Our mission has always been to provide you the most up-to-date, in-depth, straight-from-the-horse’s-mouth soccer news. In an attempt to bring you ever closer to that ineffable something that motivates an athlete to don the kit of their club or national team every match-day, we’ve come up with a hard-hitting list of questions we’ll (in theory) submit to a player of the highest quality. The goal being, of course, to penetrate into their inner psyche and apply a vicious two-footed tackle to the barrier that is inevitably raised between player and fan.
First up, Clint Dempsey.
1) O87: What’s your gameday ritual?
CD: Uh, well, normally I wake up in the morning, eat a bowl of nails (kidding…Count Chocula) and a banana. Potassium is supposed to be good for you. Then I get into my beat-up Ford Durango and drive to Craven Cottage (or as I call it, C-squared), head into the locker room, remove my chaps and boots (first right leg, then left) and put on my Fulham kit (first left leg, then right). I throw a couple of handfuls of salt over each shoulder, say a couple of prayers. I don’t talk to anyone. I also hop on my left foot 50 times, and avoid stepping on cracks. In the player tunnel, I clap my hands 88 times exactly. Then we’re out on the field playing.
2) O87: So, I take it your pretty superstitious?
CD: Huh? Not at all. No.
3) O87: Hm. OK. Anyways, do you have a nickname in the clubhouse?
CD: Uh, well…I have a nickname for myself…
4) O87: What is it?
CD: Nah, you’ll think it’s stupid.
5) O87: Come on. Tell us. The world wants to know.
CD: [audible sigh] OK… When I run around on the pitch, I usually speak to myself in the third person, and call myself the “Scerifo,” which is Italian for sheriff. Like, “Ooh, great shot from the ‘Scerifo’ there.” Or “Oooh, can the ‘Scerifo’ pull this rabona off? And he can!…” Yeah, it gets me motivated.
6) O87: Interesting. What is your favorite non-soccer thing to do in London?
CD: I don’t know any non-soccer things to do in London.
7) O87: Seriously?
CD: [laughs] Nah…I’m playin’. Normally I hit up a couple of American-style honky tonks or chill at Mickie D’s or sit at home and play FIFA against Baby Billy Goat Jaws or Mr. President or Kaka Stunt Double. I wish they had Whataburger in England.
8) O87: Wait. Against the real Barack Obama?
CD: [laughs] Nah, that’s just my nickname for Robbie Rogers. Baby Billy Goat Jaws is Stu Holden and Kaka Stunt Double is Omar Salgado.
9) O87: Where do those come from?
CD: [points to head] From right up in here…
10) O87: Hm. Alright. Uh… What’s your favorite soccer trick to pull in an Premier League match?
CD: [thinks for a while] Well Martin really discourages us a lot from doing that type of stuff, but sometimes, when I think he’s not looking or playing on his cell phone or trying to catch the eye of a pretty chica in the crowd, I pull a… [pauses] “enchilada flying saucer terrifico.”
11) O87: What the hell would that look like?
CD: [looks around] Yeah, there’s not nearly enough space in this coffeeshop to pull it off.
12) O87: If you say so. Do you have any advice on how to make it big for young people out there playing soccer?
CD: Copy everything I do all the time. Or just be me! [laughs]… Nah, um, wear Nike, practice hard, drink Modelo beer, watch soccer, play all the time. As I always like to say: “shoot for the moon and if you come up short…wait a second, I’m fixing this ship and we are going to the moon mothatrucka.”
13) O87: Do you actually say that?
CD: Yeah, dude. All the time. That and “only know the moment” and “when you get knocked down, you get back up and keep moving forward.”
14) O87: How do people on the team feel about it?
CD: [coughs] Um, they love it. Look, I gotta jet. This was nice and all. But yeah, I have things…to do…