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March to Soccer diary: Media training with the Columbus Crew

21 February 10:41 pm

March to Soccer diary: Media training with the Columbus Crew

By Josh Whisenhunt

The year was 2008. 

Alejandro Moreno was heading to a team dinner on the eve of another road match. Suddenly, a request. 

ESPN, the network broadcasting tomorrow's match, wanted to speak to Mr. Moreno. 

Flush with excitement and perhaps a nerve or two--this was ESPN, after all--Moreno strode into the meeting room with the producers and broadcast talent, ready to speak clearly and candidly about the next day's match. He was going to knock this interview out of the park. 

That is, until he found out he was only serving as a translater. For his strike partner, Guillermo Barros Schelotto. What a bummer. 

Still, Moreno sucked it up and sat in the interview room for nearly two hours, orchestrating a conversation between the two parties. He didn't have to stay, it wasn't his job, but he did it anyway. 

Three years later, Moreno's phone is ringing. It's ESPN, and they want to speak with him again. This time, however, it's because they want to offer him a job. Turns out being a good sport and choosing to stay in that interview room was a good call, after all.  

Speaking in front of the 2013 version of the Columbus Crew, this was Moreno's lesson. Interviews and media obligations might not always seem like fun, but if you approach each one with a professionalism and a positive attitude, they can pay big dividends in the end, even after you're done playing. 

Moreno's insight was just a part of a two-hour discussion on the ins-and-outs of dealing with the media in MLS, led by Dan Courtemanche, Will Kuhns and Gabriel Gabor. The training sessions have been utilized by 12 teams during this preseason as a way to make sure their players are sharp when they step outside the white lines. 

For the young players, the information was new, and likely more thorough than they anticipated. For seasoned vets like Danny O'Rourke and Chad Marshall, the session served more as a refresher before the start of the campaign. These guys literally do hundreds of interviews a year, so it's good to be reminded of some key principles: 

Mainly, show your personality, never lie, be a good person and stay away from doing things like this:

And of course, don't get yourselves in a situation like this, either: