the more meaningful quotes and my thoughts on what I heard in the next couple of days.