Posted on September 12, 2012
COLUMBUS, Ohio – A night prior to the United States’ 1-0 World Cup qualifying win over Jamaica, three first responders from the New York Fire Department met with the American team after dinner.
After all, the U.S. was playing a vital qualifier on the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and it was quite appropriate to year some words of encouragement and wisdom.
Captain Joseph Brosi, Battalion Chief Wayman Iriarte and Lieutenant Jason Hickey, who are members of the FDNY Soccer Club, met with the team. It was not known which man spoke.
U.S. coach Juergen Klinsmann said that one of the firefighters spoke to the team, “just telling his story of his fire department.”
“It was a big learning experience for us,” Klinsmann added. “I think that everyone was aware of this and had these certain feelings, we all knew this was a very special day. The players were outstanding in how they responded on the field.”
Goalkeeper Tim Howard was moved and put the talk into perspective.
“You get a sense of what sacrifice means,” he said. “We use a lot of buzzwords in sports like sacrifice and hard work and fight and life-and-death and it’s not those things. What they do on a team of firefighters, every time they go to their game – every time they get called to a fire – it’s could be life or death. It’s real. To hear someone speak humbly about that really puts it in perspective and also lets you know you can give an extra edge. To hear his words of heroism and patriotism was cool.”
U.S. striker Clint Dempsey said it was special playing on 911 for several reasons.
“We draw strength from each other in tough times and that was something everybody will remember on that day,” he said. “People lost loved ones and didn’t know why. They were waiting around watching TV, and trying to get answers but as a country we were able to draw strength within ourselves. When you get knocked down, you get back up again. They [the crowd in Columbus] really got behind us tonight and showed their patriotism. It was one of the best atmospheres I’ve played in with the National Team here in the States.”
Photo: Tim Howard on the dinner talk: “You get a sense of what sacrifice means.” Andy Mead/YCJ
Categories: Jamaica, North America, U.S.A., World Cup Qualifying
Tags: Battalion Chief Wayman Iriarte, Captain Joseph Brosi, Clint Dempsey, Juergen Klinsmann, Lieutenant Jason Hickey, Tim Howard, World Cup qualifying