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WWC: Blues' Naimo on three Yanks

Charlie Naimo concerns himself these days with trying to find consistent scoring from his L.A. Blues, who play in the third-tier USL Pro league and take on the Galaxy on Tuesday night in a U.S. Open Cup third-round match at Cal State Fullerton's Titan Stadium.

Naimo made his name coaching women, and he's got quite the assortment at the FIFA Women's World Cup, which began Sunday in Germany.

Three of the U.S. stars -- midfielders Heather O'Reilly, Carli Lloyd and Tobin Heath -- played for Naimo as youngsters with PDA, a New Jersey club powerhouse that employed the coach from 1997 until he relocated to L.A. three years ago.

What were they like as kids?

"They were all different," Naimo said. "Heather's the winner. Tobin's the gym rat. And Carli's the ... 'where'd you come from?' "

O'Reilly, 26, has been a fixture on the U.S. women's national team since 2002, won gold medals at the 2004 Athens and 2008 Beijing Olympics and is in her second World Cup. Lloyd, 28, first played for the Nats in 2005, scored the goal to beat Brazil for gold in Beijing, and also is in her second World Cup. Heath, 23, like O'Reilly a University of North Carolina alum, debuted in 2008 and played in Beijing, too.

Naimo's thoughts on each:

O'REILLY: "Heather was always ... to me, she's the epitome of a winner. She always brought it, every day, every training. No matter what was going on in her life, you know, steps across the line and becomes a different human. Just so competitive. ... She's an emotional leader, somebody who says it and then does it. It was just an honor to be around her, even as a kid."

HEATH: "Tobin was always the gym rat. Always with a ball, a bag of balls, practicing the newest trick. Even at PDA, she'd be up there with a bag of balls all by herself ... she's getting after it, you know? Loves the game so much."

LLOYD: "She wasn't the best player when I first met her, and I'm not taking responsibility for this, by the way, but there was one tournament we were in, the Jefferson Cup, and I'll never forget this. The ball hit her in the head so hard, and she was, like, bent over, down. And after that moment, she was Carli Lloyd like everyone [today] knows. ... I kid you not. I mean, it's a vivid memory. It's a vivid memory. She was always a good player, and after that, she was just north/south, take you on."

Naimo has coached several others in the tournament, primarily in the W-League, including Americans Lauren Cheney and Kelley O'Hara, New Zealand defender Ali Riley (who's from L.A.) and midfielder Kirsty Yallop, and Australian midfielder Collette McCallum, all with Pali Blues, the L.A. Blues' sister team.

Also on Naimo teams: English superstar Kelly Smith and Canadian goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc (both with the New Jersey Wildcats) and Brazilian star Formiga (Wildcats and Sky Blue FC). Heath played for him with Sky Blue and Pali Blues.

And add these to the list, from his time as general manager of the L.A. Sol: Brazil's Marta, Americans Shannon Boxx and Stephanie Cox, France's Camille Abily and Japan's Aya Miyama. LeBlanc also was with the Sol.