Bowen on Camp, Coaches and Camaraderie

Newcomer talks about his first week at camp

One of the many Red-and-White newcomers, forward Tristan Bowen was acquired from the Galaxy last December. Bowen, who turns 20 this Sunday, may be new to Chivas USA, but thanks to some familiar faces and a welcoming team attitude, he's fitting in already.

"I spent a couple years with [Alan] Gordon in L.A., as well as Ante [Jazic]," said Bowen after a recent training session in Paso Robles. "I also knew a few guys like César [Zamora] and Gerson [Mayen] from growing up and playing club soccer. All the guys have been very welcoming."

One of the main goals of taking a preseason trip is to give the team a chance to bond and get to know each other. According to Bowen, that aspect of the trip has been a resounding success so far.

"Everybody is pretty cool," he said, when asked which teammates he has been spending time with. "Jimmy Conrad is a funny character, Sal [Zizzo] is pretty cool, all the Akron guys are good. I've really just enjoyed everyone's company so far."

Of course, the Paso Robles trip has been much more than a relaxing meet-and-greet. The fitness heavy sessions each day (and sometimes twice a day) are undeniably tough.

"It's a little different than the normal fitness that everyone is used to," Bowen explained. "We're doing lots of cuts and stuff like that, so it's really taxing on the body."

If you follow Bowen on Twitter (@TristanBowen7), you'll know exactly how he's recovering from these taxing sessions - food - lots, and lots, of food. Earlier this week he joked that he was looking for a wheelchair to roll him out of a restaurant after a particularly sizeable meal. He laughed when asked about the tweets- but eating all that food is important, and the restaurant trips are good for team bonding.

"I think one of the highlights of our days here is going out and eating," said Bowen. "We eat a lot of carbs that we need to refuel our bodies."

Traditionally, during tough fitness work, you'll see the coaches on the sidelines, checking their stopwatches or blowing whistles. But that's not the case with this Chivas USA team under new fitness coach Jim Liston. All of the coaches get involved, and it's not unusual to even see head coach Robin Fraser leading the pack through warm-ups or sprints. This lead-by-example philosophy is something that the players respect, and that the young guys like Bowen can learn from.

"I think it helps that the coaches are doing the fitness as well," he said. "They're out there dying with us."

Of all the questions we asked Tristan after a recent session, he seemed most excited to answer the ones about coach Fraser. He was effusive in his praise for the new coach and all of the assistants as well.

"Everything is positive [with Fraser]," Bowen said. "He's a great guy, really easy to talk to, down to earth. I can say that about the rest of the staff as well. They're a pleasure to be around and to work with."

The team continues to train in Paso Robles, and will conclude the nine-day trip with a friendly match against the Fresno Fuego on Tuesday. The camp is getting tough, but Bowen is staying focused. He said he has one simple goal for the preseason.

"Just to become a better all-around player," he revealed. "Last year there were some positives, but also a lot of negatives. I look to get out there everyday and see what I can do better. I just continue to push myself and I try to push the other guys as well."