SANDY, Utah — Robbie Findley is still trying to absorb the recent whirlwind he’s been on.
From his surprise selection to Bob Bradley's roster to starting in three World Cup matches, things have moved quickly for the fourth-year forward.
“I’m still trying to realize what just happened to me,” Findley said.
In his first World Cup match against England, Findley admitted there were definitely some nerves.
“It was a good nervous feeling walking from the locker room and into the tunnel seeing [English midfielder Frank] Lampard and all those guys.”
Findley laments one thing about his World Cup experience—missing a one-on-one scoring opportunity against Ghana. He said he "should have done better with it."
However, the speedy striker doesn’t feel like that miss had much of an impact on his overall performance.
“I thought I did well," he said. "For stepping up and being able to play in the World Cup against some of the best players in the world, I think I fit in well and was up to the pace of the game.”
In addition to actually playing in a World Cup, Findley was appreciative of the entire experience.
“We didn’t get too much free time, but I enjoyed the whole thing,” he said.
Of course, when you talk about South Africa, big game wildlife comes to mind. The US team hotel was located right near a safari spot, and Findley enjoyed the fact that they were able to experience that. However, the team’s closest encounter with the wildlife came a little more unexpectedly.
“We were driving on the road up and to the right there were two big elephants," he said. "I thought they were fake at first. The cops in front of us stopped, and everyone got up and looked—and sure enough, there was a huge elephant just standing in the road.”
There were other aspects of the local South African culture that Findley felt fortunate enough to be able to experience, too.
“I had some crocodile for the first time – it was pretty good.”
Surprisingly, the Phoenix native said he regrets leaving behind his vuvuzela. He even came to appreciate the constant sound during the matches.
“During the game you block it out, but when you first come out for warm up, it’s really loud," he said. "I think it just adds to the atmosphere.”
Perhaps one of the biggest treats of the experience was meeting a few celebrities.
“We met Reggie Bush – he came in our locker room.” he said. “[Vice President Joe] Biden came in our locker room. And [former President Bill] Clinton, we met him. It lets you know how big it is when you’ve got guys of that caliber coming to support you and watch the game. It feels good.”
When asked if he plans on being in Brazil in 2014, Findley gave a big grin and a simple response.
“Sounds good to me,” he said.
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