If the players weren’t ready, they are now.
There was no easing into the start of training camp for the Quakes. Despite body clocks being three hours behind, players and staff arose from their beds at sunrise to meet at the meal room for breakfast. After a quick meal consisting of mostly eggs, fruits and vegetables, everyone returned to the rooms to grab their bicycles.
A long winding path leads from the resort down to the retrofitted driving range. Once everyone was accounted for, head coach Matias Almeyda gave a speech about staying focused and making sure the everyone knew exactly why they were here. As he did last preseason, Almeyda preferred to sit on the ground with the players as a sign of respect.
Head strength and conditioning coach Guido Bonini put the players through their paces, quickly moving from one conditioning exercise to the next. You could clearly hear Bonini shouting ‘One more!’ at the conclusion of each drill, often saying that two or three times before actually ending it, much to the players’ dismay. He finished the session by having everyone complete numerous 50-yard runs back and forth.
Following lunch and a short resting period, the team returned to training – albeit in a different setting. Now on the beach with waves crashing nearby, players were given high-intensity defensive drills, utilizing the sand to make sprints harder. Offensively, the ability to control the ball in the air was critical as the terrain made it nearly impossible to keep possession.
On the far end of the beach, goalkeeper coach Carlos Roa had his four net-minders – Daniel Vega, JT Marcinkowski, Andrew Tarbell and Matt Bersano – work on upper body strength, endurance and catching the ball at its highest point.
The squads were then broken into groups of four and given the freedom to have some fun in small-sided games before taking a short dunk in the warm water.
More to come tomorrow.