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Volume 24 No. 117
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Weekend Plans With Adidas' Ernesto Bruce: World Cup Games, Trail Runs, Grilling Out

With the World Cup now in full swing, adidas execs have been balancing professional responsibilities as a FIFA global partner with personal rooting interests and love of the game. adidas America Soccer Dir ERNESTO BRUCE was born in Santiago, Chile, and has been celebrating since Wednesday after the country’s win over Spain pushed them through to the Round of 16. adidas' U.S. HQ has been very accommodating during the tournament, even setting up a viewing lounge in the cafeteria. But Bruce was more excited to get home and enjoy the moment with his family. He has two soccer-loving kids at home -- an 8-year-old daughter and 6-year-old son -- as well as his grandmother visiting from Chile. Bruce said, “She is an avid fan. She’s in her 80s, but does not miss a game, whether it’s watching on TV or listening on the radio. She loves to support our team.”

FRIDAY FOOTY: Fridays are fun days for us. First thing when I get into the office is we have to have music playing. Music is a big part of the environment. We’ve got a lively, young group, so just to pick up the energy and celebrate the week, we always have some fun music playing. The other Friday fun activity is soccer at noon. We get a bunch of co-workers together and we have a small soccer field here at adidas and so we go out and play, rain or shine. An e-mail goes out asking who wants to play on Friday and it’s first come, first serve with about 18 people on the field. It’s great because you get a mixed bag of people from all different departments: It's a mix of ex-professional players, college players and people who have never played before and just want to kick the ball around.

FACE TO FACE: I definitely take time on Fridays after lunch to make the rounds around the village here. I go to a lot of different departments and I check in with different co-workers, with department heads, just to see how things are going for the business. But, really, more than anything, to provide positivity and energy, because our soccer business right now -- fortunately with this World Cup -- is very strong. So I go and share stories or just kind of check in with people and make sure everybody else is feeling that energy. I really pride myself on, and I think people appreciate, the fact that you go out of your way just to check in with them.

DANCING TO THE BEAT: Fridays during the summer -- our executive team is very generous -- and we have what’s called summer hours. So you get to adjust your work hours during the week in order to leave early on Fridays, and by 3:00/4:00pm PT, it’s pretty empty here. I have a hard time with that, so I tend to leave around 4:00/4:30pm at the earliest, and I go home and it’s kind of routine. I come into my house -- and like I said music is a big thing for me and my family -- so I blast some music, say "hi" to my kids and kind of just get the energy going and we have dance parities. My kids love to dance so we blast the music and my wife kind of gets mad at me because I get them all riled up. I’ve got such a diverse background that the music just depends on the mood. There’s such great music here in Oregon, a lot of local bluegrass bands. There’s a band called JACK STRAW that I love. I also love reggae, anything from BOB MARLEY and his whole family to TOOTS & THE MAYTALS. And then my kids, at school they definitely get into the hip-hop, techno, dance music. My daughter is into MADONNA so we have weird, funky Madonna dance parties.

GRILL MASTER: We don’t usually go out on Fridays just because it’s been such a long week and my wife and I are both pretty tired, so we make dinner at home. Having grown up in Chile, lived in Mexico, lived in Spain -- I’ve got a pretty healthy cookbook in my mind and in writing. We’ve also got amazing access to local food here. Oregon is unbelievable in terms of farms that are nearby. My specialty is definitely bar-b-que. I do Chilean style bar-b-que, which means you cook on coals, and not briquette coals, but actual lump wood coal. I also take my time marinating things. I cook a lot of sausages and being so close to the ocean here, a lot of salmon. I would say that salmon with some baby potatoes and veggies is our go-to. My kids eat salmon like they’re wild bears.

RUN FOREST RUN: I would love to sleep in, but my wife and kids are early risers. Then they always ask me why I’m so grumpy in the mornings. But we have pretty busy Saturdays, a lot of activities around here, a lot of outdoor activities. We live next to an amazing park called Forest Park, and it has hundreds of miles of trails. We definitely sneak out -- my wife and I trade. I’ll stay with the kids for breakfast while she goes for a trail run, and then she comes home and stays with the kids while I got off for a trail run. That is probably the most relaxing thing that we do.
PORTLAND'S HOT SPOTS: We’re fortunate that we have a lot of family in town -- my mom and dad live here, and I have three younger brothers that live in town. So on weekends, maybe on a Saturday, we’ll go out as a family and go grab sushi down the street. Or my wife and I will randomly get a babysitter and the two of us will go out to dinner. I’ve got three top favorite restaurants right now. First is a sushi spot called Bamboo Sushi. It’s a local, sustainable, harvested seafood/sushi spot that’s amazing. The other one is totally on the opposite end in that it’s more meats and sausages, called Olympic Provisions. They have amazing food and it’s a really small, quaint spot. Then my all-time favorite -- it’s probably one of the best restaurants I’ve eaten at anywhere in the world -- it’s called Paley’s Place. We sit at the bar, the owners are always there and the food is mind-blowing. The chef there has won countless awards, a James Beard Award. It’s such a lost, little place that it’s hard to find, but when you go in there, it’s mind-blowing. The go-to order is mussels and fries, and then they have an insane dessert -- a hazelnut chocolate soufflé. It’s unreal.

DAY OF REST: I do sneak in some selfish activities, mostly on Sundays. I actually sneak back into the office because it’s quiet and I tend to get a new perspective when no one’s around. I’ve got a pretty large team, and I’ve got people walking in and out of my office all the time, so I come in on Sundays for two or three hours to catch up on things and reorganize. And because of that, I then tend to sneak off for an hour after that and I go get a massage. I have a very, very amazing wife who forgives me and allows me to go to the office and then understands that that massage -- basically, I’m a new man after that.

ROOT FOR THE HOME TEAM: There’s another big World Cup game on Sunday with U.S.-Portugal. I’m originally from Chile, but I’ve lived here most of my life, my kids were born here, and so I’m definitely also rooting for the U.S. Now that they’ve gotten their first win I think they’re off to a good start so I will be definitely glued to the TV for that U.S.-Portugal game. My kids will actually sit and watch and they love to wear different jerseys, or they’re hooked on scarves now because of Timbers games. Scarves are a big deal -- you wave them around, you wear them to the game -- so when we watch games, my kids go to their rooms, they grab their scarves and wear them during the game.