Ask Chicago Fire star Chris Armas
In his third year wearing the captain's armband for the Fire, Armas has been with the club since its inception and remains one of the most recognizable names in MLS. Also a regular on the U.S. Men's National Team, Armas has been named to five MLS "Best XI" teams and earned both Comeback Player of the Year and MVP honors in 2003. Thanks in part to Armas' strong play, the Fire are in the thick of the Eastern Conference race.
Chris will be fielding your questions live at 2 p.m. ET on Thursday, June 23, but you can beat the crowd and send in your queries any time before then!
The ShowGirl (9:40 AM)
Welcome to The Show! Chris Armas will be stopping by at 2 ET today. Send in your questions now (use the fields below to submit), then join me and Chris later on for all the answers!
Chris Armas (2:09 PM)
Hey everybody, it's Chris. Thanks for having me on the chat. I look forward to answering your questions.
Matt (Buffalo, NY)
I've had ACL Reconstruction on both knees, just as you have. What is your best advice for continued success(even after two huge injuries such as these)? Also, how has it changed your game/mentality?
Chris Armas (2:13 PM)
First, you have to listen to your body ... and the doctors, of course. When your knees are strong enough, your body will let you know. AND, when it's time to back off, your body will ALSO let you know. You must continue with all the strengthening exercises -- even when you are feeling better. Mentally, I'm stronger and tougher than I've ever been. These types of injuries can have that effect on us. Use your injuries as an advantage to make you hungrier and more appreciative out on the field. Good luck, Matt!
Bill in North Babylon
Chris- Is it true that you played youth soccer in North Babylon, NY ?
Chris Armas (2:14 PM)
I did not play in North Babylon. I played youth soccer in Brentwood and Bayshore ... and played a season or two in a men's league in West Babylon.
Mr.Armas since you have been on the national team would you say that you like playing an attacking style more than just a cautious "no mistake" style?
Chris Armas (2:15 PM)
I don't ever think about mistakes when I play. When I play with the national team, it's more structured and the role is more defined as a true defensive midfielder. With the Chicago Fire, I tend to have more freedom to attack, but I truly enjoy playing for both teams.
David (Iowa City, IA)
Who do you think are best new D-Mids coming up in MLS
Chris Armas (2:17 PM)
I would say, I think Sharlie Joseph from New England, although he's not new, he's a guy who is playing very well. And, I think Michael Bradley in New York is a very young player, but he's maturing at a fast pace, and doing very well.
What do you feel are the differences in the midfield when you're playing along side Jesse or Thiago? It seems the team appears much quicker and has more of a relentless attack when you are paired with Thiago.
Chris Armas (2:21 PM)
When I play with Jesse, we have a good understanding on how to deal with the other team's midfield. Playing with him makes my defensive role easier because he does more of the dirty work. On the other hand, with Thiago, he's an attack-minded player and when I find him in tiny gaps, he is quick to advance the ball forward. I also have a very good feel and understanding with Thiago. But, you're right, they are different. I still think that us three on the field at the same time can work.
Andres (Kettering Ohio)
With rookie Chris Rolfe having the second most points on the team, what are your thoughts on his play, and do you think his performance is being overshawdowed by Nate Jaqua's play?
Chris Armas (2:24 PM)
Personally, I think Chris Rolfe is one of the best, purist finishers in the country. I'm certainly not overlooking his contribution. He is a dynamic player with a great first touch and great soccer sense. Rolfe passes the ball so well, but his finishing ability around the goal is very, very special. The more he plays, the more he will score goals. I'm sure of it. He is one of my favorite new players we have on the team.
Garrett (Arlington VA)
Do you think the Fire made the right decision in trading a promsing young player like Kelly Gray away?
Chris Armas (2:26 PM)
This is one of the tough parts about our job, Garrett. Kelly wasn't in the plans as of late, as far as the coaches were concerned, but he's a player who needs to be playing. I think it was a good move for Kelly because, in San Jose, he has an opportunity that he was getting here in Chicago. Kelly has a lot of ability, and, I agree when you say that he is a bright young talent. The team has a lot of defenders, and both Kelly and the coaching staff felt it was time to move on.
Rosti (Washington DC)
First Chris, thank you for all you hard work and devotion to the USMNT, MLS and the Fire organization. You are a class guy and should serve as a model for the next generation of players in this country. Two things: 1) I read your thoughts on the new Bridgeview stadium recently and want to know how you and the organization plan to meet or exceed the atmosphere there with what is already at the HDC with the Galaxy and 2) After your playing days are over do you see yourself in a GM role, like Lalas, or in a coaching role, like Nowak? Thanks and good luck to you!
Chris Armas (2:29 PM)
Thanks Rosti. I think we have different fans from L.A., therefore, I think we'll have a different atmosphere in our stadiu. I think we have a different team than them, and a better homefield mentality. I think that will help to create another special home environment in this league. ... As far as life AFTER soccer. I do believe I will remain in the game at some level. I love being part of it so much that I think I will have to continue to some degree-- whether it's coaching or in some other aspect. Thanks again for your kind remarks. Sounds like you are a great soccer fan and the country needs more like you!
Dave (Chicago, IL)
Chris why do you think the Fire seem to keep giving up late goals near the end of each half? Is it a lack of focus or does the team seem to step down a notch after going up a goal or two?
Chris Armas (2:32 PM)
Well, I think we have shown a little immaturity at times, as a team, by giving up some of our leads. I think it is not so much physical fitness, but a mental fitness and concentration. Staying tuned in for 90 minutes is not easy and right now, we're having a few moments every game where we lose our concentration and it has cost us a few points. The good thing is that we HAVE leads, and if we can just tighten things up, we'll go from being a good team, to a great team.
Binni (Ruston, LA)
You are one of a handful of players that has been in the league since it started back in '96. What changes have you liked/disliked, and if you were the commissioner of MLS, what would you do to help the league grow not just here in the states but worldwide, also?
Chris Armas (2:37 PM)
One of the changes that I have liked is some of the new stadiums that are up ... and coming. I like the fact that in ten cities, there are teams and players that are household names now -- soccer, on the professional level, is on the map. I like the fact, now, that our league is dominated by good American players and not the international superstars that drove the league early on. I think the MLS has done a very good job of gaining respect around the world, and one reason I know that, look next month when Chelse is playing DC United and AC Milan is playing the Chicago Fire. This shows respect for our league. It's great to see American players go overseas -- such as Beasley, Bocinegra and McBride -- and not just 'hang in there' but accel in other top leagues around the world. We all have to remember that MLS is relatively young and we have made great strides. One last thing that I would like to see different in our league is a higher minimum salary for some of the young players.
Mac, Traverse City
Chris...congratulations on the Gold Cup call-up. How do you feel about getting back into the national team picture, and what are your hopes in that regard?
Chris Armas (2:39 PM)
Thank you very much, I'm very excited to be back with the team. I look forward to playing with those guys, and for US to be playing in the finals at the end of July. Ultimately , I hope to be part of the 2006 World Cup team.
John (Hartford, CT)
Hi Chirs. My question pertains the goalkeepers on the USMNT. I agree with the decision to start Kasey, as he is phenomenal. However, I am confused as to why Arena has not called up Tim Howard. You would thinkg that playing at Man U would at least warrant the no. 2 spot. Can you give us some insight? Cheers and keep up the good work!
Chris Armas (2:42 PM)
The goalkeeper situation is a good problem to have. We have four or five quality keepers in our country. Tim Howard has gotten himself to the next level, but I think Kasey has proven himself in World Cups and qualifiers, so, he has the support of the coaches. Truthfully, I don't think you can go wrong Kasey, Tim or Brad, but, the decision is up to the coaches, and I think Kasey has the intangibles that gets him the nod.
Chris Armas (2:42 PM)
I think that Kasey has answered all the questions and has shown exactly why he is the number one right now, based on the last few qualifiers with the U.S.
mick san diego ca
Who is the best holding midfielder on the current MNT? Why haven't you or Sanneh been called in?
Chris Armas (2:45 PM)
As a player, I believe in myself and I believe I should be with the National Team, but, at the same time, other guys have done well and have been given opportunity. The National Team is very competative now, but when my number is called -- as it is now for the Gold Cup -- I will try to prove that I should be the guy in the middle.
Chris Armas (2:45 PM)
Both me and Tony Sanneh will be a part of the Gold Cup team.
Hack(East Haven, CT)
Chris, do you want to stay in the MLS or would you go over seas to play in the Premiership or Serie A or something along those lines?
Chris Armas (2:46 PM)
I'm very happy in the MLS right now, but if a team was interested from England or Italy, I would definitely be interested in taking a shot at things overseas.
If it wasn't soccer,what other sport would you have played?
Chris Armas (2:48 PM)
Probably baseball, because that's the only other organized sport I played as a kid. I loved playing all sports growing up, but soccer took up most of my time.
Finish the sentence for me... If I could pplay for any franchise in the world, I would play for ____________ because _________________
Chris Armas (2:49 PM)
I would play for Real Madrid because I'd like to play next to Zidane -- my favorite palyer.
Ian (Oakland, CA)
If it wasn't soccer, and it wasn't another sport, what would you be doing?
Chris Armas (2:50 PM)
I would like to be in a position to affect and better people's lives whether it's teaching, coaching, or some other service. I'd like to work with people, and help to somehow make their lives better.
Chris Armas (2:51 PM)
Thank you so much everyone for taking the time to log on and chat with me here on ESPN.com. Thanks for all the support for soccer in our country and keep watching and keep supporting us all the way!