Postcards From Argentina Four
June 19, 2001
Release courtesy of U.S. Soccer
POSTCARDS FROM ARGENTINA Every other day a player from the U.S. Under-20 Men's National Team will send out a postcard from Argentina, where the U.S. team is playing in the XIth FIFA World Youth Championship.
Today's postcard is from midfielder ... KYLE MARTINO Height: 5'10" Weight: 145 Born: February 19, 1981 Hometown: Westport, Connecticut College: Virginia
We are finally here in Mendoza. We have been waiting for this tournament for a long time. It has been 15 months of preparation, and finally we have made it to the World Youth Championship in Argentina. Argentina is beautiful. The game (soccer) here is so big - you have to be here to realize how much it means to the people. Everyone here is in love with it, they live it over here and that has made it very exciting to be here. The press and the fans are all over you every time you leave the hotel. Everywhere we go we have police escorts. That is flattering. The World Youth Championship is such a large stage that they need police escorts. That has been kind of exciting.
In the locker room before the first game against China, everyone could just feel the intensity going through everyone else. It was incredible because everyone was so pumped up. You saw the name on the back of your jersey, and you knew that it was for real. This was going to be one of the biggest games of your life so far.
I think coming out of the locker room and finally stepping nto the field and hearinge national anthem, everyone got a rush going through their bodies knowing that it was going to be one of the biggest games a lot of us have ever played. From the opening whistle, everyone was working their butts off and running all over the place and trying to get three points in the opening game. I still feel the first game in any tournament is the most important one because it gives you momentum for the rest of the tournament.
We did pretty well from the start and everything was looking like we were going to take care of China. And then it seemed that our play in the attacking third wasn't the best it has ever been, and it definitely wasn't as great as it can be. Even though we lost, I think the upside is that we can play so much better, and hopefully when we come out against Chile we will connect those passes in the final third and start using all the attacking weapons that we have - and we have a lot of them. And when we get three points against Chile we will move onto Ukraine. Hopefully we can get further than any American team has ever gotten, and that is the goal for a bunch of the guys here.
We watched a tape of the game this morning and got to see what it looked like on television. When we came off the field yesterday we were disappointed and thought we played a really poor match, but it turned out we didn't play as poorly as we thought we did. There is also a lot of room for improvement, and hopefully we can figure out how to get things going and get started on the right foot for this coming game.
Even though we lost this first game, this is already one of the greatest experiences of my career. It has been very exciting ,and I feel like I am doing justice for my country. That is one of the things that no one can ever take away from you. You are representing your country out here, and that is really special. Hopefully we can bring home a lot of honor to our country after this championship is over.
Kyle Martino is tied for the team lead with five assists in 2001. He scored the equalizer in the USA's 1-1 draw with Costa Rica in the final match of the CONCACAF qualifying tournament in Trinidad in March.