What’s up RSL fans,
This is Cole Grossman. I’ve been asked to write a recap of our recently completed trip to Arizona. Hopefully I can give you guys a glimpse of what preseason life is like.
For those of you who don’t know me (which is probably almost all of you), I am a new player with RSL. I spent the first two years of my career with the Columbus Crew and was picked by Salt Lake in the waiver draft in November. As this is my first preseason with the club, I have been really excited to meet the coaching staff and players and to start adapting to life in Salt Lake. Although it’s only been a few weeks, I’ve been really impressed with the club culture and the team’s chemistry. The returning players have been welcoming and friendly towards all of the new guys. I definitely feel fortunate to be an RSL player.
We spent the week living and training at the Casa Grande Sports Complex, which is also home base for RSL’s academy programs. Even though it is in the middle of absolutely nowhere, it’s a beautiful facility. The gym, locker room, and fields are all within walking distance of the hotel. This is really, really convenient as it reduces travel time and gave us more time to spend….well I guess everybody spends their free time doing different things. For Aaron Maund (my roommate) the excess free time offered more time to (waste) on every social networking site on the internet. For some of the staff, the free time allowed them to work on their golf games as there is a range and course next to the soccer facilities. For many of the other guys, time in between and after training is used only for sleeping. And maybe dreaming of happier times without extremely tired and sore muscles. The average player sleeps a lot in preseason. Other guys, including myself, played a fair amount of ping pong this week. There are a lot of good ping pong players on the team, but I think Robbie Findley might be the most impressive. He said that he played a lot in Nottingham, and it shows. Solid backhand, monster forehand, and big serve. Tough to beat. Carlos Salcedo and Javier Morales also showed a lot of ability with a paddle in hand. However, maybe even more dominant than Robbie was our fearless leader, Jason Kreis. Cool and calculating, he is to ping pong what Bjorn Borg must have been to tennis (I hope Jason reads this). Anyway, the ping pong action was a fun and stimulating way to spend some of the free time.
Due to the lack of anything to do in Casa Grande, it was easy for the new players to start to get to know the returners. So, even though it’s been only a week, I’ve learned a few interesting things about some of the guys.
Lalo Fernandez played for Penarol in Uruguay. Enzo Martinez comes from a family of Nacional supporters. The clubs are bitter rivals. They have some pretty funny banter about it.
Nick Rimando has more tattoos than I have hairs on my head. And he’s great guy/leader.
Yordany Alvarez’s life story is remarkable. The kind that could be made into a movie one day.
Lovel Palmer really, really didn’t like the rain in Portland.
Chris Schuler just started reading my favorite book of all time: Atlas Shrugged. And he apparently has an awesome, gigantic dog.
Sebastian Velazquez has crazy hair. And I think he said something about shaving John Stertzer’s head?
On the field, it was a tough and exciting week. The staff spent a good portion of the sessions working on individual and team defending. These ideas are challenging, but I think the team really tried to embrace them. At the end of the week, we played Denmarks under 21 side and lost 2-0. We were really bad on both sides of the ball, and the Danish kids played much better than us. However, I’m sure that that we’ll play great in our upcoming preseason games as our fitness and sharpness improves.
Thanks for reading this.
Hoping for a championship,
Continuing a Keepin’ It Real tradition, we have another insightful glimpse of life in training camp – this time through the eyes of recent acquisition Cole Grossman. Many thanks to Cole and his contribution! He did a great job of conveying the essence of life in the preseason.