PACHUCA MEXICO (Exclusive to ColoradoRapids.com) -Colorado Rapids Assistant
Coach John Murphy talks exclusively to
ColoradoRapids.com about the latest happenings from
the club's preseason trip to Pachuca Mexico in his
latest column. Check it out below!
This edition: "Hola From Mexico!"
Greetings to all of our fans from Pachuca Mexico! We are entering our sixth day here just north of Mexico City and settling in quite nicely thank you.
We are in full pre-season mode and as much as we love what we do for a living being on the road for an extended period of time can get to you. This is the time of year where you get sick of hotel food long bus rides and seeing the same faces over and over again.
Luckily being here in Mexico makes it a little bit easier. I have been on many pre-season trips abroad during my time in MLS and Pachuca by far have been the most accommodating hosts I have ever encountered.
I often recall traveling ahead of the team to Pachuca and meeting the staff and seeing the facilities for the first time. It was a true eye-opener as I was not sure what to expect beforehand. I often go a couple of days before the team arrives to make final checks of the hotel training fields and make arrangements for friendly games. It is usually a nerve wracking time because even if I identify problems in our accommodations it is a scramble to get things right before the team arrives just 48 hours later. Well after just a few hours I realized I was on a mini-vacation for 2 days as there was nothing to worry about!
The Director of Futbol for Pachuca Andres Fassi is one of the most respected figures in the world of soccer and for good reason. He and his entire staff are committed to excellence in everything they do. From running a quality hotel and convention center to their own television station and sports university and finally a youth academy and training center they make these entities the foundation of the Pachuca Futbol Club current South American Cup Champions.
It cannot get more convenient for the Rapids as we stay at the official Pachuca hotel eat our meals in their convention hall and travel just 10 minutes up the road to work at their training center.
One of the benefits of traveling abroad with the team is to get a feel of how particular clubs run their operation. With Pachuca you get a "Family First" feel in how open their training center is to the general public and how the passionate and loyal support is represented by fans of both genders and all ages. I enjoy just sitting in the grass at the training center watching the first team train while on nearby fields youth teams are playing university students are participating in an outdoor class and regular people are walking the grounds to stretch their legs.
Everyone out here is respectful and friendly to us. The local kids ask for pictures and autographs after every one of our sessions and the local media is often on hand for regular interviews of the Rapids players and coaches. It is my hope that Dick’s Sporting Goods Park develops the same atmosphere as we open our doors to foreign teams grow our youth academy and increase our connections to the local communities.
Training here so far has gone very well. Our two weeks in Denver were beneficial but it is difficult to be as intense as you would like when you are indoors most of the time. With that in mind I still felt that we built a solid fitness base during that period and we sharpened up the touches on the ball with some technical work and small-sided games. However after just a week or so in Colorado everyone was fed up with being inside on the sports turf and pretty sore.
But nothing beats training on grass with the sun on your back. Once we let the boys loose on the field here the smiles were back on their faces and the energy level was way up. The sessions have been conducted with a great deal of enthusiasm from the players and it is enjoyable as a coach to watch the returning players interact and connect with the new group. Players like Terry Cooke Matt Jordan and Clint Mathis have been great with the young boys by passing on advice on the fly in training or later at a team meal. It reconfirms a favorite philosophy of mine that rookies can learn as much from a good player as they can from a good coach.
Most of the Rapids' returning players came back in reasonable shape but they have been pushed by a very fit rookie class. (It’s nice to be young huh?) Nick LaBrocca John DiRaimondo and Kosuke Kimura have all blended in well and with Nico Colaluca returning from U-23 duty the young boys are adding quite a bit.
Our new fitness coach Hector Ifran has slowly been implementing his training methods and Leo Percovich is putting the keepers through their paces while Fernando and I have been overseeing the team training sessions. So far so good.
We played a sixty minute inner-squad scrimmage on Saturday with the Blues beating the Oranges 4-0. Clint Mathis had two goals while John DiRaimondo and Jovan Kirovski scored one each. This was a good test for the 22 players to get two-thirds of a match under their belt as we starting building towards April 7.
The ball and player movement were relatively sharp some good performances overall but still much to work on. It is normal at this time of year and it requires patience and vision from the coaching staff as we work on getting the group more cohesive while making decisions on trialists in for a three or four day evaluation.
We also just played our first official friendly of the pre-season with a 5-1 victory over a local university side. The game was split into three 30-minute periods and gave all of our core player 30 minutes and some of our younger guys 60 minutes. Herculez Gomez and Omar Cummings combined well up front with Roberto Brown and Mike Petke putting in good efforts as well to score some goals.
The team had the afternoon off to recover and we were off to a local restaurant for a nice meal on the town. It is important to balance the work with quality down time for the players' bodies to recovery properly. It is a long pre-season and everything takes time. However despite enjoying the meal in the back of all the players' mind was the double session planned for the next day. Well it can’t be all fun and games can it??
That’s all for now. All of us are looking forward to moving into our new home at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park when we return the first week of March and seeing all of our fans at our first game on April 7. It is my hope that the soccer fans of our region embrace this amazing facility and support our team as we push to improve upon last year’s finish.
My next installment will be from Valencia Spain as I continue my quest for the world’s best paella. Talk to you soon!
Rapids Assistant Coach John Murphy writes his "Murphy's Law" column exclusively for ColoradoRapids.com. Check back to the website for future installments in the