Temryss Lane’s World Cup: A Wondo Interview and Proud Natives in Red Paint
São Paulo is an extravagant city.
Our hotel -- my production partners Jon and Ashwin were with me-- was located in the Higienópolis District, an upper middle class neighborhood perched on a hill of high rise homes and hotels. I was stationed there with the entire crew of US journalists covering the World Cup. My room was on the 20th floor and had an expansive view of the São Paulo skyline.
The US Men's National team had training at their Brazilian home base in São Paulo’s FC facilities. A remarkable structure protected by military officials and police officers at the gates. Our cameras and belongings were thoroughly checked upon entrance where we were greeted by US Soccer PR. We congregated in SPFC top class facilities fully equipped with 3.5 soccer pitches, pristine grass, stadium seating, a swimming pool, 10 bedrooms, a dining hall, a press room, and plenty of workspace.
On the first press day, before USA’s game against Portugal, we spoke with Jermaine Jones, Fabian Johnson, and Geoff Cameron. And on the second day, forwards Chris Wondolowski and Aron Johannson were the selected players for the press conference (an interesting play from the communications department as the speculation circled around which forward would start in place of Jozy Altidore, who is out with an injured hamstring). I sat down with Wondo to talk about his World Cup experience.
He was excited because his wife and baby had just arrived in Brazil after a plane ride from Northern California, and it was a long trip for his 4 month old. I asked Chris how the trip went for the little one and with a big grin on his face he said, "not too bad she takes after her dad, she sleeps a lot!" She’s Chris's good luck charm because her first game as a USA supporter was when she was barely a few weeks old in Los Angeles and the US faced South Korea in a pre-World Cup friendly. Wondo scored two goals at that game, and probably secured his spot in Coach Jurgen Klinsmann's top 30.
My time with Wondo was brief because the team had to jump on the bus to the airport for Manaus. And I, too, was looking forward to Manaus to hopefully meet a local tribe to understand their native culture and their relationship with futebol.
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