Former U.S. soccer & World Cup player 'thrilled' to be in Biloxi

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - On Friday afternoon, it was hard to believe that a soccer camp was being held earlier in the day because of the inclement weather to hit the gulf coast.

Campers were at A.J. Holloway Sports Complex in Biloxi sharpening their soccer skills with the help of one of the most successful United States soccer players.

Eric Wynalda played in three different World Cups for the Americans. He's seen a lot of talent, but his first trip to south Mississippi caught him off guard a little bit.

"You see a little group of guys who are eight years old and you have to ask them a couple times, 'How old are you,'" Wynalda said. "When you see passion for the game from kids who just love to play, that really is the reason why you become a pro in the first place. I was thrilled to be here because I got a little bit of the southern hospitality but I was just really impressed with the passion of the game. The kids can play."

There's more to the southern hospitality that he mentioned. Wynalda travels quite a bit since he is a commentator for Fox Soccer Channel and technical director for the Atlanta Silverbacks in the North American Soccer League, but he understands why so many people decide to live on the coast.

"I think I want to move my family out here for maybe a year just so I can get my kids to do the 'yes, sir' thing," Wynalda said. "That would be fantastic but I love it because the kids are so polite, they listen, they want to learn and they love the game. What more could you ask for?"

I did ask him a lot of questions but there's one more that needed to be said.

"I think Germany's the better team and I think they should win [the 2014 World Cup], but the world is a funny place," Wynalda said. "That little man, Lionel Messi, deserves this thing. He led his team to the final. There's a lot of history there. Is he better than Diego Maradona? Is he the best player in the world? I think when it's all said and done, that little guy's going to be holding the trophy."

Immediately after he finished saying that, a bolt of lightning and booming thunder shook the protective overhang at the soccer complex. Whether or not that was a soccer god telling Wynalda he is in disagreement, everyone can agree that the Germany-Argentina final is going to be one for the ages.