sjearthquakes.com: Has the USMNT January camp been everything you’ve anticipated?
Nick Lima: “Given the circumstances of the World Cup and the team and the roster, it’s definitely what I expected it to be in terms of it being a high level full of talent. There’s a high demand for quality from the coaching staff. I don’t think any of that has changed. It’s intense and there’s a desire to get the best out of everyone. It’s definitely been an intense camp. I feel like I’ve been well—prepared for what the camp has been so far."
SJEQ: Walk us through Day 1 of camp. How was it adapting to the new surroundings?
NL: “I was nervous. I was definitely nervous, but there was excitement. It’s everything that goes into that first experience. That first day in training was just about getting the butterflies out. As you go along and you settle in, there’s still days that I’m not performing the way I want to. Once the nerves are gone, you can take a step back and look at it and realize what you’re doing and keep gaining experience as well as improving my quality."
SJEQ: Is there a moment that you can pinpoint where you thought to yourself: ‘Man, this is what I’ve worked so hard for’”?
NL: “Yeah, I actually can. There was a moment in training where I wasn’t happy with a sequence and told myself that it was ok, it was just a practice. I’ll just regroup and come back better tomorrow. I kind of looked down and saw the crest on my shorts and thought to myself ‘What am I talking about? I have so much left to prove in practice right now.’ This is what I dreamt about. This is what I worked for everyday. My philosophy has been this isn’t my last camp, this is just my first camp. That’s what I’m here for to not make it my last. I’m representing so much more. It kind of sunk in that there is no tomorrow, but what’s at hand right now. That’s where it officially set in that I’m here and that it’s go-time. That was a cool moment that I keep going back to.”
SJEQ: Who has been your roommate during camp?
NL: “We all have roommates on the trip. Mine is Brandon Vincent from Chicago. It’s been awesome. I’ve enjoyed it a lot and we connect easily. Obviously, I played against him in the Pac-12 when he played at Stanford, so we had a little rivalry going on. Believe it or not, it’s only surfaced once in a little joke. It’s been fun hanging out with the guys on and off the field and just laying low when we’re not training. I’ve been watching some crime shows on TV that Brandon kind of got be hooked on.”
SJEQ: Is there anyone else you’ve grown close to or learned from during your time at camp?
NL: “Brandon and I got out a lot with Jordan [Morris] and Cristian [Roldan]. We listen to their stories and pick up on things they’ve done to succeed. Jordan’s a guy who has been at camp multiple times and Cristian was the MVP of Seattle last year. You can learn a lot from hanging out with them off the field. You look at a guy who’s in my spot, Matt Polster. On the field, I’ve learned from him on the things he’s done and what he succeeds at. You just want to learn as much as you can because there’s a lot of talented guys here."
SJEQ: Has Wondo given you any advice?
NL: “We sat down and had coffee before I left. We just went through his experience and what it was like for him breaking into the national team and succeeding for a long time. Hearing from a guy like that, it makes you think that anything is possible. He also has great insight on what it takes and things to be aware of. He’s seen me play this year. He’s seen me struggle this year. He said at the end of the day, I just need to be myself. He was helpful and has been during the whole time I’ve been in San Jose."
SJEQ: What’s preparation been like for the friendly against Bosnia?
NL: “For every practice, there’s a great demand for quality. It’s led to an intense atmosphere in and around training and at the facility. We want to build off that and be as sharp as we can when it comes to the game. On game day, we don’t want to say that we could’ve done a whole lot more.”