There are certain perks to waking up in Los Angeles. While January Camp is known to push players’ physical levels to higher ground, Wednesday’s U.S. MNT morning workout began by with a team run in the cool temps, sun, and the sand of Santa Monica.
As younger players begin each day in camp, every activity provides the opportunity to connect with guys previously only known only as rivals, come together, and start to form some valuable chemistry to take on the field.
We caught up with some of these guys to give a step-by-step recap of Wednesday’s schedule, from fitness evaluations to dinner on their own, sharing what a day in the life is like in search of their first cap with the full U.S. MNT.
8:45-9:15 a.m.: Beach jog in Santa Monica
“We went for a nice half-an-hour jog on the beach. I love Santa Monica, so it was pretty cool to just run up the beach and see all the different people doing crazy exercises. It was really nice weather in the morning, puts you in a nice good mood and chilled-out.” - Shane O’Neill, defender
9:30-10:30 a.m.: Catered breakfast in team hotel
11 a.m.: Exit team hotel to StubHub Center
“I drive with Perry Kitchen, and my roommate Dennis Flores, Oscar Sorto and Wil Trapp. We try and get down to StubHub Center early and hang out there in the locker room for a little bit. Goalkeepers go out early, about 15 minutes before everyone else, and we get to training.” – Alex Bono, goalkeeper
On the music…
“Oscar and Dennis play hip-hop music, I’m not too sure exactly who it was. We typically change it every day with different guys taking control. I listen to everything from country to house music. I’m driving the van, but I’m open to anything really.” – Perry Kitchen, defender
12-1 p.m. – Fitness Testing (1st session)
“We had three different tests; the vertical, the 30-yard dash and the shuffle sprints. It wasn’t too bad. The first session wasn’t too demanding physically, [the coaches] were just trying to get the [base] numbers. The second session with the beep test, that was definitely a lot more fitness for the coaches to see where we are at physically.” - Dillon Serna, midfielder
Colorado Rapids midfielder works his way through the shuttle run agility test.
Catered lunch in StubHub Center “Champion’s Lounge”
3-4:15 p.m. – Afternoon Training
“We started off and had the beep test and guys did really well. I thought we worked really hard. We jumped right into a passing drill after and kind of worked the soccer side after getting a little fatigued. It makes it a little more game realistic because in games it’s going to be difficult, especially at the international level, so getting your touch down when you’re tired is massively important.” - Wil Trapp, midfielder
“We went to a super good Mexican restaurant a block away. I’ve been going out with Steve Birnbaum, Gyasi Zardes, Brad Evans, Nick Rimando one night, Perry Kitchen’s been with us – a bunch of different guys. It’s cool to kind of get to know what everybody’s like because I feel like people are different on the field than what they are when you get to know them. Everybody’s been super friendly and it’s a cool group of guys.” - Tesho Akindele, forward
FC Dallas forward Tesho Akindele prepares to make a cut during the first session of fitness testing.