Today was the first day on the pitch for the team (the turf pitch to be precise) and despite the afternoon sun shining down, it was still windy and cold for those in attendance.
It is always a great feeling though regardless of the weather to see the players back at work with all the hope and spark in their eyes that a new season brings.
With piles of snow outlining the field and an occasional tumbleweed rolling by, the new coaching staff wasted no time getting down to business. Most of the first’s day session was spent in group drills focusing on first touch and passing. Mix in some conditioning, and day one is in the books.
The team will move on to two-a-day sessions on Thursday and Friday with a morning practice scheduled for Saturday.
Looking over the number of players out there today and the talent that Gary Smith has assembled in this camp, it will be very interesting to see how the next several weeks play out as we get closer to finding our 24-man regular season roster and who that starting 11 will be on March 21.
But that is looking ahead too far. Even looking ahead to Feb. 11 and the warmer weather of Ft. Lauderdale is too far ahead. There is a lot of work to be done here first and one gets the feeling that positions will be won and lost every day.
Fresh back from his stint with the U.S. National Team, we caught up with Ugo Ihemelu, who ommented on the first day of camp:
“It is a little bit of a transition coming from the 80 degree weather in Los Angeles to the cold weather here and then training on turf, but I am glad to be back. It’s good to see all the guys again and also start working towards the season with a new coaching staff seeing the direction that they are taking with the team.”
It was great to see Ugo earn another national team cap last weekend. With the Nats' next match against Mexico on Feb. 11 (which sold out in 90 minutes earlier today), could Ugo be headed back to camp with the USMNT again here soon?