Wells Thompson’s Weekly Blog: Monday, July 28th, 2008

Hey Ya’ll! Hope that everyone is doing well! Again I want to apologize for not getting my blog out on time. I am sorry for that and promise I will not make it a habit!

Since my last post MLS inter-league play has been on hold for us. We are in the midst of a three week break from the MLS regular season schedule while we have been consumed with Superliga play. For all those who do not know, Superliga is a tournament where the top four MLS teams take on the top four Mexican league teams. Our group consists of Chivas USA, Santos, Pachuca, and ourselves. The second group contained the Houston Dynamo, DC United, Chivas, and Atlante. The top two teams from those groups then advance into the knockout rounds. We finished on top of our group and were the only team to finish group play with an undefeated record. We knocked off Santos 1-0 in our first game and then we squeaked past Pachuca 1-0 on a controversial Penalty Kick call in the 90th minute. It is one of those calls where you are glad to get them, but if it happened to you would be a little ticked off. That’s soccer though, and life as well, sometimes the ball rolls your way and sometimes it doesn’t. Regardless of the calls or the decisions you must always pick yourself back up and keep on keeping on. Our last match in group play was against Chivas USA this past Sunday.

The weekend got off to a crazy start on Friday! I am sure that some of ya’ll had heard the news about our eventful flight out to LA, but for those who haven’t you will definitely get a kick out of this story. We left for LA this past Friday on a direct flight in the afternoon. I remember loving to fly as a little boy, but these days with all the extra security and all and you really never know what is going to happen at the airport, flying these days can be a real hassle. Everything was going fine for the most part until about two hours or so into the flight. I was sitting in the back of the plane, and got my information mostly from Rob Valentino who witnessed the whole situation go down. So apparently a confused young man in his early twenties got up, went to the bathroom and came out BUCK NAKED and went back to his seat like everything was normal. He had a whole row of seats to himself so he then proceeded to stretch out across all three seats and lay down for a little nap, buck naked! Crazy huh? Craig Tornberg, our general manager, and Mike Burns, the team’s vice president for player personnel, were seated across the aisle from him and I am sure were wondering what they were seeing was real or not. They told the fellow that he should put his clothes back on, he refused. With some coaxing from the flight attendants he finally put his clothes back on. About ten minutes later he got up, like he was going to the bathroom again, but instead rushed for the emergency exit door in an attempt to open it. It sounds pretty scary and worse than it really is, but it is almost impossible though to open that door while in flight. He had to be subdued. Gwyn Williams, our goalie coach, along with Mike Burns and Craig Tornberg, rushed to restrain the young man and put him back in his seat. He was then handcuffed and we were forced to make an emergency landing in Oklahoma City to hand the young man over to the police. It was probably more entertaining and funnier than anything, but I did kind of feel bad for the man. It never seems to amaze me what people will do these days! It was a flight I will never forget. I must have told the story a thousand times, all my friends and family who had heard were dying to know what really happened. I am just thankful no one was injured forgroup play on Sunday. We needed either a tie or a win to insure our birth into the semifinals. It was a sloppy game, due to the horrible condition of the field, but we took care of business and went away with the 1-1 draw. We are off all week due to the All-Star break, and are scheduled to resume practice on Saturday to prepare for our semifinal match at home against Atlante in the Superliga semifinals. This is a new tournament to the team and me, but one that is more than welcome. It is always fun and a pleasure playing in new tournaments and against different teams. It also helps showcase the growth and talent that the MLS really possesses. The MLS gets a bad rap a lot because of its popularity, or lack thereof, in the USA, but the league has come a long way in its short history and it continues to only get better and better. I believe the league has a bright future and will only continue to improve.

When I agreed to write for this website, I was excited for many reasons, but also a little nervous. I was excited because it was something I had never done before; I was excited at the idea that people would want to know about my life; I still feel honored and in awe when someone wants my autograph. I never thought in my wildest dreams that someone would want my signature. I was excited not only to talk about my life as a professional footballer, but also to talk about my life off the field, in hopes of helping others through my experiences and insights in any way I could. I was somewhat nervous because I did not know how people would receive me and my messages. I just feel like a normal guy who has been more than blessed to be able to do something for a living that I love. I believe that God made me to play soccer, but I believe he made me to play soccer for a bigger reason. I firmly believe that God put me in this position to spread his Good Word and to ultimately glorify his name and his kingdom. I know that some people might be turned off by my faith and by my convictions, but I don’t care. I have come to understand that God made me who I am for a reason, and that if I am not true to myself I am being a faker, a false, and that I am being untrue to myself, to my readers and fans, and to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. As I have matured and grown, I can see clearly as I look back over my life the many times when I have tried to be someone else; I have tried to be someone other than the person God has created me to be. I know now that I do not want to be that way and do not want to live that way any longer. So since this is my blog, I think it would be unfair to everybody if I tried to portray myself other than the person I really am. I read Tony Dungy’s book, Quiet Strength, not too long ago and it spoke volumes to me. I highly recommend the book! The one thing I most took from the book was that God blessed me with my dreams of becoming a professional athlete. I am in the eye of the public, and with that pedestal I feel it is my obligation and duty to use that pedestal and podium to do something greater than myself; to give all the glory to God and to help others in any way I can. I don’t know, I just felt it necessary and on my heart to express that with all my readers.

Please do not forget to send in any and all questions-whatever it is I would love to answer them! wells@americansoccerreader.com

Hope ya’ll enjoy! Take care, God bless, and until next time, be easy!

Wells Thompson

QUESTIONS

1. Hey wells,first off I have to say that you have been doing a great job with the revs.I was just wondering if you had to pick the top two pranks that any of the players has done while you have been with the team what would they be? and who were the masterminds behind them?also… I always wondered who Jeff Larentowicz hung out with off the pitch?Keep up the good work.-Kiana Wells-

—Kiana, hey there-thanks for your support and interest, I really appreciate it! I am a prankster, and a kid at heart, so I always enjoy telling a good prank. Ill give you one while I was in college at Wake and one while at the revs. Ryan Solle, a former revolution last year, played ball with me at wake. He is quite the prankster as well, and we always seemed to be trying to one up each other on pranks. One day after training all the guys were in the cafeteria getting some food. When I left, got back to my car and opened the door, smoke poured out of my car. I mean it was ridiculous! The smoke was so thick in my car that I couldn’t see anything in there. The next thing I know I hear Ryan dying laughing behind me. He had put a smoke bomb in my car. The smoke was so thick, that someone called the cops because they thought my car was on fire. They came and had a word with Ryan, they didn’t seem to enjoy our sense of humor. I knew though that I had o get him back. I couldn’t let him show me up like that! Ryan has a Jack Russell, and we knew how much Ryan loved that dog. So one day when we knew he was not home we, my teammate and good friend Evan Brown and myself, went to his house and dyed his dog red. It was hysterical, I have never seen Ryan so mad. He tried to wash the dog, but he couldn’t get all the dye out and he ended up being pink for about two weeks. That is probably my favorite prank of all time!

Now there a quite a few pranksters on the Revs, Joe Franchino, Matt Reis, Khano Smith, and Steve Ralston to name a few. Last year while Franchino was hurt, he had a lot of time to scheme. One day while we were practicing, Franchino put zip ties, the things cops use sometimes to handcuff people when they run out of handcuffs, on the rotating axel under the cars of Pat Noonan and myself. So whenever we drove there was a clinking sound that made us think there was something wrong with our cars. I checked under my car and eventually found the zip tie, but Noonan took his car in to the shop to get checked out, he had no idea. He ended up having to pay something like 200 dollars for the whole ordeal. I bet you could guess how pissed he was when he found out that it was just a prank from Franchino. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the stories. I have plenty more that I could gladly share with you some other time, but I will end it here for now. Thanks again for your question and please keep them coming. Take care and hope to hear from you again soon! Oh yea and Jeff is a great guy. Unfortunately we do not spend much time off the field, but to the best of my knowledge he usually hangs out with Doug Warren, Matt Reis, and Gary Flood off the field.

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