Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Training News

Today's training weather left little doubt what winter means in this part of the country. Starting the session at 5:30 p.m., the first bag of equipment off the bus contained the jackets, hats and gloves, and with good reason. Temperatures dipped into the mid 30's during the hour-long session, which consisted of the usual pre-game work on team shape and re-starts. Reaching the semifinals of a tournament means one addition to the end of the session - practicing penalties. All 22 players participated, including team captain Carlos Bocanegra, who continues his progression towards full fitness.

There was no wasting time when the coaches signaled the end of training - it may be one of the fastest departures from the stadium.

Speaking of, today's venue was Seida Ramobodu Stadium, the home of Bloemfontein Celtic. Oh yes, that kind of Celtic, straight down to the hoops on the uniform. We tried desperately to get Beas to put on a jersey or wear a scarf, but the veteran is a little too crafty for that.

Regarded as having some of the most passionate fans in South Africa, they were equally passionate about hosting the U.S. team today. Thanks for a great experience. Now if you could just do something about the weather ...

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