Reviving the Dream: Episode 4
We are now one day from Dynamo Trials 2011. Thankfully there is no Academy training today, as I can use the day to rest after the past two training sessions. They always say that the body hurts more the second day after an intense workout, and if that’s the case, tomorrow will not be a good day.
Last night’s session was much tougher than I expected it to be. After a quick warm-up, the players were split into two groups. Group A ran sprints with U-18 head coach Scot Fraser, while group B worked on various exercises with Academy assistant coach John DeWitt. For the group that ran sprints, players started at the endline and ran 50 yards before jogging back to the starting point. They then ran 60 yards (and jogged back), 70 yards (and jogged back), 80 yards, 90 yards and 100 yards before jogging back to the beginning. After the 100-yard run, the sprints decreased in increments of 10 until the final sprint of 50 yards. In total there were 11 sprints. After the last sprint, the group did a slow jog around the field before returning to do the 11 sprints again. After group B finished their sprints, they switched with group A and the moved over to a six-station circuit with coach DeWitt. I was in the group that did the sprints second, and even now, I’m not sure if that was beneficial or not.
Each station in the circuit lasted for one minute and ranged from lunges, to ab workouts, to changing direction and sprinting short distances. After each group completed the six stations, there was a short water break before the players started the circuit over again. The second time around, each station was a similar exercise to the first circuit but with a slight variation. In total, the group with coach DeWitt completed the circuit three times. By the end of the third circuit, I had little energy left in my legs to perform the sprints with coach Fraser. Unfortunately, quitting was not an option, and I completed the circuit three times and all of the sprints, albeit a bit slower than some of the players who are in better shape than I am.
After the first hour of conditioning, the players were broken into three teams for games of 8 v. 8. I was assigned to play left back, which is not a position I am unfamiliar with, but certainly not my strongest as I am a natural right-footed player. The field was broken into three zones with three defenders in the back zone, three midfielders in the middle zone, and two forwards in the front zone. Players were only allowed to use two touches and needed to remain within their zone. If team A had the ball, one defender could move into the midfield zone to help with the attack, and if the ball moved into the forward zone, one midfielder could move forward to help them. But if another midfielder wanted to make a run into the forward zone, the original midfielder needed to get back to his original zone. Essentially only one player at a time could push forward into the zone in front of them.
Unfortunately, my team didn't fare so well, which probably had something to do with the fact that two of the three defenders (myself and a volunteer coach who played in running shoes) do not play soccer on a consistent basis. As for my own game, I thought I did all right. I made the passes I should make and missed a few of the ones that were tougher. My marking could still use some improvement, but for now I will chalk that up to just being tired by the end of the session.
Tomorrow morning I find out if all this work has paid off. The fitness portion of the tryout is at 10 a.m. at the Houston Amateur Sports Park. There are three separate drills we will have to do, and I'll go in further detail about them during my next blog. We'll also have a videographer out there so you can see what all the players have to do. Regardless of whether or not I advance to the skills portion on Sunday, we'll be sure to have a videographer at the field to show you that portion of the tryout as well.
As always, thanks for reading the blog and I really appreciate the support I have gotten along the way. Hope everyone has a good weekend and don't forget to watch the Dynamo take on Sporting KC, Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m.!