While Real Salt Lake opened the second part of its preseason in the warm climate of the desert in Tucson, Arizona this week, the club’s USL affiliate, Real Monarchs SLC, opened a preseason camp of its own in Costa Rica.
After a long travel day on Friday night that carried into Saturday morning, the team took to the fields in Guapiles, Costa Rica, on Sunday, with Head Coach Freddy Juarez noting that the day to get acclimated on Saturday helped ensure a solid training session on Sunday.
“A little bit of fatigue, but for the most part the guys have handled it well. I think they’re acclimating,” said Juarez, who opens his second season in charge with the USL club. “I don’t even know if it was so much the travel as the heat and humidity that have affected us. They’ve adapted and I think a couple more days and we’ll be good.”
The Monarchs started training on a field adjacent to the Dole pineapple plantation in Costa Rica and, like the first team, focused most of the team’s efforts on the defensive side of the ball with offense coming later in camp.
“Our first part of preseason we focused on the defensive side and what we want to do in all thirds of the field,” Juarez said. “We will focus the rest of the time in Costa Rica on the attack.”
The team had already been entrenched in preseason preparations before the trip, but with snowy conditions in Sandy, Utah, the club went through most sessions at a local indoor facility. Now with great weather and fields at their disposal, the team is enjoying great sessions in Central America.
In addition to good times on the field, the team is also using the opportunity to grow together as a unit off the field. With some new faces in the mix and Lalo Fernandez joining camp from Real Salt Lake, the competition levels are high along with the chances to get to know each other better.
“The club supported us with this trip and it only makes us tighter with one another,” Juarez smiled. “We might get on each other’s nerves, but it’s like family. The guys are good about it and know how to handle each other.”