SANDY, Utah — Many have questioned Bob Bradley's selection of striker Robbie Findley. His RSL teammate Kyle Beckerman, however, thinks Findley will shine in South Africa.
“He’s born for this stuff," Beckerman said. "He’s just got those ice cold veins.”
Many fans following the U.S. World Cup preparations were shocked at Wednesday's announcement that Findley would be traveling with the U.S.'s 23-man roster. But perhaps the biggest exception to that were Findley’s coaches and teammates in Salt Lake.
“We were all super excited, and everyone was relieved," Beckerman said. "We were all kind of on edge until we found out, [but] the guys kept it positive.”
RSL head coach Jason Kreis said he believes that Findley does belong in the squad. However, he also said that Findley should be grateful for the chance he has been given.
“Often times you see guys in and around the national team and they get one shot, maybe two shots or three shots, and that’s it," Kreis said. "And those shots in the international setup can often be once every month or three months. And that’s not often enough to really learn what’s expected.”
While many assumed that Findley’s failure to see the field against the Czech Republic on Tuesday was a bad omen for his chances to make the roster, Kreis told the Salt Lake Tribune that he was confident all along.
“In my mind, it meant that he was probably going to go," he said.
Kreis also said he believes his speedy forward could be starter material at the World Cup as a good complementary player to the more physical players of Edson Buddle or Jozy Altidore, though acknowledges that may not be the most likely scenario
"In a substitute's role, at least in our history with him, he can really change a game—really open things up for you late in the second half," Kreis said.
A couple of Findley’s Real Salt Lake teammates have been to the World Cup before and know what to expect
“It’s gonna be tough no matter what, but after the first couple of touches he should be okay,” said Andy Williams, who played in the 1998 World Cup for Jamaica.
New strike partner, Alvaro Saborio, who played in the 2006 World Cup for Costa Rica, had similar advice the speedy young Findley.
“I think he needs to just play," Saborio said. "I think he’ll have to concentrate on his performance and on his football.”
Beckerman is confident that’s exactly what Findley will do.
“His work ethic is great," Beckerman said. "He’s going to put his head down and do whatever is asked of him.”