As the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic forces everyone to social distance and reminds us of how much our friendships mean, even those on the pedestals of sports stardom can relate.
So it is with former US men's national team fixtures Geoff Cameron and Alejandro Bedoya, who spoke recently on the Sam's Army Podcast about the special, triangular friendship they shared with Clint Dempsey during their international service. Others on the squad even dubbed them "The Three Amigos," an homage to the 1986 comedy film of the same name.
"I guess just three guys who within each other weren’t afraid to stand up for one another, our views, our perspectives or whatever," Bedoya, the Philadelphia Union captain, said. "Clint’s a straight shooter – you’ve seen it throughout his career – and Geoff’s the same way. I like to speak my mind too. So we just clicked."
Aside from the public shame that came with the USMNT's failure to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, that historic 2017 away defeat to Trinidad and Tobago represented the end to an era of that friendship, Cameron said.
"I think that's like the disappointing part of [the loss], is that it was kind of like, 'it's gone,'" Cameron, a former Houston Dynamo star, recalled. "It was a bad moment, sitting on a bench and knowing that you could help the team in some way, and being helpless."
Bedoya recalled how Dempsey helped him assimilate to the USMNT before the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Dempsey, whose professional career began with the New England Revolution, retired in 2018 after six seasons with the Seattle Sounders.
"January camp is like, what do they call it, Camp Cupcake or something? It's like the B or C Team," Bedoya said. "When I had my first camp with like the full team, Clint was actually one of the veterans, the first guy who like came up to me and said, 'Hey man, go out there, do you're thing, show out. You're here for a reason.' And after that, that meant a lot. And we just hit it off."
When the trio first came together, they shared the bond of being European-based American players. Cameron remains in England with Queens Park Rangers of the League Championship.
They also weren't afraid to try and bend the rules under the regime of Jurgen Klinsmann.
"Clint ordered like four glasses of milk and six cookies,", Cameron recalled. "Our nutritionist [went] to the hotel staff, room service and said, 'If anybody calls for room service let me know.' We hear a knock on the door thinking it’s our milk and cookies, and it’s our nutritionist saying you guys just ordered four glasses of milk and six cookies? We’re like, yeah, we’re hungry. We just wanted chocolate, man."
For more from the Sam's Army Podcast, check out their show here.