Colorado Rapids forward Omar Cummings has been training with English Premier League club Aston Villa since December 31. Today, he provides a look into his first two weeks with the Birmingham, England club.
"Well, first off, being on the plane heading to England, I was kind of two minds. One part of me wanted to be back in Jamaica hanging with my wife, and family and friends. But this was an opportunity to train and play with Aston Villa, and you just don’t say no to that – not at this stage of my career.
I didn’t get to meet the team until my third day at Villa, with them having so many games. But putting the gear on for the first time and heading to my first practice was exciting, and cold.
There are not a lot of differences in training sessions from what we do in Colorado. At the Rapids, we pretty much do the same things leading up to games. The intensity is high and there are a lot of quality footballers.
I would say I’ve been accepted pretty well at the club, from both the players and staff alike. Two players that I would say I connected with immediately were Brad Guzan and Emile Heskey.
Every player knows about MLS and many ask me questions. Some even express interest that one day they would like to play in MLS. However not very many knew that I came from the championship team.
I’ve seen one home game, which I watched from the press box with one of the Villa media personnel. I didn’t go to the reserve game but the coach did congratulate them on a job well done, and stressed their improvement in the last couple of months. (NOTE: Villa's Reserves defeated Arsenal's Reserves 10-1 earlier this week).
I’m staying in a hotel called New Hall Hotel. In fact, Arsenal just stayed here for their game against Birmingham. It’s shaped like a castle and is rumored to be haunted – so say some of the players that have stayed there before. Much of my down time involves watching football games in TV and the ‘net.
Birmingham is a city shared by two teams, Birmingham City and Aston Villa FC. I’ve taken taxis to and from practice almost every day in my two and half weeks here, and I haven't met one taxi driver that supports Birmingham - all so far have been for Villa.
I would say the best part of being here is just being in the locker room and on the practice pitch with all these amazing players, learning to be a better professional.
The worst thing – other than missing my wife and my wedding anniversary – is that I’ve been here two and a half weeks and have seen the sun once!"