Postcards From Argentina One: D.J. Countess
June 13, 2001
POSTCARDS FROM ARGENTINA
Today's postcard is from goalkeeper ... D.J. COUNTESS Position: Goalkeeper Height: 6'1" Weight: 185 Born: January 9, 1982 Hometown: Sacramento, California College: UCLA
After almost two years of training and looking ahead to this tournament, it is a great feeling to know that it is finally here. We are about to kick off the World Youth Championship in Argentina. Traveling to Argentina was a real long process - almost two days worth for a few of the guys. Luckily I started in Miami, where I was training with the Fusion. The team met up in Miami where we caught a nine-hour flight to Buenos Aires. From there we caught a bus, another plane - from Buenos Aires to Mendoza - and another bus before we finally made it to our hotel.
On our way here you could tell what a big deal this tournament is to the people of Argentina. When we arrived from Buenos Aires there was a photographer on the roof, and when we got to the hotel there were news cameras, photographers and reporters. Then today we went on a morning talk show. They seem to love us, and they all want to talk to us - even though none of us really speak Spanish!
Argentina is wonderful. We have been here before, but this trip is making me remember what a great place it is. Mendoza is located at the base of the mountains, and there is a real scenic view from the training field and the stadium. And the town itself is also real nice. In our free time a lot of the guys go to one of the internet cafes in town. The town itself is a little bigger than I thought it would be and is highlighted by two large parks in the middle. There are a lot of trees and greenery in the middle of the town. Our hotel is great and is just one block from the center of town.
The people here have been absolutely amazing. Everywhere our team bus goes we see people waving at us. The hotel staff and all of the people working with FIFA have been great to us and are going out of their way to make sure everything is fine. Anywhere the team goes we always have tons of security. We have a police escort to and from practice, and it seems that every day we have more and more police working with us. I guess you can never have too many police on your side.
There are also reporters and photographers everywhere we go. Every day we have been here there has been a story about us in both of the Mendoza newspapers. It is great to see how big this tournament is and how much it means to so many people. It can only get you more and more excited.
Everyone is really working hard and looking forward to our first match against China (Sunday, June 17). Even though it is almost a week away, the whole team is really focused on that one match. The opener is the one that matters the most because it can set the tone for the whole tournament.
The team is real excited, especially now that we have our whole team here. Landon (Donovan) had a little bit of trouble getting here, but he is here now. I have no doubt that this team will be ready to go when the tournament kicks off on Sunday.
Countess was the starting goalkeeper on the U.S. Under-17 squad that advanced to the semifinals of the 1999 Under-17 World Championship. Following the USA's qualifying run through the CONCACAF tournament in Tunapuna, Trinidad, in March, Countess was named the Tournament's Most Outstanding Goalkeeper. He has recorded three shutouts in seven internationals in 2001