With kickoff against the Kansas City Wizards just a few short hours away, Chicago Fire Communications caught up with Fire defender CJ Brown as he finished some chicken and pasta in preparation for his 278th regular season match in a Fire uniform. The 12-year MLS veteran gave us the run-down of his game day schedule, what pumps him up and where his focus lies before he takes the pitch.
How long before a game do you start to get into game mode?
We will eat lunch at 1:30 and then I’ll take an hour and half to two hour nap and then take a shower. From that point on, I’m in game mode.
My normal routine is to follow the guidelines set by the team on the road. We have meetings, workouts and lunch. I then usually like to cut my hair after lunch before I shower and then the normal get on the bus stuff.
Has your routine been the same since you came into the League?
Yep. For 12 years, same food, same everything.
Do you have any superstitions or things you have to do on game day?
I like to cut my hair, I like to shave. It all depends on the mood I’m in. I like to have my chicken and pasta for lunch. Chicken, pasta, a certain amount of sleep and on the road, I like to listen to music.
What type of music do you listen to on the road to get ready?
I’m more of a rap and hip hop guy. I listen to a lot of rap, but there’s been this song…I can’t remember the name…it’s a Latin song that has been in my head since the offseason. I’ve been listening to that every game day this season.
What do you think about on the bus ride to the stadium?
For me it’s trying to stay focused on what my duties are for the day, what I should be concentrating on. I like to think of the strengths of the players I am going to play against, how do I counter their strengths and shut them down, if possible.
Do you get nervous before a game?
Yeah. 100 percent. I am probably nervous a day or two before the game.
At what point do your nerves calm down?
When the whistle blows to start the game. I am nervous all the way up until that point. If am not nervous, there is something wrong. I can’t remember a game that I wasn’t nervous, even when we’ve scrimmaged against college teams, I still have those nerves.