August 8, 2008
ďTeam has to show unityĒ
Boston area resident Angela Hucles is participating in her second Olympic Games as a member of the United Stateís Womenís Soccer Team. New England Soccer News conducted an exclusive e-mail interview with the former Boston Breakers and University of Virginia star.
|Boston-area resident Angela Hucles is one of the veterans on this U.S. Womenís National Team, participating in her second Olympics.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
1) This is your second Olympics. How does the feeling going into this one compare to the first? Were there more nerves, butterflies last time?
Hucles: Iím excited for this Olympics and probably a bit more nervous but in a different way. In the last Olympics I was a younger player on a team with a lot of veterans, Mia, Julie, JoyÖbut this time Iím one of the veterans on the team so have more responsibility and leadership I need to provide both on and off the field.
2) Four years ago, there was a sense of ďwin one for the 91ers.Ē That seemed sort of like the teamís rallying cry. Is there a rallying point this time around?
Hucles: Well, weíve had some unfortunate injuries this year with Leslie, Cat, and Abby, so it would be nice to rally around that and make up for their absence. At the same time, this is the Olympics, something most people in the world only dream about being able to competeÖhopefully thatís all the inspiration that we need!!
3) You are one of the veterans on this team. How has your role as far as the team changed?
Hucles: I definitely have more experience now than I did before and I feel like I will need to help remind people to have fun and stay calm. A lot of times the experience of an Olympic event brings more tension and nerves than that of even a World Cup game, so even though we have players who competed in a world championship, this will be their first Olympics. We need to continue to play confidently and believe in ourselves.
4) You are getting a reputation as the super-sub, coming off the bench to score some key goal or provide some new energy. Has your role as a player changed because of Pia?
Hucles: Itís always hard to answer a question like that because each year brings changes, no matter who the coach is. There are different players on the team this year. Iím a slightly changed player as well, so itís a combination of changes in players, coaches and myself that has led to a little bit different role for me this year as opposed to previous ones.
5) It seemed like you were under-utilized under the past two coaches. Did your prior relationship with Pia change anything?
Hucles: Again, there are many changes each year and sometimes itís a matter of what combination will work best for the team. Of course as a competitor I want to be on the field as much as possible, and I will do everything in my power to try and accomplish that. But at the end of the day I can only control so much and then let the coach make her decision with 17 other players in mind.
6) You have been to China before. Whatís the experience of being in that country like compared to playing more open/Western societies?
Hucles: Fortunately, we donít have to worry too much about political and societal issues when we are playing abroad. Iíve been able to compete in China on a few different occasions so I knew what to expect coming over here and thatís just one less thing to worry about as I focus and prepare to play.
7) Have you trained in China this trip yet? Do you notice anything about the air quality?
Hucles: We came to China a couple of weeks prior to our first game so we could adjust to the environment and time change. Itís been good to train in the weather here so that we are used to it come game time.
8) Are any family or friends making the trip to China?
Hucles: Iím very fortunate that I personally will have family here on this trip, along with many other friends and family in our group. There will be a good little pro-USA WNT cheering section for our games!!
9) If this team wins Gold, do you think it will help the launch of the new pro league, when the last league could not capitalize on the magic of the 99 World Cup.
Hucles: Anytime this team does something positive it only helps soccer for our country, both for men and women, boys and girls as well as womenís soccer in other countries. People tend to look to us and our federation as examples of the standard of what professional womenís soccer should be.
10) Who is the team to beat in this tournament?
Hucles: Itís hard to say who the team to beat is because there is something about the Olympics that brings out the best in teams. Especially in the womenís game there is a lot more parity and opportunity for any team to step up and be a surprise. But of course, Germany and Brazil are consistently at the top of the list.
11) If the U.S. is to win gold, what will it have to show as a team?
Hucles: More so than any other team we will have to show a unity and a strength as a whole than ever before. There is not one person on this team that can win this tournament without the help of every single other player, coach or staff member. From the starting 11 to the 18th player, each one of us will need to contribute in some way. It may change from one game to another who scores an important goal or makes an important save, but every day we have to show up to play and we have to play the entire game with that feeling and faith in one another.