Back at the HDC
After a weeklong camp in Oxnard, the Goats have returned to The Home Depot Center, where the next stage of preseason has already begun. According to forward Ben Spencer, Oxnard was a good experience, but not without challenges.
“It was fun, it was good getting in a week of preseason with the guys and experiencing what a real MLS preseason is like,” said the 16-year-old Spencer. “It was the endurance phase of preseason, so morning sessions were mostly pure fitness, and then we played a little in the afternoon. It was pretty intense, but that’s what you have to do.”
One of the biggest benefits of an off-site camp is the chance for the team to spend entire days together, more than just training. According to Spencer, this aspect of Oxnard was definitely a success.
“It was good bonding,” said Spencer. “You eat every meal together and you get to know your roommates too. There are some new faces this year, so it was good to get to know everyone.”
Now back at The HDC’s Field 6, it’s time for different goals and challenges, said head coach Robin Fraser.
“The goal for [this] week is to get the team more cohesive in terms of its thoughts and how we want to attack and how we want to defend,” said Fraser. “The first two weeks we were trying to set the tone in terms of our attitude and mindset, now we’re starting to narrow our focus down, specifically to things we want to do defensively. It’ll be a work in progress, but we certainly feel like we’re taking steps forward this week.”
Another notable aspect of this week’s training is an influx of both new and returning players, creating excitement around camp as guys welcome back old teammates and meet their new ones. One of the returning players is defender Heath Pearce, who joined the team on Monday after spending January with the U.S. National Team.
“The integration back into the group has been pretty easy,” said Pearce. “I mean, there are a lot of new faces but I’m slowly learning everybody’s name. The group seems to be pretty fit already, so the level in training is high and that’s always a good thing.”
The team will have several “two-a-days” this week, training Monday through Thursday, building up to the latest test– Friday’s exhibition against FC Hasental.