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Ray of light for MLS

Posted on 14 May 2003  - 12:00

Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) Football Club is located in North London. The club is also known as Spurs. Tottenham's home ground is White Hart Lane. The club motto is Audere est Facere (To dare is to do).

Larger than life DC united boss Ray Hudson gives us his thoughts as we prepare for our Capital Cup clash in the US tonight.

Seen as one of the real characters of Major League Soccer, Newcastle-born Hudson, who started his playing career at Newcastle United, has seen the highs and lows of soccer in the USA.

He joined the NASL revolution with Ford Lauderdale Strikers - where he played with Spurs legends Ricky Villa and Ossie Ardiles - in 1977 and played through until 1992 before taking up coaching roles at Hollywood Wildcats and University High School Nove Southeaster and finally going into management with first Miami Fusion and now DC United.

Here, Hudson gives his views on a host of topics as we countdown to Wednesday's Capital Cup clash against DC at RFK Stadium.

On the game: "We absolutely want to put on a good show. We are representing our club, of course, but American soccer as well. The guys don't just want to show up, they want to go for the win. There's no point in approaching it any other way, especially against a powerhouse like Spurs, we would get dismantled if we just showed up. We'll fight fire with fire but it's an exhibition game and it will be played in a sportsmanlike manner. Spurs treated so well throughout our entire stay in London and we will show them the utmost respect."

On DC's MLS season so far: "It's been frustrating. We've played some nice, attacking football but had no luck in front of goal. We've had a multitude of chances but came away very disappointed not to have won the three games we've drawn. We've added a few new players and that is usually the final piece to come together but the understanding of the team and the atmosphere has been outstanding and we're all confident it will turn around."

On the current standing of the MLS and USA following the national team's run to the quarter-finals of the World Cup: "It's been a long process and not just happened overnight. What Bruce Arena's team did in the World Cup was the exclamation point in the building of the game in this country. It's been on an escalator for the last 20, 25 years and the NASL is the legacy of that. That was the establishment of a multitude of youth clubs, youth organisations, coaching seminars, the whole infrastructure of the sport here started back then.

"The US earned the respect of the world in the World Cup but that wasn't a magic wand. It was the result of decades of ground work from a lot of unsung heroes. Our domestic league is starting to spawn quality players in numbers through the college system and youth system. It's a real green field now. We understand we're not there yet and as a league, in terms of world standing, we're going through a lot of growing pains. The sport is far from the religion it is in England, Italy or Spain and we've a lot of developing still to do in terms of understanding the game, officiating, training facilities - all these things we're just not quite there yet. But one thing I will say in the short time, a short span of 20-odd years, the speed of the development in this country has truly been outstanding. That has never got the praise it deserves."

On Ricky and Ossie: "I played in a team with Ricky Villa and Ossie Ardiles for a time. Ossie was a real gentleman and that was his reputation. He was a real ambassador for the game. Ricky was a delight to play with, a real integral part of the team. He was a smashing player and a great personality. I ran into the pair of them in Argentina last winter, had a cup of coffee with them. They are fabulous people and still had that smile about them. Real angels."

On our assistant boss John Gorman, who he played against in the NASL: "I've still got the scars to show for it! John was always a jovial character, a great personality and ideal for the United States. Apart from being a class act as a player, here was a real soccer salesman. He was with a great club in Tampa Bay as well. He was a delight to run up against before, during and after games. I'm genuinely delighted he's found so much success with Glenn Hoddle because he is one of the game's nice guys. He is such a wise head as well. It was great to catch up with him in October and he's still so enthusiastic. I can't speak high enough of him. He's a real joy."