June 2, 2009
HAVING A TICO TIME (DAY 7)
2 grateful fans get autographs, tickets
By Michael Lewis
The back of Brandon Sweeney's shirt has a ton of autographes from U.S. National Team players.
Photo by Joy Rubenstein
San Jose, Costa Rica -- The luckiest soccer fans in this Central American country?
It has to be Brian Sweeney and his 10-year-old son, Brandon.
Not only did they get an opportunity to meet the U.S. National Team on Tuesday, they were able to just about get every player to autograph a jersey and a hat. And, they will get an opportunity to see Wednesday's World Cup qualifying confrontation between the U.S. and Costa Rica.
Not too shabby for a father and son who went to the U.S. team hotel just to meet and greet the team. The Sweeneys are American citizens who have lived here for the past 10 years. They're big sports fans.
"If I didn't bring him today, there would not be another opportunity," Brian said outside the hotel, which will go nameless because of security reasons (hey, in the internet age information travels swiftly).
The players were tripping over themselves to sign Brandon's shirt and his father's hat.
"Their hands are full. They were dropping stuff," Brian said.
When asked who was his favorite player to sign his shirt (which he will never wash again), Brandon replied Landon Donovan. Then he quickly said "All of them."
Now, it might be Jozy Altidore.
While he was signing his autograph the former Red Bulls striker asked the Sweeney, "Are you guys going to the game tomorrow?
"No, we don't have tickets," Brian replied.
Altidore then gave the Sweeneys his room number -- Brian wrote it on his hand not to forget -- to pick up at the hotel on Wednesday.
Brian told Altidore that he was "a stand-up guy and thank you very much."
The Sweeneys were not the only ones who wanted something from the U.S. team. Two motorcycle policemen, who were to lead the American team bus, got pictures of Tim Howard and with Landon Donovan.
The U.S. press conference, which included coach Bob Bradley, Landon Donovan and Carlos Bocanegra, lasted about 30 minutes at the hotel. One of the highlights, or lowlight, came midway through the press conference, when a sound technician (for lack of better description) the local media who was holding up a microphone, knocked one microphone over, which started a domino effect, knocking a couple of others over while Bradley was talking. Bradley, who is usually all business, got a good laugh about it, as it took several minutes for this technician to restore order to the microphones.
Outside of getting quotes for stories, the highlight for yours truly was getting interviewed by several members of the local media. Hopefully I was not misquoted. I'll know Wednesday morning for sure when I take a peak at the local newspapers.
Michael Lewis would like to hear from you. If you have a comment, drop him a line at email.