On this Sounders team having more grit and fewer dancers: There are still some dancers out there. I wouldn’t call Pappa a worker, he’s more of a dancer. It’s just a mix of the team. It’s more a situation of we had maybe a few guys who played similarly … who played like each other on the field, so there weren’t enough positions on the field for those three or four players. By moving that around, it helped. Also as a group we talked about having more grit, more determination, and I think adding players who have had experiences of winning and MLS Cup like a Chad Marshall or a Chad Barrett, people like that and Kenny Cooper who also has had some success. … Adding those guyswho were experienced players who had sort of been around the league, who were experienced player, who had been around the league, sort of knew what it takes, who were good pros in terms of even if they weren’t on the first team they were still going to train hard, I think all of those things helped.
On the decision to retain him after last season and if he thinks he coached better this season: First off, I think it was an excellent decision that they decided to retain me. I was very much in support of that decision.
You coach. It’s like I said, last year you still scratch your head sometimes. I was talking to my youngest son and his team got knocked out in the league playoff semfinals and he was saying ‘Yeah, two days away and it still bothers me.’ I said I have games that I look back upon that are 11 years ago and 20 years ago and I still scratch my head and I say why did I do this, why didn’t I do that. But that’s just part of it, and as a coach you’re always trying to do well every year. So I don’t look at it as, ‘Well, this was a better coaching year than last year,’ or anything like that. We always strive for the same goals, and this year we’ve been able to keep our focus and go forward with it, and guys have fulfilled their goals and have bought in, and it’s been a good year because of that. Sometimes injuries get in the way. Sometimes things that are outside of your control get in your way as well. But I think the team has done a good job of playing this year.
On if there is satisfaction in shutting up many who doubted him: It’s like I said before to you guys. I think as a coach if you’re going to make 10 decisions, for a good coach seven to eight of those decisions are going to be good and there’s two to three that are going to be bad. If you’re a bad coach, you’re probably going to make seven to eight bad decisions out of 10, but you’re also going to make a couple of good decisions. People are always going to doubt you, there’s always going to be somebody who thinks you should have done it this way, you should have done it that way. ‘Yeah you won, but you should have won by three if you would have done this. That’s just human nature. I think we all do that. We all do that when we look at other sports, we all do that when we look at different activities. Do I get satisfaction – the German word ‘Schadenfreude’ out of that stuff? No. (He defined ‘schadenfreude’ as people being happy at other’s misfortune.) Like OK, this team fired me; I hope they lose every game after that. That’s schadenfreude. Nah, I try to avoid that as much as possible. It creeps in – I think it creeps in to everybody – but you sort of sit there and think, ‘I have to be above this.’