Late winter brings about many days like today: cold, windy and wet. Although the Revs are chomping at the bit to get outdoors and kick some grass, I’m sure every last player would opt for the Dana-Farber Igloo, er- Field House on days like today.
One week from now the club will be training on Tobacco Road in North Carolina- the light at the end of the preseason tunnel. But with five training sessions remaining before anyone touches the tarmac, Head Coach Steve Nicol made sure his players kept focus with a full two-hour, drill-heavy training session this morning.
Jog and stretch was immediately followed with soccer tennis, which, you guessed it, is tennis with a soccer ball and soccer rules. Games were broken down into one-on-ones so all players got constant ball work. Confusing if you just walked into it because there were 10 side-by-side games going on simultaneously- even the coaches mixed it up. This hands down seems to be everyone’s favorite drill.
A good sweat was broken before it was time for a passing drill. The squad broke up into 20-yard squares for long passes. The chirping echoed throughout the Field House as it was obvious the players were exercising mouths and legs. Gabriel Badilla, Edgaras Jankauskas and Mauricio Castro were once again relegated to cardio and calisthenics from the sidelines while they rehab injuries. Taylor Twellman also came up and laced up his spikes to get some running and dribbling in.
Following a quick drink, Assistant Coach Steve Myles organized a keep-away drill that spanned the width of the field. The exercise featured two five-man teams on either side of the field with two “monkeys in the middle” so to speak. The two would try to steal or deflect passes from an outer ring of players playing keep-away. Next, the keepers broke from their separate session to defend against a give and go drill. The shots were fast and direct with the keepers backed up into one-on-one matchups.
The final 20 minutes of training was dedicated to full-field 9 vs. 9. Zack Schilawski wasted little time when he tallied for the second time in as many days. A few minutes later, the score was knotted when Chris Tierney dropped a pass down the left sideline to Khano Smith who took a couple dribbles and angled a pass toward the goal. A cutting Kevin Alston found the center pass and sent it to the back of the nylon past Bobby Shuttleworth. Nico Colaluca narrowly missed a go-ahead goal when his offering sailed just above the cross bar from 17 yards out. Just before Coach Nicol blew the final whistle, Tierney dribbled down the left sideline and put a diagonal shot home from 15 yards away.
Though the Field House can be tough on joints and muscles, it provides shelter from New England’s late winter days like today. One look out the windows on the south side of the facility ensures the absence of complaints about training indoors.