Scanning for an insider look at how things operate past the velvet ropes of a U.S. national team camp? Specifically, how they are operating around Jurgen Klinsmann’s ongoing January camp?
Here ‘tis. It’s a thoughtful, personal account of the team’s camp from Real Salt Lake outside back Tony Beltran, from USSoccer.com.
It is absolutely jam-packed with fantastic detail. For instance, Beltran talks about the tricky psychology of the fitness testing, particularly the VO2 max test, a real talker among the group of Americans at the Home Depot Center training site. Consensus: players who can block out the “suffocating feeling of wearing a mask” were way ahead of the game.
Throughout the long, well-considered piece, you’ll see the word “business” a lot. I know some people refer to the January process as “Camp Cupcake,” and probably don’t mean it as disparaging as it sounds. But clearly, players understand what’s at stake personally, sensing the tug of opportunity right where it counteracts the weight of what it means to their careers.
There’s something else to be gleaned by Beltran’s account, too. Here’s a guy who is “getting it” – and he is new to the international-level, a first-timer to the national team environment. Still, he sees exactly what Klinsmann is getting at here, attempting to guide this mostly young assemble through a comprehensive approach to professional betterment.
At the same time, Beltran understands that it all points to the same place:
While performance on the field is how we are ultimately judged as soccer players, what is done in between trainings and games is highly contributive to performance. In our first week of camp most of our time would be spent in the gym with our fitness coach and in daily core workouts with a Pilates instructor. Players are kept busy with multiple workouts a day, but the necessary tools to take care of ourselves as athletes are always available and first-class. The environment is extremely professional and goal-oriented.”
New York City FC has found its feet pretty well in MLS, and the club could finally be closing in on a location for its own stadium moving forward.
Newsday Sports is reporting that NYCFC is prepared to bid on land at Belmont Park as the club continues its search to find a permanent stadium for its future.
[ MORE: Which players should be up for MLS MVP honors? ]
The report also states that Belmont isn’t NYCFC’s preferred destination to play matches, with the stadium in Elmont — roughly an 18-mile distance from the club’s current venue, Yankee Stadium.
In the past, Flushing Meadows has been one of many sites discussed as a location for NYCFC to build its own venue, which would make sense given the fact that the land currently houses the New York Mets as well as the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
NYCFC has shared Yankee Stadium with MLB franchise, New York Yankees, since the MLS side entered the league in 2015.
A move to Belmont could hinge on what the New York Islanders of the NHL do moving forward as well because the hockey team is reportedly looking at options outside of the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, where they currently play.
Round two of the UEFA Champions League is back on Tuesday, and while clubs cannot book their place in the Round of 16 just yet it’s just as easy for them to put themselves out of contention.
Three Premier League sides will be action on the afternoon, including Tottenham — who has the chance to start Group H play with six points.
Meanwhile, Liverpool and Manchester City will also take the pitch in Group E and F, respectively.
The day’s biggest clash of the day though comes in Germany as Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid meet in the other Group H fixture. Dortmund will be looking for a positive result after falling to Spurs in their opening day loss in the competition.
[ MORE: Who is the most complete striker in the Premier League? ]
Here’s the full rundown of matches on Tuesday’s UCL docket.
All games kick off at 2:45 p.m. ET
Spartak Moscow vs. Liverpool
Sevilla vs. Maribor
Manchester City vs. Shakhtar Donetsk
Napoli vs. Feyenoord
Besiktas vs. Red Bull Leipzig
Monaco vs. Porto
Borussia Dortmund vs. Real Madrid
APOEL vs. Tottenham Hotspur
The New Orleans Saints will be playing a different sort of football on Sunday at historic Wembley Stadium, but the NFL franchise took in Arsenal’s match today during their trip to London.
[ MORE: PL playback — Who is the most complete striker in the PL? ]
Super Bowl-winning quarterback Drew Brees posted a picture on Instagram with several of his Saints teammates taking in the Arsenal-West Brom fixture at the Emirates Stadium six days before the NFL team plays the Miami Dolphins.
The Saints-Dolphins matchup is the second NFL game to take place in England thus far in 2017, after the Jacksonville Jaguars defeated the Baltimore Ravens, 44-7, on Sunday at Wembley.
Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe react to Arsenal’s 2-0 win over West Brom, Brighton’s 1-0 victory against Newcastle and get into a deep discussion over the plethora of strikers in the Premier League.
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