LD Statement: First, I would like to thank Major League Soccer for giving me the opportunity to play in front of American audiences between caps. The fans have been great and my exposure to them has proved an invaluable marketing asset for the USMNT. I made the sacrifice out of a patriotic duty to build MLS into a world-class feeder league, and I think I’ve done that. Now great Euro teams like Man U (that’s Manchester United for those of you unlucky enough not to subscribe to Fox Sports World) are recruiting our young players so that they can develop properly in a European context. It’s great for fans in Yanks Abroad forums across this country. But now it’s time to concentrate on my own development. The time has come to prove my value to fans in England. Joining Bayer Leverkusen will allow me to do that. I’ll now take your questions. Q: What will make this time around in Germany a different experience than the first one? LD: Toughness, seriousness, fortitude, dribbling around practice cones until midnight- these are the prerequisites for success in One of the Four Biggest Leagues in the World. I didn’t realize that the first time. But I have matured in the past four years, and I know I can do better this time. Q: Do you expect that the Bayer fans will have mixed feelings about taking you back? LD: Gosh, I hope not. I want to express my deepest apologies to each and every one of them for rejecting the chance to play in One of the Four Biggest Leagues in the World. Q: You’ve said in the past that missing your family was a large factor in your negative experience in Germany. Will it be this time around? LD: Absolutely not. Oh, that reminds me- Tristan was killed in a car wreck this morning. That puts her 100% completely and totally out of the picture. I meant to mention the tragedy in my opening statement. Outta sight, outta mind, I guess. Q: And your girlfriend? LD: Out of the picture, too. I won’t be bringing her to Germany. It’s a distraction. Only the occasional discreet, one-night stand to ensure that nothing unfortunate pops out of a closet. Q: Do you feel you can make it in Germany? LD: I intend to. I’m a bundle of untapped, undeveloped dynamic American potential just waiting to be unwrapped by careful European hands. I’m almost as fast as DaMarcus Beasely, and he’s black! But I’m also humble- very very humble. Did I already apologize to the Bayer fans? Q: When did you make the decision to return to Germany? LD: I think the notion struck me during the WC quarterfinals, after splitting Germany’s two best defenders down the middle for the third time. I was in awe of the talent I was in the presence of. We were very lucky, and humbled, to have outplayed them that day. Their whole team, even their bench, plays in One of the Four Biggest Leagues in the World. I was talking with Carlos Bocanegra the other day, and asked him, “Piensas que yo puedo jugar alli?” and he said, “I don’t understand a ********ing word you’re saying.” Q: Do you feel your success will open the doors to Europe for other Americans? LD: I hope so. The USMNT will never take that next step until we field an entire team of Euro-based players. Do you know how many goals Euro-based players scored for us at WC 2002? One. That’s unacceptable. We can improve on that by making sure the whole team is Euro-based. Q: Did the MLS make a serious attempt to buy you? LD: Gosh no! Do you know how many players MLS could sign and loan out to Euro clubs with $20 million? Q: Did Nike make an effort to keep you in MLS? LD: On the contrary, Nike has a plan in place to market me worldwide. And I’ve already signed endorsement contracts with Carlsburg beer and footymad.net. By the time I’m done, I will have justified American soccer…er sorry - American football - in the eyes of the whole word, especially England’s. That’s a promise.