Amidst the training and preparation, the players will also be involved in a friendly competition that will happen throughout the stay in Hawaii. The coaches split the 28 players into four teams of seven - led by Pablo Mastroeni, Matt Pickens, Drew Moor, and Jeff Larentowicz, respectively. We don't yet know all the rules, but we know they'll be challenged on and off the field in fun exercises and activities, with the winners of each event gaining points.
After today's scrimmage and practice, the coached came up with this race: each team member had to head a ball backwards to a teammate, and so on. The team that made it to the end of the field without the ball hitting the ground was the winner. They had a few minutes to figure out their strategy, which for some was a matter of order.
Drew's team made it down on the first try, Pablo's team finished second. And after a number of re-starts (when the ball hit the ground), Jeff's team came in third. Unfortunately for Matt, they didn't even need to continue trying to finish.
With one camera we had to choose which team to follow. I liked Pablo's team's strategy, so I chose them and missed the winning race. So even though we missed it, we figured we might as well show the footage we got:
After the team completed their first training session in Hawaii, the schedule showed the afternoon was off - no training. But at lunch, the learned it was only off from a full training session. The guys that are playing in the scrimmage on Tuesday had a video session with the coaching staff, and the rest of the guys went for a gym workout. Still, they were all done by around 4:30, which gave them plenty of time to have some fun on the beach right in front of the hotel.
It started out just laying on the beach, but soon they got to digging. Davy Armstrong (above), Quincy Amarikwa, and Joel Helmick used their sandals to made the pit, then Davy volunteered to be the first one in. Soon, Ross LaBauex and Andre Akpan began pushing the sand on top, then Tony Cascio and Steven Emery. In no time, Davy was covered by 2-3 feet of sand, but he was easily able to get out.
So now the challenge was making it more difficult for the next person. Quincy begins digging closer to the ocean, where the water would weigh the sand down.
Now is was Tony's turn, sitting in the pit as the guys used their legs, arms, and sandals to cover him up. It worked, Tony couldn't move, needing their help to get out. CLICK HERE FOR MORE PICS
It took a little while, but the 2011 year-end award winners finally received their trophies last night.
Wells Thompson - Humanitarian of the Year, Drew Moor - Defender of the Year, and Jeff Larentowicz - Golden Boot winner and Most Valuable Player, were given their awards at the Rookie Season Ticket Holder Orientation on Wednesday evening in the press level of Dick's Sporting Goods Park. The players then stuck around for an informal forum, displaying a more personal (and funny) side than fans may know from seeing them on the field.
Wells talked about getting married in the offseason, saying how his friend bluntly told him he couldn't believe he found a women that said yes...Jeff said he was ok with Kosuke wanting to be a Ginger Ninja, 'now there can be two of us.' And Drew showed the large gathering of fans why he's the Ironman by standing up from behind to let them see his 165-pound small frame, and also by flexing.
The players then also talked briefly about their seasons and their successes. Wells may have taken the spotlight, however, by telling a story of his rookie year, when some senior players put Icy Hot in his underwear and tshirts, and his reaction when he put them both on. But that wasn't it, he also told the fans about the chickens and ducks he raises, including one that looks like the Aflac duck.
The players enjoyed the night, and we hope all the first and second-year season tickets did also. We look forward to seeing everyone at the games all year!
Yesterday we posted the news that Mexican forward Daniel Frias joined the Rapids preseason camp. For some reason his name had a familiar ring to it. Upon googling him, I came across his story - and photos, and videos, and more stories.
His full name is Julio Daniel Frias Adema. He goes by Daniel Frias, but he's also often referred to as "El Maleno," which Oscar Pareja tells me it roughly translates as "The neighborhood guy."
He's somewhat of a legend in Cuidad Juarez (Mexico), the place where he was born and name of the team on which he debuted in the Mexican First Division at age 29. Previously, he played in El Paso, Texas. THIS STORY IN THE EL PASO TIMES is about his journey from the minor leagues of U.S. soccer, to the top division in Mexico.
But that doesn't tell his full story - the reason behind the support he's received from his hometown. Frias had a troubled youth which included violence and drugs - in a city still known for such issues. But thanks to soccer, he straightened himself out, making his pro debut at 20-year-old (lower division). He's been greatful for the support he's received and opportunities he's been presented with ever since. HERE'S MORE OF HIS STORY IN ESTO (SPANISH)
Twenty-nine is thought to be an 'old' age for a player to finally make a top division. But his story goes even futher. After Juarez was relegated, he signed with Jaguares and last year (April 2011) he scored a goal in the prestigious Copa Libertadores. (Google his name for more info and highlights)
Jeff Larentowicz may be the original Ginger Ninja, but it's looking like he might have some competition. Kosuke Kimura returned from the California portion of preseason with red hair, though that was not his intention...he explains in the video below:
After the bus ride from Oxnard to San Luis Obispo, Ian Joyce, Matt Pickens, Wells Thompson, and Drew Moor went out for a walk to stretch their legs.
As they strolled into town, they saw a fire truck that was about to leave a call they just made. Ian and the guys said hi to the firemen and started asking them questions, and the crew obliged. Next thing he knew, Ian was on top of the fire truck learning how they assist steering the vehicle from the back of the ladder.
"It was awesome," Ian wrote in an email. "I was like a kid in a candy shop. I've always loved fire trucks and respected the firemen's line of duty!"
Not sure if the pun was intended, but Ian also says they came across a vintage 70's style candy shop with old school pop bottles and candy cigarettes.
(Wells tweeted the pic of Ian inside the truck, Drew tweeted the candy store pic, and Ian emailed us the pic from above the truck..
We saw this story posted on MLSsoccer.com's morning Kick Off article. It's a story posted on MLSReserves.com of a kid who's kindness and passion for the sport has touched countless of MLS players, including the Rapids' own Brian Mullan.
Evan, 10, met Brian when he was playing in Houston with the Dynamo. Allow yourself some time to read how Evan has positively affected by the players he's met, and how his own battles with countless surgeries has also inspired so many players in the League: READ THE FULL STORY.
The team today held a final training session at Oxnard College before packing up and moving north. They'll play the San Jose Earthquakes on Friday night at Cal-Poly University at 7 pm MT. By the way, the 'Quakes PR / Digital team is looking into the possibility of a live stream of the game, we'll keep you posted).
It looks like Drew Moor is taking a pic of Wells Thompson while he's tweeting his photo...
— Drew Moor (@drewmoor) February 9, 2012
On the road again headed to San Luis Obispo. Ain't bad scenery at all! twitter.com/WellsThompson/…
— Wells Thompson (@WellsThompson) February 9, 2012