Friday, December 5, 2008
This is Jules, checking in with a letter from Auckland. We’ve been here a few days now (left from LAX on Monday night and arrived at AKL on Wednesday morning) and things are going well. The flight was a bit long but most guys were able to get a good night sleep regardless and adapt to the time change pretty quickly. It’s only three hours behind here – but tomorrow.
We’ve had a few good days of training at Mt. Smart Stadium, the venue for Saturday night’s game and we’re preparing for a good match. The stadium is nice, the field is pristine, and they’re expecting a big and enthusiastic crowd. Today we actually had an open training session and over 10,000 school kids attended the session. They were treated to a short, but sharp session the day before the match as we took care of our final preparations. The Oceania All-Star Team is a strong side, consisting of Christian Karembu, Edgar Davids, Mark Bosnich, among other top players from the region and we’re gearing up for what should be a competitive match. Saying that, we’re confident that if we play to the best of our abilities we will come out on top at the end of the day.
Off the pitch, the trip has been fantastic. Auckland is a beautiful city and the people have been extremely welcoming and hospitable. The city and NZ in general has a mix of British and Polynesian culture that is quite unique. Our team hotel is right in the “mixer” so we’re in a good area with lots of restaurants and shopping and everything is within walking distance and we’re right on the harbor. Last night we had a VIP Meet & Greet with some of the bigwigs who helped put this game on – we even met the new Prime Minister of New Zealand. After the VIP Meet & Greet, we had runway show and auction that most of the guys attended. Being a small-town kid, it was certainly my first runway show and it was a really neat to be a part of such an event. Models came out to strut their stuff in some one-of-a-kind garments made by local designers that were later auctioned off to the highest bidder. I just got back from a Meet & Greet with the fine folks at Herbalife so there’s been a lot of meeting and a lot of greeting. Other than that, we’ve been just walking around, enjoying the sights of the city, and getting ready for the game.
All the fanfare aside, we’re seriously focused on the game tomorrow night. We came here to win a game and we’re hoping to put fourth a good performance tomorrow night. The game will be aired live on Fox Soccer Channel at 10:30 pm PST, so make sure check it out and cheer us on from you living room or local sports bar.
Posted by LA Galaxy at 2:23 PM