During the offseason Rapids players Tony Cascio, Andre Akpan, Chris Klute, and Martin Rivero spent 10 days training with English club, Derby County. The quartet also played for Derby's reserves in a friendly against Notts County, in which Cascio scored the first goal in a 2-0 Rams win. Following his trip, Cascio answered questions about his experience:
What did you expect from getting the chance to go to Derby County?
I just expected a different look at the game. I got over there and it was a good experience – seeing these guys and what they go through every day. They were young, which kind of surprised me, because they don’t go through the college system, so they had a few guys there that were 16 or 17. It’s so competitive over there, and everyone plays soccer growing up, so it’s a big deal when they go pro.
What was a normal day like during your time there?
We’d wake up at like 8:30, get breakfast, then they’d have a guy pick us up and training started at about 9:45. It was similar to the Rapids – we’d do a light warm-up, and then we’d just get into possession games and stuff like that. I liked the way they did it, with about an hour and a half training session that was real sharp, to the point.
You got to play in a friendly match against Notts County. What was that experience like?
It was our second day there, our legs were kind of tired, but it was fun. We weren’t on trial or anything, we were just there to get the experience, so we didn’t have any pressure.
How did the goal that you scored happen? And what was your celebration like?
Andre played me a perfect ball, just leading me into the box. The keeper went down early so I just chipped it over him, a soft little finish. Credit to Andre, he played a good ball and all I needed to do was one-time it and chip it over the goalie. It wasn’t like a big MLS game, so the guys came up and congratulated me, but I wasn’t like screaming and celebrating because I knew it wasn’t that big a deal – it was just a friendly.
What was the weather like?
I’d say that was the only negative thing about the trip! It was cold and wet most of the time, and in training we had to wear gloves and pants and everything we could to bundle up. Once you get warmed up it’s not too bad, it’s just kind of like preseason in Colorado. If anything about the trip that was bad, it was probably the weather, but I actually liked it because I’m in Arizona now and it’s 65 and sunny every day.
With the trip coming at the end of your first year as a pro, how do you look back on 2012?
Looking back now that I’m in the offseason, it was a good year but I expect to do better next year. Looking at putting up more goals, more assists, more minutes next year, and trying to get the team to the playoffs. Going to Derby was definitely a positive experience – I think that it will make me a little better, a little more well-rounded.