Dominic Kinnear's weekly conversation
The Earthquakes face Real Salt Lake on Saturday missing five players who are with their respective national teams and without a suspended Eddie Robinson. How can you prepare the team for a test like this?
Dominic Kinnear: "I think that we are going to be alright. You can't really prepare for something like this, but we know going into a season that we are going to be affected by injuries or national team absences. So, we can't focus on who is not here. We wish them luck, and then go about our business and welcome those guys back when they get back. A situation like this gives these guys a chance to play. I know that they are hungry and are looking forward to it. This is a great opportunity for them. We have all of these guys on our roster for a reason, and that is because we know they can help us."
Ronald Cerritos missed Saturday's game with an ankle sprain. What his is status for this week against Real Salt Lake?
DK: "We are going to have to wait until later in the week on Ronald and see how he is doing. We don't want to rush him back or anything, but hopefully he can play. We are going to see how he continues to get back into training and see how he responds to treatment and we will have to wait until later to make a call on that."
Roger Levesque helped the Seattle Sounders to the USL-First Division championship and is now returning to the Quakes. How does the return of Roger help the team?
DK: "Roger is a good player who has been with us for several years now and can fit in well here. I know that he enjoyed a lot of success for Seattle this season. I talked with his coaches there throughout the season and they were pleased with him. He is getting into town this week and I talked to him after their game on Saturday and told him that we were looking forward to getting him back, and that there was a good chance he could be seeing some time on Saturday, so I think he is very excited about that."
Early this season, the Quakes were struggling and found themselves in the middle of the pack in the Western Conference. What were your thoughts at that time?
DK: "I think the message to the team was the same. I thought we were playing well, we just weren't getting results. We wanted to keep playing the way we wanted to play, and I told them that if we continue to play well, then the results will start turning the way we want them to turn. Even when we weren't getting results, I told the guys we just needed to work on a few things. We needed to stop giving up goals like we were, especially late in game, which we've done. We watched some video and corrected a few other things, but really it is the players that want to do it. The players have been great all season long. They want to do it. They want to win."
Before you joined the Quakes as an assistant coach prior to the 2001 season, was it one of your goals to coach in MLS? How did you get into coaching after your playing career finished?
DK: "I didn't think of coaching at all. It had not crossed my mind, to be honest with you. Frank [Yallop] called me when I was in preseason with Tampa [Bay Mutiny]. I was coming off a surgery and there were rumblings that I was going to get traded. I had heard about that and thought I might be. During the preseason, I had found out that the San Jose coaching job was open and that people were interviewing. I had played with Frank and was friends with him, so I called Frank up as a friend and told him that he should interview there, that I thought he would be a great fit there. I didn't know at the time, but he was interviewing there already. He called me the next day and told me that he had got the job in San Jose, and then he asked me if I wanted to come to San Jose. At first I thought that he meant he wanted to trade for me, and I thought that it sounded great. I was excited. Then he said that he wanted me to be his assistant coach. Up until that day, I hadn't thought about coaching. I always thought I would come back to California after I was done playing and do some youth stuff, but I never thought about coaching professionally. It took me about 24 hours to decide. My first thought was that I didn't want to stop playing. You always want to keep on playing, I thought I had maybe a year or two left, although players always think that. I started weighing the pluses and minuses, and the pluses for coaching out-weighed the minuses."