Preseason in Santa Barbara is underway, and players who joined the club late in the 2022 season now have the chance to fully integrate themselves with the team prior to the 2023 season opener.
Carlos Akapo is one of those players, arriving in San Jose last August while still rehabbing a foot injury suffered against Real Madrid during his time in La Liga. Akapo did not make an appearance in 2022 but is anxious to return to the field and be a difference maker this season. He understands the value that this preseason has for him and the importance of staying physically fit for a long season ahead.
“This season is an important one for me since I joined the club towards the end of last season and didn’t have much time to recover and adapt,” recalled Akapo. “This preseason allows me to really sink in and take on this upcoming year on a strong note. It will be a long season with other competitions throughout, so I need to prepare myself well to stay fit and healthy.”
Not only is preseason critical for preparations on the field, but it also influences the brotherhood in the locker room. After only being in SoCal for a couple of days, Akapo can already feel that togetherness happening and is looking to contribute his part.
“I think it’s great coming to Santa Barbara, and later the Coachella Invitational, because that builds team bonding. The boys are coming together,” shared the 29-year-old. “We’re trying to learn English, which is good for us, and trying to interact with the other guys. I’m really trying to learn English and build a lot of relationships.”
With Spanish being his primary language and only living in the United States for a few months, the Elche, Spain native realizes that learning English will be crucial when communicating with teammates and coaches daily.
“I think it’s very important to include those that don’t speak the language and communicate our style of play, understand each other. We’re also trying to speak more English so that we can understand each other better. And I think Luchi [Gonzalez] does a great job speaking both languages to better connect with all of us in a more personal way.”
With spirits high and good feelings all around, Akapo is focused on making the best out of preseason camp as he gets ready to step on the pitch and begin his MLS chapter with San Jose.
“I’m feeling good, looking to pick up my form here during preseason. I think I’ll be ready to go at the start of the year. I feel fully recovered from my injury last year. Right now, I’m focused on gaining rhythm during preseason and starting the season the best that I can.”