I once launched a fairly uncomfortable conversation with Wells Thompson – but one that turned out quite informative, and really quite well.
Thompson was a Colorado Rapids man then, prepping along with the rest of Gary Smith’s team for the 2010 MLS Cup final in Toronto. I had him off to the side during one interview session and told him – honestly now – that he was once on my least favorite player list. I told him, as delicately as possible, that I formerly would have labeled him a “punk” on the field.
I could say all this and not risk a punch in the nose because I also said that he had seemed to turn quite a corner, that I now saw a lot more “soccer” in his game, a lot less “menace and meanness.”
And you know what? He agreed, and was very pleasant about it. Thompson smiled a told me I was absolutely correct, that his hands were once quite dirty, so to speak, and that he had changed his life. Thompson had become much more religious, and he understood that certain ways on the soccer field were 100 percent hypocritical to the way he wanted to live his life. So he cleaned up his game, playing hard, but subtracting the high levels of griping, fouling and frustrating.
It was an interesting and informative conversation.
In a tackle last week against Columbus, the Chicago Fire midfielder got in late. Way late. Major League Soccer decided today that Thompson needed more than the yellow card issued that night, suspending the Fire midfielder-defender an extra match.
What he said about the incident from a piece at Chicago-Fire.com (You can also watch the incident in that link.)
I’d been praying about it all week hoping I wouldn’t get a suspension and thought I was actually in the clear. I guess the coaches heard late Tuesday but you know I’m just disappointed, you get a string of games in and for me, for someone that hasn’t been playing that much is such a plus.
“You finally get comfortable with the position and I feel like I’ve been playing well. I just want to keep playing and I feel like it comes at a bad time but everything happens for a reason. I’m just going to take it and get back out there next week.”