Life's A Beach
New defender Jimmy Conrad hasn’t found a place to live in L.A. yet. Like rookie Zarek Valentin (who checked into a hotel for three weeks), Conrad does have a temporary solution.
"It’s a tent on the beach actually," he revealed to cdchivasusa.com.
"You gotta do it once in your life, you know?" said Conrad, perhaps summing up a complex life philosophy. Everyone was laughing, but was he really joking? With Jimmy, you never quite know.
As the assembled media learned after Friday's practice, Conrad's personality is multifaceted. The 33 year-old veteran is equally comfortable answering serious soccer questions as he is joking around about his off-field persona. One moment he was talking about the possibility of being named team captain, and the next he was describing the "Conradical RV", a flame-decorated motor home he says he drove out from Kansas City.
It's all part of what makes Jimmy Conrad who he is. He is a respected leader both on and off the field, but also a notorious jokester- someone who helps make sure the mood around the team stays light.
After Friday's practice Conrad talked about new coach Robin Fraser, revealing that they trained together in previous off-seasons. Fraser, a former standout defender in MLS himself, is someone Conrad has always admired.
"I've had a lot of respect for Robin and what he's about," said Conrad. "He's somebody I looked up to as a player and someone I tried to model my game after. So for him to be my coach is a pretty neat experience."
Looking ahead to the season, Conrad said the feeling around the team reminded him of another team he played for, nearly a decade ago. He drew many parallels between this year's Goats and the 2001 San Jose Earthquakes, a team which went on to win MLS Cup. Besides having a good mix of veterans and young players, as well as a highly respected first-year coach, there is something else reminiscent of that San Jose team- a competitive attitude. Each individual player on this year's Chivas USA team has something to prove, and Conrad thinks that's a good thing.
"Everybody seems nervous, in a good way," he said. "A lot of the older guys feel like they still have something to prove, and the young guys want to prove they belong here and can be part of a good team."
Conrad is excited to start the season, especially because the season opener is a chance to play against his former team: Sporting Kansas City.
"Obviously, come March 19th, there’s gonna be some added incentive for me," he said. "I want [Sporting K.C.] to have success, but as long as they lose both games to us, I'll be satisfied."
Asked if there was any bitterness about the way he left Kansas City, Conrad paused for dramatic effect. He slowly looked around and then stretched his arms out, theatrically basking in the warm weather.
"Well… It’s 10 degrees and snowy there," he said through a huge smile.