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Who's in the Video
Jimmy Conrad is an American soccer defender, who currently plays for the Kansas City Wizards of Major League Soccer and the United States national team. He is also team captain[…]

Conrad is still learning the fine points of managing a team on the field.

Question: What is it like to be team captain?

Jimmy Conrad: Yeah. No that’s some thing, I have been captain my third year and I think this year or at the end of the last year, I have really started to kind of understand what that meant. My first year, I was just of an honored where, I don’t really fully appreciate the responsibility that comes with that and you really do have to be the extension of the coach, you do have to be the coach on the field, you can’t have, you can’t show any like, sign of disbelief or not a dis-belief. You can’t waiver and what the coach is trying to say. So if you show any like dissatisfaction with how the coach is coaching if once the other guy see that the captain is not buying in, they are not going to buy it either and so there is a lot of that where I can’t say stuff off the cuff anymore, even if I am just frustrated for a day or I am not agreeing with what the coach is saying I can’t show any sign of that and that took me a long time to fully appreciate that because when you are coming from being just a player, or you can’t just say or what ever and you can be around the guys and just act like the guys. It takes a while to make that transition and understand the role and so that is still work in progress, I think genuinely a nice guy and when I was the younger player we had some older guys that weren’t very nice and they didn’t feel like I did a very good job of building up confidence. And so taking that and how I went through that process, I tried to be a little bit more positive with their younger guys, but I have learned now especially in the last year that you know there it still needs to be some accountability and discipline that I need to ask them for as well and that has been tough for me because that kind of goes against my grain, but I understand now that if I want to have success as a team then that is what has to happen so I have learned that kind of turn up the jerk factor, and just demand things from people that I wouldn’t normally do if I was just a player. I think for me lot of it comes down to knowing your personalities, knowing who is going to respond to what you say and how you say it, you know some guys can handle you know an air full of not very nice stuff and some guys can’t and so it is finding that balance between you know being a jerk but also may be coming back around and saying you know, I am doing this because I think you are a good player, I am doing this because I see potential, I am doing this because I care about you in our team and so there is certain guys that have to come back around to and say that you know I have learned now that I can basically be a jerk a lot of the time, in certain moments where I am just barking commands and making sure it gets done no matter what like especially in our game there is lot of second decisions that need to happen and if I need to make a decision I need certain guys in front of me that are making certain decisions, but if they are making in decision, I can’t help them on that, so they need to make a decision and that way we can fix whatever that decision is, but if they don’t do anything, then we are all hurting it, so there is a lot of that, especially they are young players, that they just need to kind of understand and kind of have their hand health in that regard and so I can be quite mean in that fashion, but with certain guys I or actually most guys I will come back around whether it is an hour later 20 minutes later, it may be even five minutes later and let them know that you know I want them to be the best that they could be and the sooner they can understand where I am coming from and what I want, you know the better they are going to be in the long run. Well I guess, I have been fighting being that jerk, because when I was a younger player, I couldn’t stand the older guys for that reason, I just didn’t understand why they were so over the top mean all the time, it just didn’t translate to me and now I can get it a little bit more and so that is why I really try to pay attention to making sure that I come back around, because these all the other guys that I was around, didn’t come back around and you know there was at that time when I was coming in a league, these guys were getting older and I was a threat to them in some fashion and so you know there is that balance too of appreciating that, so I can kind of see for what it is in that regard, part of me felt like you know, it just in terms of having team success, they could have done a much better job about worrying about the team, as opposed to themselves and I think I try to learn a lot from that, from the past in that regard.

Question: For example?

Jimmy Conrad: Yeah, you now every time we start up game you know everybody most teams in every sport going like a team hurdle and they talk about whatever, and sometimes are varied up you know, you try to get the mood of the team and so sometimes all try to, if I feel like things are tight, I will just try to keep it loose make sure that the guys enjoy it, if I feel guys aren’t really into it, then I too don’t kind of land them say lets get to going, more often than not, I demand that people have good habits and that they demand the same from not only themselves but the people around them, that way it is less responsibility on me to ask for all the time, but you know that is one of my goals too, because I think if even if you practice with good habits, it is going to translate too when the games matter, so that is something I bark out a lot and sometimes I bark louder than other times and when I seem to bark loud, we don’t play very well and it is one kind of I do a little more subtle about how I say it in the way I say it or the timing that I want to say, sometimes I feel like if I say right before the whistle blows, new guys, I get guys in the mental state that may be I could have gone in a direction and may be kept guys loosen in that regard, whereas if I said it 15 minutes earlier in the locker room, when guys are in that mode, then I think it might have been little more beneficial for them to have time to process what I am saying and say okay, you know today I could be better, my one or two touch of holding the ball up and actually visualize a couple of those players before they go out on the field, I suppose the saying at 30 seconds before the game actually starts, so there is a lot of that psychology that I am really starting to appreciate timing and just ultimately it is going to make me a coach in the future, but as a captain and being able to have an impact on the game because once the game starts coach can only do so much, it is very interesting and something that take a lot of pride in.

Recorded On: 3/24/08