Thanksgiving is upon us, and everybody has something to be thankful for as they get ready to carve the turkey and put the pumpkin pie in the oven. MLSnet.com asked numerous players, coaches and staff around the league what they are most thankful for, and while family, friends and health were the most common responses, many of those asked also noted how thankful they are to be involved in the sport of soccer.
CD Chivas USA defender/midfielder Antonio de la Torre: "Obviously for being alive, being in this world, and having a wonderful family; also I think it is very important having the opportunity to play my favorite sport for Chivas USA."
CD Chivas USA midfielder Arturo Torres: "I'm thankful for God's love, because without God I wouldn't have anything. I thank my parents and all my family and friends for their support."
Chicago Fire defender C.J. Brown: "I would say I'm most thankful for my family and my health, most importantly. We seem to change (our plans) every year. We'll usually either go to someone's house in my family or someone's in my wife's family, except for last year when we went over to Chris Armas's place. This year we'll be hosting at our house and having Orlando (Perez) and his family coming over, so we're looking forward to it."
Chicago Fire midfielder Jesse Marsch: "I'm thankful for my healthy family and being healthy once again... and world peace. We used to have a football game when I was younger, but I'm too old now. Plus, it's in my contract that I'm not allowed to play anymore. But our Thanksgivings usually just involve sitting around, eating and watching football ... hopefully watching the Packers win if they play that day." (Editor's note: Jesse Marsch also would like to pay homage to his grandma's pumpkin pie and copious amounts of mashed potatoes, which is most of what he and his brothers used to eat every Thanksgiving.)
Chicago Fire head coach Dave Sarachan: "This Thanksgiving I'm thankful for my health, my family's health and a great supporting cast at home and at my work. We usually gather all of our family together in St. Louis or Chicago. Both my wife and sister-in-law make a mean turkey, so we'll be enjoying that."
FC Dallas head coach Colin Clarke: "On a personal level, I am very thankful for my health and my family. On a professional level, I am thankful that I have another chance to succeed next year with FC Dallas. I am really looking forward to a new season, a new stadium and the excitement surrounding our team for next year."
FC Dallas goalkeeper Jeff Cassar: "I'm thankful for my family. They are the ones that are always there for me and make me feel good. From my parents to my brother and sister, and the fact that I am an uncle and a father, I have a lot to be thankful for in my life."
FC Dallas midfielder Ronnie O'Brien: "With Thanksgiving approaching I am very thankful for my wife and being healthy."
FC Dallas forward Bobby Rhine: "I'm thankful for my future mother-in-law and my future sister-in-law and their abilities to help my fiancé and I plan an out-of-town wedding. I'm also thankful for a bright future with FC Dallas and the exciting direction this team is heading."
FC Dallas midfielder Oscar Pareja: "Having good health to be able to play for all these years the sport I love."
FC Dallas midfielder Ramon Nuñez: "For my family."
FC Dallas defender Carey Talley: "I'm thankful for my wife and my family. My wife is such a wonderful person especially with being in this profession where you have to be ready to pick up and move and go somewhere else. She has always been there for me no matter what and I am thankful for that."
FC Dallas director of team administration Bobby Hammond: "I'm thankful for a new stadium for FC Dallas in Frisco next season. It will be great to only go 20 steps to see our training sessions, rather than 20 miles like in the past."
FC Dallas director of corporate and group ticket Sales Megan O'Sullivan: "I am thankful for the outstanding employees I work with at FC Dallas who are dedicated to making our transition to our sparkling new stadium in Frisco a success."
Kansas City Wizards midfielder Diego Gutierrez: "I am thankful for my wife and for my children and for the opportunity to do what I love for a living. I am also thankful for this country."
Kansas City Wizards defender Jimmy Conrad: "I am thankful for ten fingers, ten toes, two eyes, two ears and a nose. Oh yeah, my friends and family, too."
Los Angeles Galaxy defender Ryan Suarez: "What I'm really most thankful for is pretty much three things. All good things come in threes. First, my faith: faith in the Lord and his faith in us. Second, my family, obviously that they're still with me and that they're healthy. And health, actually is the third one, so it coincides. Faith, family and health."
Los Angeles Galaxy defender Danny Califf: "I'm most thankful for one of the most incredible years in my life personally, with my daughter just turning one. It's a complete life change and definitely worth it - the best thing that's happened to me."
Los Angeles Galaxy head coach Steve Sampson: "I'm most thankful for family and friends, and I'm very thankful to be back in the best country in the world."
MetroStars head coach Bob Bradley: "First and foremost, I am most thankful for the fact that my family has the good fortune of being close to each other and is in good health. When you consider the difficulties that some families go through each holiday season, we consider ourselves very blessed."
MetroStars assistant coach Mo Johnston: "Obviously, I am happy to be at home with my family this holiday season after being away from them for so long. I am also very thankful for what the MetroStars organization has given me over the last couple of seasons."
MetroStars midfielder Eddie Gaven: "I am very thankful for the support of my family and friends and for all of their good health. I am also thankful for the role that soccer has played in my life and feel that I am very blessed with everything in my life."
MetroStars defender Chris Leitch: "I have a lot to be thankful for this holiday season. I have definitely been blessed with a tremendous family. My parents, older brother, younger brother and younger sister have given me outstanding support, which I truly appreciate. I also give thanks to my good health and hope that we all remain in good health in the future."
MetroStars midfielder Mark Lisi: "I am very thankful for my family, especially because I cannot be with them this Thanksgiving; it makes me appreciate all of their love and support. Everyone should appreciate being able to spend this holiday with their loved ones, especially those fighting overseas who are making the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Finally, I am thankful for the meal that we have, as many will be less fortunate this holiday."
MetroStars goalkeeper Zach Wells: "This Thanksgiving, I am fortunate that my family is in good health. I am also thankful to be able to leave the cold weather of the Northeast and return to California for part of the winter. Finally, I am very thankful for everyone in the MetroStars organization that made me feel welcome in my first year with the team."
Real Salt Lake goalkeeper D.J. Countess: "I am thankful for being given the opportunity to play for such a great coach, John Ellinger and having a fresh start with a new and exciting organization, Real Salt Lake."
Real Salt Lake defender Nelson Akwari: "Friends and family."
Real Salt Lake defender Matt Benchke: "Opportunity to experience a new city, beautiful place in the mountains, and a new start."
Real Salt Lake midfielder Kevin Ara: "I am thankful to Salt Lake for bringing me in. I am looking forward to the opportunities that are available to me and the team, and hopefully we can repeat what the Chicago Fire did in their inaugural season with Peter Nowak."
Real Salt Lake midfielder/forward Chris Brown: "I am thankful for my wife, the opportunity to play soccer as my career, and going to Salt Lake and play in front of friends and family."