Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Shrader's Spin: Captain Ramiro Still Going Strong

May 7, 2010: Captain Ramiro Still Going Strong

Fifteen seasons of Major League Soccer and a half-dozen men who played in season No. 1 remain in the league. One of them is a San Jose Earthquake, Ramiro Corrales.

And he’s playing pretty well right now. Not the fastest, not the biggest, not the youngest guy on the field. But, “He’s savvy, he gets in the right spots and he doesn’t get exposed,” coach Frank Yallop said of his 33-year-old captain.

“Not many of us left,” Corrales said of the class of ’96. “I’m blessed I’m still healthy and able to play.”

And he’s a better player than he was when he came off the campus of North Salinas High School 14 years ago with all that energy and those young legs. 

“(It’s) experience; when I was 18 I got beat more than I do now because I was so anxious to win the ball. But now I take my time, wait for the right moment to go in and close the ball down.”

The list of players Corrales has been a part of closing down this year is impressive; guys like Patrick Nyarko of Chicago, Sainey Nyassi of New England and Colorado’s Omar Cummings.  “You have to be focused and be alert,” he said. “And Bobby (Convey) has done a good job in front of me.”

Corrales spent a considerable time in the midfield the last two years, but he’s more of a natural left back, which is where he’s been for every game this season. That’s where Yallop wanted to play him all along, but put Corrales in the midfield out of necessity.  “That’s where I played the most throughout my career,” Corrales said. “I played left back for all three years I was in Norway.”

Most teams who come into Buck Shaw Stadium look at the backline and think if they’re going to expose someone with their speed, it’s Corrales. And he gets the best of them nearly every time.

“He’s frustrating to play against,” Yallop said. “He’s a good pro, and he’s making it difficult to play against. He’s playing well right now. I thought last game (a 1-0 win over Colorado) he played great.”

Corrales said he’s not really a vocal captain, but he tries to get the guys going, get them in the right frame of mind. It’s really more subtle than rah-rah, more about hard work and about a guy doing his job.

“Hopefully the young guys take notice,” he said. “And see that after 15 years I’m still working hard.”

Hard to miss that message - it’s on display at left back every night the Quakes take the field.

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