Friday, October 31

Chivas USA's Jim Curtin, a Philadelphia native, celebrates Phillies victory

Chivas USA defender Jim Curtin was born and raised near Philadelphia, and even attended Villanova University, just northwest of the City of Brotherly Love. Always a passionate fan of the Philly sports teams, Curtin was thrilled to see the Philadelpha Phillies close out the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday night in the fifth game of the World Series, capturing their first MLB championship since 1980, and the city of Philadelphia’s first title in any sport since 1983.

While Philadelphia celebrates today with a parade, Curtin travels to Salt Lake City with the rest of the Chivas USA team ahead of Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals, to be played tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. PT. About to board the plane with the team, Curtin
weighed in with Dentro del Rebaño on the Phillies’ success, his recollections of his native city’s previous triumphs, and what the Red-and-White have to do to win the MLS Cup this year.

Dentro del Rebaño: How closely have you been following the Phillies run through the playoffs, and their win on Wednesday?
Jim Curtin: I went to all their games that were out here in LA, and the guy that lives next door to me that’s from Philadelphia as well, and we just took turns going to each other’s house to watch the playoff games. It was a blast. I woke up my baby and held her in front of the TV – the old cliché story – to show her, at nine months, she was part of the World Series, our first World Series in a long time.

DdR: How old were you when a Philadelphia team last won a championship? How about when the Phillies last won?
I was four years old and I remember celebrations, but I didn’t really follow that team [the NBA Champion 1983 Philadelphia 76ers]. I mean, the Sixers were in my family, but I wasn’t into it because I was only four. I was at the 1980 parade [for the last time the Phillies won the World Series] as a one-year old. My parents took me to that. Kind of ironic, I suppose, that I have about a one-year old now, and they won it again.

DdR: I bet you’re hoping she doesn’t have to wait as long as you did for the next championship?
I don’t want to be a grandfather for the next parade, I want to be able to get to one of those parades live!

DdR: As a Philadelphia native, what would you say to this Phillies team?
Thank you! That’s a team that I’ll remember forever, all those guys had a great year. I pretty much was watching every game during the course of the year, and they kind of embody the city; there’s no real superstar, or arrogant guy, it’s just a good fundamental team that’s kind of blue-collar and hardworking. I think they represent the city of Philadelphia well, and they’re a team that everyone embraced, and obviously loves now, and will remember forever.

DdR: Does the Phillies win inspire you as Chivas USA heads into the playoffs for the third straight season?
Of course. Anytime you see those celebrations after the game with the champagne and all that stuff, it’s something that I’ve been able to experience twice when I was in Chicago and there’s no better feeling. Any individual awards and all that stuff means nothing compared to a team winning a trophy at the end of the year. It’s huge.

DdR: What does the team need to do tomorrow night before Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals at Real Salt Lake?
We’ve got to come out and set the tone early. It’s going to be a physical series. I mean, you watch a game like last night like Chicago-New England, it’s not necessarily the prettiest soccer, it’s just about guys being willing to go out, stick to our game plan, and fight for the team. Obviously when you go on the road first you want to be cautious, not give up a goal, and then come home and play in front of our home fans where we know we have an advantage. The fans will get nuts behind us and make some noise, and that should be enough to push us over the edge for sure, and get us into the Western Conference Final.

Curtin, here with his wife Jen and daughter Ryan Marie, at a Phillies/Dodgers game at Chavez Ravine in August.