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Can Team USA Win World Cup?; Jeter, Yankees Give Back with Charity; New Start for Chad "Ochocinco" Johnson

Aired June 20, 2014 - 22:30   ET



ANNOUNCER: Tonight on UNGUARDED WITH RACHEL NICHOLS, unwavering. America's soccer darlings discuss their plans to push through their next match.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have quality on this team and I wouldn't be surprised if we can go to the finals.

ANNOUNCER: Plus, the latest on the dazzling play from Mexico.

Unfinished. After nearly two decades as the face of major league baseball, Derek Jeter reveals what's looming for him in retirement.

DEREK JETER, PROFESSIONAL BASEBALL PLAYER: Well, my first plan is no plan. I've been on a schedule pretty much my entire life.

ANNOUNCER: Unusual. Apparently exiled from the NFL, the man formerly known as Ochocinco gives an exclusive tour of his new home north of the border.

CHAD JOHNSON, PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL PLAYER: This is me having to go from the bottom up. And if it has to be the CFL, so be it. Because all I want to do is play football.



Every four years, American soccer fans wonder, is this the World Cup that will make the rest of the country love the beautiful game as much as they do? Well, I think it's fair to say, this time around, they have the country's attention.

During Team USA's first game, the scene was unbelievable in Chicago, in Kansas city, in Denver, in New York. One country, united in pure joy. And I want to welcome in one of the men responsible for all that happiness. Joining us from Sao Paulo, Brazil, is starting U.S. midfielder, Alejandro Bedoya.

Welcome, Alejandro.

ALEJANDRO BEDOYA, TEAM USA MIDFIELDER: Good evening, everyone, and thanks for having me.

NICHOLS: Well, let's start with just what has it been like for you guys on Team USA since that win over Ghana?

BEDOYA: I mean, just being out there the first time and being up 1-0, 30 seconds into the game, and when that winner came in after the corner kicked the header, it was just euphoria, really. I mean, everybody was just so ecstatic. And I mean, it was just amazing, really.

NICHOLS: And what was it like afterward? You had the vice president of the United States come visit in the locker room.

BEDOYA: You know, after the game, everybody was scrambling, they were so excited, and then we got told to sit down in our places and calm down. And the vice president, Joe Biden, walks in and his family. And that was awesome. He came in, gave us a little speech, and you know, how excited he was and happy for us and, you know, it's amazing. And you know, you take the flight back home, and you know, you try to rest.

I mean, I couldn't fall asleep, really. I had so many things going through my head, running through my head of excitement and euphoria and everything.

NICHOLS: So you were born in New Jersey. You went to high school in Florida. You have friends all over the country. What kind of texts and calls and reaction have you gotten, coming back to you from the U.S.?

BEDOYA: Well, I don't even want to see what my roaming charges are right now, you know, to be honest. But obviously, I have a group chat set up with my best friends in south Florida, you know, to have them experience this with me and be able to tell people about it, and it's just memories that will last a lifetime.

NICHOLS: Absolutely. And you guys are now preparing for an even tougher task. Portugal, world soccer stud, Cristiano Ronaldo. Portugal a little beat up with injuries but still a huge force. How do you mentally prepare to go into a match like that?

BEDOYA: Obviously, they have the world's best player in Cristiano Ronaldo, and maybe they'll get some more USA viewers, you know, and the girls, you know, will be watching Ronaldo for whatever reason. But we have some good-looking guys on our team, as well.

NICHOLS: That's right, easy on the eyes.

BEDOYA: Right. I mean, it's a tough game, and you know, we obviously will improve on some things that we need to improve on since the last game against Ghana and hopefully will be able to say we can qualify for the next round.

NICHOLS: Well, we're going to talk a little later on our show about the extreme heat and humidity expected for when you guys play. I mean, back here in the states, we just saw LeBron James brought to his knees with cramping at the NBA finals because of a broken air conditioner. I mean, you cramped in the last game. Do you have to do anything special in this next game to prepare? BEDOYA: Yes, I picked up a little cramp. It's funny. I grew up

in south Florida, and the heat and humidity there is amazing. You know, it's incredible, but I always say this. I feel like I've been now in Europe for five years, you know, and they don't have this climate at all. So maybe that -- you know, that messes me up a little bit.

NICHOLS: Now, your coach made some controversial comments leading up to this World Cup. He said it's not realistic for you guys to win. But Alejandro, how far do you think that you guys can go?

BEDOYA: Yes, I mean, that's an interesting question. Soccer, for me, is the most unpredictable sport in the world, and we've already seen that, you know, at this World Cup. So many things happening, that nobody could have predicted, or else, you know, they would probably be billionaires, gambling. We have quality on this team and players that believe in each other and everything, and I wouldn't be surprised if we go to the finals.

NICHOLS: Regardless of the final result, what do you think this World Cup is going to do for that ever-present effort to make watching soccer more popular back here at home in the U.S.?

BEDOYA: Yes, yes. I mean, I was able to see the Jimmy Fallon show the other night and he made a joke about, we were able to do the impossible, you know? Not get a win against Ghana, but to get Americans watching soccer. So, you know, I mean, you just see the hype surrounding it now, and for me to be a part of it, you know, growing the sport and everything, it's just amazing.

NICHOLS: It certainly looks like an amazing thing to be in the middle of. Thank you so much. And good luck to you this weekend, Alejandro.

All right, don't you go anywhere. We have a lot more World Cup coverage coming up, and we have the captain, New York Yankees icon, Derek Jeter. An exclusive conversation about his impending retirement and giving back to the city that has given him so much.


DEREK JETER, PROFESSIONAL BASEBALL PLAYER: This is fun. If you can't enjoy this, then there's something wrong with you.



NICHOLS: I'm Rachel Nichols and welcome back to UNGUARDED, where we've been talking World Cup. And of course, soccer is a huge participation sport in the U.S., but hasn't always been popular on TV. Which has, of course, long been good fodder for comedians.


JOHN OLIVER, COMEDIAN: Now, I know, in America, soccer is something you pick your 10-year-old daughter up from. But for me and everyone else on earth, it's a little more important.


NICHOLS: Fair enough. Although after a gripping first match for the U.S. team, it could be said that America finally, officially, has World Cup fever.

Ratings are skyrocketing. And I want to bring in our own Laura Baldesarra from Rio right now.

Laura, let's spin forward here. The first match was better than going to the movies, right? How much more drama can we expect when Team USA takes the field again on Sunday?

LAURA BALDESARRA, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: The first match, Rachel, was better than any Schwarzenegger action movie from the '90s and probably a lot more physical than that, as well. It really defied everyone's expectations, by the USA actually going out there and managing a win.

But now for the USA, it becomes just a little bit harder.


BALDESARRA (voice-over): The United States is now getting set for the game that every team wanted to avoid. And it's not because of who they play, but where.

The U.S. faces Portugal in Manaus. That's the only location in the Amazon rainforest, which means not just playing in the high heat, which averages 88 degrees Fahrenheit in June, but playing in the deep humidity, which can make it feel hard to breathe for anyone, but Kyle Beckerman and Geoff Cameron, they're trying to stay positive.

KYLE BECKERMAN, USA MIDFIELDER: It's probably similar to Houston/Dallas, Midwest, East Coast in the summer, so hopefully when we get there, it won't be as shocking as it has been to some other teams.

GEOFF CAMERON, USA DEFENDER: I think the heat, it plays for both teams. So you can just wash that out.

BALDESARRA: Either way, it will be a physically grueling match for both teams, with fitness levels and conditioning certain to play a role in which side has the edge. Manaus is also a location that the U.S. had to travel far to get to, which really is the story of their World Cup group stage.

Of all 32 teams, the U.S. travels the farthest. They travel nearly 9,000 miles for the first three matches. They're based in Sao Paulo, and their first match took them nearly 3,000 miles. Then from Sao Paulo to Manaus, they flew nearly 1,700 miles, for a round trip of just over 3,300, and then it's off to Recife, another round trip of 2,600 miles.

Now, traveling with the squad, but not playing against Portugal is Jozy Altidore. He suffered a hamstring injury in their win against Ghana, and his loss is pretty big for the Americans. Altidore was expected to be the goal scorer. He had just broken out of his scoring drought and hit his form, and U.S. boss Jurgen Klinsmann had very high expectations for his striker, so now without Altidore, the U.S. will depend on Aron Johansson or Chris Wondolowski to put the U.S. on the score sheet.

No matter which striker Klinsmann chooses, defense will be key. Cristian Ronaldo is expected to play for Portugal, despite dealing with a knee injury. Ronaldo is Ronaldo, and this can guy, he can score from anywhere.

BECKERMAN: We all know it's going to take 11 of us completely focused. We're going to have to know where he's at, at all times. When we're attacking, that's when he's going to be most dangerous. Because, you know, you lose a ball, and the next thing you know, it's in the back of your net.


BALDESARRA: So the USA is, of course, looking to continue surprising us.

Something else that's been incredibly surprising is Mexico, especially because they really struggled just to qualify for the World Cup. But the way that they managed to hold Brazil to a nil-nil draw is absolutely phenomenal. A lot of that had to do with their keeper, Guillermo Ochoa. This 28-year-old, he was absolutely dazzling. And now he's turned the heads of really all the big clubs like Barcelona and AC Milan, and if he continues to perform the way that he has been, Rachel, then Mexico has a pretty bright future ahead of him.

NICHOLS: Yes. He was a brick wall in that match. I can't wait to see what he does next. Fantastic, Laura, thank you so much.

All right. A lot of teams trying to scramble out of this first group stage. There are actually nine different scenarios for Team USA in terms of their upcoming games, whether they advance. But here is the simple version. If they beat Portugal, Germany beats Ghana this weekend, the Americans have an excellent chance of moving on. So a lot of folks going to be rooting for that.

All right. We are moving on, as well, with an exclusive chat with Derek Jeter. You're going to want to stick around for this.


NICHOLS: Welcome back to UNGUARDED. I'm Rachel Nichols.

You know, there are few athletes as synonymous with their sport as Derek Jeter. Even a lot of fans who passionately root against the Yankees were upset when Jeter announced he'd be retiring at the end of this, his 20th season.

But it's not just the way that Jeter plays baseball that people are going to miss. It's his character, his leadership, and the way those qualities extend not just on the field, but off of it. too.

This week, I caught up with Derek for an exclusive chat and a look into one of the many endeavors that have made him such a big part of the community here in New York.


NICHOLS (voice-over): Derek Jeter is a 13-time all-star and a five-time World Series champion. But today, he's adding a new title to his resume: tailor.


NICHOLS: Jeter and several of his Yankee teammates are spending the day helping out at a place called Career Gear, which outfits low- income men with the suits they need to go on job interviews.


NICHOLS (on camera): Have you ever fitted anyone else for a suit before?

JETER: I haven't.

NICHOLS: I know you've been fitted for a suit plenty.

JETER: I have been fitted, but I have never fitted someone. So this was a first for me.

NICHOLS: What did you find was the best technique to use?

JETER: Just quick, estimate. You know, they can always tailor it afterwards.

NICHOLS: How much is this something that you're actually pretty invested in?

JETER: We look forward to it, you know. People are doing great things in the community. A lot of times it goes unnoticed. And for us to get an opportunity to recognize them and be a part of it, it makes us feel really good.

This is fun. If you can't enjoy this, there's something wrong with you.

You can't run. You'd have to do biceps and triceps.

NICHOLS: So this group outfits men for the next stage of their lives.

JETER: Right.

NICHOLS: You don't have any problem getting clothes. We've seen you on plenty of magazine covers and photo shoots, but you're actually about to enter a next stage of your life. Is there anything you could relate to these guys as you talk to them and hear their stories about making the transition and all the stuff that that involves?

JETER: Well -- well, one thing is that, you know, I think the better dressed you are, the better you feel about yourself, the more confidence you have. I can relate to that, because I'm a little biased when it comes to putting on the Yankee pinstripes. I feel a little bit better about myself, and I like to think it helps with confidence.

NICHOLS: You did announce, of course, in the off-season that you're retiring. You've always gotten crazy reaction in public, as long as I've known you. But just even walking around here today, the things people are saying to you, what do people just walk up on the street and say to you, now that they know you're leaving?

JETER: I think it's -- it's been overwhelming. You know, I've gotten a lot of appreciation, which makes you feel good, you know, people saying, whether it's fans or opposing players or managers or coaches, just saying that they respect the way you play the game. It makes you feel good. It's not something you think about while you're playing, but, you know, this year, it's been overwhelming.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One and two on Jeter. Maybe his last at-bat as a Yankee, at the Coliseum.

NICHOLS: You've gotten gifts everywhere you've gone to. I think people have given you pretty much pinstriped everything. What's been the oddest object that you've received?

JETER: I wouldn't say odd. You know, I think all of them have been unique. Like the paddleboard they gave me in Anaheim was pretty interesting. I don't know if I'll be too active for the first few months when I retire, but you know, I'll definitely use that. yes, I've gotten a lot of great things.

NICHOLS: Has there been a moment, a whisper of regret? "I don't know about this"?


NICHOLS: Really?

JETER: I'm very content with my decision, but at the same time, we have a few months left in the season. So I'm focused on this year.

NICHOLS: You and I talked last year about possible post- retirement plans. You talked about maybe wanting to own a team yourself one day. Now that this is all more real, are you thinking more seriously about that?

JETER: Well, my first plan is no plan. You know, I've been on a schedule pretty much my entire life, and I'd like to take some time to not make any plans. But, yes, definitely, that's my next dream, my next goal. Who knows when it will happen, but it's something that I'm setting my sights on.

NICHOLS: So first year, just be a bum, hang out. Then you may be George Steinbrenner after that?

JETER: Well, I mean, there's only one George Steinbrenner, but I'd like to be as close to him as I could.

NICHOLS: And then maybe you could own a clothing store too.

JETER: You never know.

NICHOLS: If today is any indication.

JETER: You never know. And if I do, I'll have them come back and cover it.


NICHOLS: Now you may have noticed Derek wearing a shirt there that said "HOPE Week." "HOPE" stands for "Helping Others Persevere and Excel." Yes, pretty much sounds like Derek Jeter.

All right. Coming up, a name that for a while seemed to be everywhere, Chad Ochocinco. He used to be the NFL's playful bad boy. Wait until you see where he is now.


NICHOLS: Welcome back to UNGUARDED. I'm Rachel Nichols.

Chad Johnson spent years as one of the NFL's top receivers. But honestly, how good he was at catching passes was nothing compared to how well he was at marketing himself. The man even had his name legally changed to Chad Ochocinco, a twist on his jersey number, 85.

But it's hardly been smooth sailing over the last few years, and now Chad finds himself in a very unexpected place. Take a look.


JOHNSON: I'm celebrating. I'm going to score. I'm going to score more than once.


NICHOLS (voice-over): He was a six-time pro bowl receiver who dazzled fans as much with his personality as his play.

JOHNSON: They changed the dollar bill, right? And it say, "In Chad we trust."

NICHOLS: "Dancing with the Stars".

His own iPhone app, movies, TV shows, music videos.

He even had a lavish wedding to a reality TV star.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The world premiere of the T-Ocho show. NICHOLS: There was a time Chad Ochocinco seemed to have it all.

That time is long gone. This is Sherbrooke, Quebec, where Montreal's Canadian Football League team is holding training camp. Now back to just plain old Chad Johnson, the 36-year-old is scrapping to get a job.

(on camera): What do you feel like your chances are of actually making the team?

JOHNSON: I think I'll be fine. I think I'll be fine. You know, if I didn't have it, I'd say, "You know what? I don't have it." I'm very realistic. Very realistic about it, you know?

I can still play at a high level, when the opportunity presents itself. And you know, I messed that opportunity up, that I've taken account for, that I would apologize for many times. And this is me having to go from the bottom up. And if it has to be the CFL, then so be it, because all I want to do is play football.

NICHOLS (voice-over): How Johnson messed his opportunity up is well-documented. His on-field behavior grew more outrageous over the years.

JOHNSON: I'm a one-man -- one-man everything.

NICHOLS: His off-field projects grew more distracting. Then in 2012, he was arrested for domestic battery, after his now-ex-wife reported he head-butted her during an argument. The next day, the coach of the Miami Dolphins cut him from what had been his third team in three years.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In my gut, I didn't think the fit was going to be beneficial to either party and moving forward, whether in the short-term or the long-term.

JOHNSON: He made an example. It was a good example. Not just for the team, but kids watching. That's all over, man. Just be careful about the decisions you make.

I lost two things that I love, honestly. Football and being married, being a husband.

NICHOLS: He issued multiple mea culpas. He even changed his name back to Johnson to symbolize leaving his old out-of-control persona behind. But when he was unable to find another NFL team willing to take a chance on him, he decided to broaden out his job hunt in a very modern fashion.

JOHNSON: I sent a tweet out. I sent a tweet out saying, you know what? I would love to play in Canada.

NICHOLS: He got an answer from Jim Popp, the general manager in Montreal.

JIM POPP, MONTREAL ALOUETTES GM: You know, we did a lot of background investigation with Chad about his history. He's proven that he's in great shape, very hungry, just wants to be a part of a team.

JOHNSON: Man, to be able to walk on that field again, the butterflies. It was a sigh of relief, like a weight off my shoulders. I wasn't worried about that it wasn't the NFL. It was the CFL. It didn't matter. Just the fact that I felt a part of something again was so dope.

NICHOLS: Of course, there have been adjustments. There's the language barrier.


NICHOLS: There's the unforgiving CFL turf.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That cut is nasty, man.

JOHNSON: I redid it yesterday.

NICHOLS: But Johnson is also finding advantages in being far from home.

JOHNSON: Real Cuban cigars now, for me. Heaven is Sherbrooke.

NICHOLS: And then there is the football. Johnson says that, finally, it's enough. He's even toned down the touchdown dances and antics that once made him famous.

ERIC DESLAURIERS, MONTREAL ALOUETTES: He's more reserved than I would have expected, but his game and his play has really spoken for itself.

NICHOLS (on camera): What is it? What do you love so much about this game that you've got to get back to it?

JOHNSON: Competing. Week in, week out, just competing. It's fun. And talking trash.

NICHOLS: You miss that? You miss the trash talk?

JOHNSON: Big time. Week in and week out.

You mess up, you have to deal with the consequences. I made the bed; I laid in it. Now I'm getting up. This has been a slow process of getting up, but I'm getting up.


NICHOLS: You've got to like the accountability he's taken for himself. And Chad played his first pre-season game with the Alouettes tonight.

All right. That is going to be our show for tonight. But you can follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, or visit us on the Web at Now we're about to go on a short hiatus coming up, but then we'll

be back next month with a whole new slate of episodes of UNGUARDED, where the end of the game is just the start of the story. Good night.