Michael Parkhurst of the New England Revolution is a member of the US Olympic Soccer Team. Major League Soccer's Rookie of the Year in 2005 and Defender of the Year in 2007, the 23-year-old Providence native and Wake Forest graduate will be writing a diary for us while he competes in the Summer Games. Here's his first post:
Greetings from Tianjin, China!
We are currently in this city about 45 minutes south of Beijing where we’ll play the first two games of our round-robin group play. We have been placed in a tough group in which we face Japan, the Netherlands, and Nigeria.
The top two teams from the group advance to the quarterfinals. It will be a tough test for us but we’re confident we have the ability to medal for the first time in more than a century.
For soccer, the Olympics pose a unique and challenging test for each team. It is an Under-23 tournament in which each team is allowed to add three over-aged players (yep, I'm one of them!). The core of our group is around 22 years old with the youngest being 18 and eldest 36 … yes, he’s a player -- not the coach.
We come from all different club teams throughout the world and have been together a mere two weeks in preparation for the Games. And one of the biggest challenges each team faces is bringing each and every individual personality together to create a good balance of team chemistry. The belief is that chemistry off the field results in better teamwork on the field and a greater ability to really dig deep in tough times and fight through tough stretches that are inevitable in every match. It’s a formula that works for us at the Revolution. Hopefully, it will bring success to our Olympic Team, as well.
Our run towards the gold begins Thursday morning. Stay tuned for more updates and a further look into the Olympic experience.
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