USA Today: Gooch a Big Deal for U.S. Soccer

USA Today: Gooch a Big Deal for U.S. Soccer

Aug. 17, 2005

HARTFORD, Conn. — Perhaps when Oguchi Onyewu (pronounced Oh-Gooch-ee Own-YAY-woo) becomes a household name in countries other than Belgium, there will be flashy newspaper headlines which read: “Oh So Good” or “Oh My Goochness!” Right now, the predominant reaction most have upon meeting a 6-4, 210-pound soccer player is: “Oh wow, he’s huge.”

Which is why most peg him for a middle linebacker instead of a central defender on the U.S. men’s national team.

When Onyewu, who plays for the Belgian club, Standard de Liege, arrived in the USA for tonight’s World Cup qualifier vs. Trinidad and Tobago, he was stopped going through customs.

“You here to play basketball?” the customs agent asked.

“No, soccer,” Onyewu said.

“OK, have a good day,” the agent said, still sizing him up.

“He was kinda shocked that it was soccer out of all the sports I could say,” says Onyewu of the question he gets nearly every day (“Soccer? Really?”) when he comes back to the USA. In Belgium, where he has been immortalized with his very own bobble-head doll, everyone knows his sport.

To read the complete story in USA Today, click here.