Clarence Goodson has been all over the world during his professional soccer career, whether playing for FC Dallas against Tigres in Mexico, playing in Norway and Denmark or representing the U.S. at the 2010 World Cup. SJEarthquakes.com sat down to talk with him about the Quakes current foreign excursion and his past international experiences.
SJEarthquakes.com: What was the most memorable international trip you have ever taken as a player?
Clarence Goodson: It has to be the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. We were there for a month and you get to experience so many things and be a part of so many memorable games. That was definitely the most intense thing I have ever been a part of.
SJEQ: Were you able to experience some of the culture of South Africa during your stay there or were you in lockdown mode the whole time?
Goodson: We certainly had a bit of lockdown time there, both so we could concentrate on the games and also for some security reasons. But you could still get a good feel for the culture and the people there. We did take a great planned trip to an animal reserve and we got to handle baby lions and see lion trainers work with adult lions up close. That was pretty amazing to see.
SJEQ: When you come on trips like this one to Mexico, do you stay 100 percent focused on soccer or do you like to also try to absorb a bit of what the country has to offer?
Goodson: Of course, first and foremost it is a business trip. However, you can’t concentrate solely on that. You still have to pick your head up and look around a bit. Some trips you leave the hotel and go out and do some things in the local area and sometimes you stay in the hotel. That depends on a number of factors, like security, if I have any lingering injury or what have you. If the opportunity is there and it makes sense, it is nice to get out of the hotel and get a feel for what is happening.
SJEQ: What have been the best excursions you have done on the road?
Goodson: Holding the baby lions was definitely one of the most memorable. But having been able to travel to some of the biggest cities in the world like Paris and London has been great. It is fun to walk around with your teammates and check things out. That gives you some great memories with your teammates off the training field. Soccer gives you the opportunity to do things that you wouldn't be able to do otherwise.
SJEQ: Monday you guys trained at the hotel on top of a helicopter pad. Have you done that before? Do unique things like that help bring the team together in a way?
Goodson: No, [laughs] I had never practiced on a helicopter pad before. That was new. Really it’s everything on a trip like this that can bring a team together. Like Sunday night, getting off the airplane and getting onto a bus for a long drive at night and then seeing our bus driver have to pull off a 30-point turn to get us to our hotel. That kind of stuff gives everyone a laugh and gives us a shared experience. Of course, no one will forget playing 5v2 on a helicopter pad. We talked after training Monday and we all felt like that type of session was exactly what we needed to shake the legs out after a long flight. Then Tuesday we will have a session in the stadium and get ready for the game.
SJEQ: How many times have you been to Mexico as a player and what do you think of this hotel?
Goodson: I have been here a handful of times but not a ton. Dallas used to have a partnership with Tigres so we came over and played them a few times.This hotel has a great feel to it. Lots of history and it is very peaceful and has given us some time to hang out as a team. I probably wouldn’t have gotten a chance to come to a place like this if it were not for soccer. I am always thankful that soccer has given me a chance to experience places like this. Right now we are sort of sitting in history. It is a cool place.
SJEQ: What are the keys to the game on Wednesday night against Toluca?
Goodson: We are feeling good right now. We thought we played a very good game at home and we are a bit disappointed that we did not score more goals based on the chances that we created. It is a one-off on Wednesday, so anything can happen. We know that we are going to have to defend well and the longer we can keep it at 0-0, the better for us. We have proven time and time again that we can score goals and score goals late so we are feeling good right now.
SJEQ: Changes gears, you were one of the backup singers for the Never Say Die song that The Old Firm Casuals wrote. Did you realize when Victor (Bernardez) scored on Saturday that the Never Say Die song was playing and that you were actually hearing yourself?
Goodson: First, I want to thank all the members of the band for letting us get a chance to take part in the project and for doing some work to make us sound good. It is great hearing that song in the stadium and that Lars (Frederiksen) and The Old Firm Casuals took the time to hang out with us and make that song. When I heard it Saturday, it was cool to hear it and I am glad that I didn’t think about me singing it.
SJEQ: Who do you think is best singer of the five players that participated in that song?
Goodson: Well thank god we wore headphones when we were singing so we didn’t have to hear each other [laughs]. The funny thing is the guys who like to sing in the locker room the most are not on the song. If I have to choose, I am going to say that Lars is the best. He is a professional and he did a great job getting something out of us. The song turned out great.