June 24, 2010
MADISON, Wis. – In the final days of group play at the 2010 Fifa World Cup, Wisconsin men’s soccer head coach John Trask reflected on his many connections to the beautiful game’s premier international tournament.
“This is what we live for in soccer, The World Cup, and to see it being hosted by an African country has made the event that much more inclusive,” Trask said. “It shows the cross-cultural side of the game at its finest.
“I watch as both a fan and a student of the game because tactics are always changing, and to see what new concepts are being introduced is always a priority for this month-long tournament.”
Trask, entering his first season at the helm of the Badgers this fall, has numerous connections to the World Cup, beginning with the American squad. Trask has worked with current U.S. players Oguchi “Gooch” Onyewu, Landon Donovan, Edson Buddle, DeMarcus Beasley and Clarence Goodson.
“While I have many favorite teams and individual players, my excitement grows as I watch players who I’ve worked with represent themselves on the world stage,” Trask said. “Having worked with five U.S. players and seeing our sport grow and how well-prepared these athletes are to compete against the likes of England is quite satisfying.”
The United States, which faced England, Algeria and Slovenia in group play, posted two ties before recording a thrilling last-minute victory on a goal by Landon Donovan against Algeria to send the U.S. squad to the final 16. The Americans earned a 1-1 draw with England and rallied from a 2-0 deficit to tie Slovenia 2-2.
Trask has also worked with Ramon Nunez, an attacking midfielder for Honduras, and Ryan Nelsen, New Zealand’s captain. Nelsen played for Trask at DC United, and Nunez was a member of FC Dallas while Trask was an assistant coach with the club.
New Zealand has had success early on in the World Cup. Competing against Italy, Paraguay and Slovakia in group play, the squad tallied its first-goal ever in World Cup action when Winston Reid netted the game-tying goal in the third minute of stoppage time against Slovakia. The draw gave New Zealand its first point at a World Cup after going winless in its 1982 debut. The All Whites also played to a 1-1 draw with defending champion Italy.
“I’m a huge U.S. fan, but seeing Ryan Nelsen and the rest of New Zealand’s squad get a point in the dying moments of their game against Slovakia was awesome as well as Nelsen being named Man of the Match against defending World Champs Italy was truly a special moment ,” Trask said.
Meanwhile, Nunez and his squad from Honduras fell to Chile 1-0 in their opening game and dropped a 2-0 decision to Spain on Monday afternoon despite Nunez providing some great attacking displays for Honduras.
Trask expressed his respect and admiration for all of the athletes competing in the World Cup.
“These are players who are in the prime of their careers and have dedicated themselves to be the best,” Trask said. “To see them live their dreams is what sports is all about.
“I know it’s early doors on the tournament, but favorites are emerging and story lines are being written. I believe the U.S. Team and these players will be part of the history of the 2010 World Cup.”