In the clubs inaugural season, Real Monarchs SLC got a late start on preseason, beginning camp just weeks before the start of the USL season. This year, many players stuck around Salt Lake City and worked out together throughout the off-season and now after nearly a month of official training camp, the Monarchs will embark on their first big preseason trip, going to Costa Rica for 14 days with three matches on the slate.
With a strong finish to the 2015 season that saw the Monarchs win five straight to close out the year, Head Coach Freddy Juarez is ready to take the team to new heights in 2016.
“You hope that you can build on what you started last year and take it to the next level where the guys get rewarded for the style they play,” he said. “They work so hard and they have a passion to them. I’m excited to see what they bring out after having a year under their belt.”
While in Costa Rica, the Monarchs face Santos de Guapiles on February 11, AD Carmelita on February 15 and Saprissa de Corozon on February 18. That will give Juarez a chance to assess his retooled roster, but also for the players to gauge themselves against a different type of opponent.
Seeing different styles, Juarez said, helps the team to take on new challenges throughout the course of the USL season.
Add to that the opportunity for some team-building exercises and the trip has a lot to offer to Real Monarchs.
“You really isolate them and the concentration is there for the players. It’s a different culture and a different climate. You’re challenging them more. You’re taking them away from their comfort zone. We hope that the soccer fields are great, but if they’re not, you have to deal with that. We have to deal with the different competition and a different style of play. But more importantly, the group is together and there’s camaraderie and that’s super important,” Juarez said. “Any championship team, it’s a family and they talk about how they fought for one another. That’s what you hope to accomplish when you go on these preseasons.”
The Monarchs depart for Costa Rica on Friday evening. The club opens the 2016 season on March 26 at Rio Tinto Stadium against St. Louis FC.