Before Giancarlo Gonzalez left for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, he and Crew rightback Josh Williams started the first 11 matches of the season together. Now that "Pipo" is featuring for the Ticos in Brazil, Williams and the rest of his Crew teammates are watching closely, and the Copley native couldn't have been prouder to see his teammate succeed against Uruguay.
"It was a great experience watching him," said Williams. "I was happy for him and I think everyone in here was happy for him. I thought he played well. He's always been a beast in the air – very physical, good passer of the ball. We were all rooting for him."
The dynamic of watching the 2014 FIFA World Cup in the Crew locker room is enhanced by the fact that so many nationalities are represented all within a tightly knit group of players. That was the case in the Ticos' dramatic opening win, as it came at the expense of Agustin Viana's Uruguay.
"We were a little torn between because obviously Viana is from Uruguay, but if you have Pipo out there playing, you're always going to root for the guy playing," said Williams. "Everybody was happy to see him, and it was awesome to see him get a W out there."
The rightback added that it was a point of pride to see a fellow Columbus defender play such a featured role on the Costa Rica defense.
"Definitely. Whenever you can see your fellow teammate in the World Cup get that exposure, it's always great, especially for someone that I play right next to. Whenever you can have success on the world stage like that, it's awesome to see."
Williams and his teammates have enjoyed watching all the matches in this tournament, adding that the friendly trash talk between the club's national representatives has made it fun.
"As soon as the guys walk in, it's starting. You have Robert [Maaskant], our Assistant Coach, he's Dutch, and he's had a big hand [in it]. I think he still talks to some of the Netherlands guys. Him and [Eric] Gehrig actually go back and forth a lot. They have a pretty heated battle with Germany and Holland there. Viana with Pipa and Argentina…you have all types of guys."
As an American, Williams has taken part in the banter as well, most recently after the dramatic 2-1 victory over Ghana.
"Obviously, the U.S. with Fifi and Ghana, everybody kind of gave him a bunch of smack talk as soon as the U.S. beat them, but that's what makes it fun. You have a tournament like this with so many countries involved and so many guys on our team from around the world, it always makes it fun for smack talk.
"To watch the games, the level has obviously been unreal. Some great goals have been scored and I think it's been an awesome tournament so far."