There’s no question that the San Jose Earthquakes have been working hard this preseason. After arriving on Jan. 24, the players were subjected to 16 training sessions and a friendly over their first nine days before receiving their first day off on Super Bowl Sunday.
The team was right back at it on Monday morning, spending an hour at the gym before heading to the beach for sprints. After breaking for lunch, the entire contingent boarded a bus into Downtown Cancún, knowing only to wear long pants and long sleeves.
The bus turned onto a quiet, dusty alley and pulled over to the confusion of many players inside. After being asked to de-bus, the players then formed a half circle around head coach Matias Almeyda, who laid out the plan for the afternoon.
Almeyda, with no sign of joking, explained that the team resort was approximately 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) away and they would be jogging back as a group. Half of the players’ faces were in horror while the other half had their reservations about the validity of this task.
“We’ll have to cut through the jungle so be on the lookout for monkeys and crocodiles,” said Almeyda before setting off.
After getting about half a mile down the street, the team arrived at the Gotcha Sport Arena paintball field. The staff all formed one team, while the players were sorted into two teams divided by the age of 25.
The staff were able to dispatch of the elder players with relative ease (albeit with several more team members), before exiting in place of the team’s youngsters. The 25+ crew rebounded from their early defeat to win Game 2.
Anibal Godoy was one of the surprise players, showing little fear during the paint fury. His national team teammate Harold Cummings also turned heads upon discovering he had somehow climbed into a tree on the course’s jungle side. Nobody knew.
The team will have three more two-a-day training sessions, including today, before departing for Reno on Friday.