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Chris Sharpe: Massive crowds proof soccer is major US sport

It's been exciting being involved in American soccer these past few weeks. The international club games have been a fantastic thing for soccer in the USA. The crowds have been top draw and the support that each team home and abroad has received from the US public shows that soccer is flowing through the veins of the US public, and that it is a sleeping giant in this country.

Hopefully with what we've seen in Seattle - and with Philly and Vancouver coming - it is only going to grow in popularity and attract the better players and bigger crowds!!

The best thing that has come from the Seattle Sounders this season is their support. They are topping 30,000 every home game and 65,000 for their international friendlies. It has also shown the other MLS teams that there is support out there for soccer in this country and it just has to be approached in the right way.

It's an exciting time in the MLS, but the atmosphere the Seattle fans have created at home makes it the best place in the league to go and play.

There's excitement around the Colorado Rapids also.

Right now we are sitting in a good, solid spot, with 33 points left to play for we feel 40-45 points will get us into the playoffs and sitting on 27 points right now it is a very achievable task.

We must just make sure we make our stadium a very hard place to come and play - and when we go on the road, continue to pick up points. We feel we have a very solid squad this season.

I feel Gary Smith has done a great job so far this season. He has brought in a new style of play and everyone knows their roles and what we are trying to achieve both individually and collectively in these roles.

Gary has been great to me personally. He gave me another year on my contract after my injury last year, which shows he believes in me as a goalkeeper and trusts me as a player. I like very much what Gary has brought to the club and I hope we continue to move forward in the right direction under him for the rest of this season.

Jamie Smith and Facundo Diz have joined us this transfer window. Jamie is from Scotland, coming from Aberdeen and brings a wealth of experience with him having played at Celtic with our assistant manager Steve Guppy, and also in the UEFA Cup with both clubs. Jamie plays out wide on either wing and has a great engine.

Facundo is from Argentina and is a big powerful striker. I believe he is coming to us from the 2nd Division in Argentina from a team where last year he helped them gain promotion to the top league and banged in a good hatful of goals.

Both guys are great in the dressing room. No one understands the Scottish accent and Diz doesn't speak any English at all, so the English he is being taught by the lads is the running joke of the locker room right now!!

The season so far has been quite indifferent for me.

Coming into the campaign I was still rehabbing from my ankle surgery, so I spent part of my preseason getting back to full fitness. I felt by the end I was back to being fully fit, the ankle felt great and I was ready to play.

We brought Matt Pickens in the off season and he was coming off several months with the US National Team Camp, and he started off with us very well. So I have been biding my time, so to speak, as he has been playing well.

I spent some time with the reigning MLS Cup winners Columbus Crew midway through the first half of the season as they took me across there for a spell. They're a great club and a great bunch of lads.

For me, the rest of this season is going to be about keeping my head down and waiting for my chance. I am in great shape right now and feel I could step in at anytime and do a solid job. That will be my main focus from here through to December.

When the time is right I will sit down with my management and make sure my decision for next season and beyond is the best one for my footballing future and my family's future.

Some late mail!!: I've just been called in by Chivas USA for today's game against ... the Rapids! Zach Thornton suffered a thigh injury in the All Stars game against Everton leaving them with just Lance Parker available. So I've been called up by Chivas. I know I'll probably get a bit of stick from the Rapids fans - but I'm sure it'll be all good natured.

Stephen Tew
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Stephen Tew

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