Real Salt Lake entered its third day of preseason training on Wednesday with sights set on a long and tedious workday.
After a nearly two-hour training sessions where the coaching staff split the team up into four groups for a small-sided competition, the team immediately began preparing for its annual media day. The team of Zac MacMath, Michael Wetungu, Aaron Herrera, Marcelo Silva, Pablo Ruiz, Kyle Beckerman and Corey Baird topped the team competition for the day with victories over the blue, pink and gray teams.
Media day consisted of photos, videos and media availability for both the internal RSL media team and external news outlets. Each player that was in market and involved in preseason made their rounds through Media Day and enjoyed spending time with the marketing and digital teams at the club.
The team’s morning sessions opened with small-sided games after a thorough warm-up. The teams then broke into two teams for a full-field tactical session with the groups evened out for specific positions. In a scrimmage style match, when the field was opened up into the full-sided match, it allowed the coaching staff to evaluate various positions throughout the team.
RSL Academy Invitees
During the first session on Wednesday, multiple RSL Academy members participated fully in training. Led by U-19 striker Chris Garcia, the players gained valuable experience throughout the morning from playing among the MLS members.
The MLS preseason provides clubs like RSL – who are committed to developing its players – ample opportunity to involve the younger generation of players at the highest level.
“It has been great training with the first team through the first few days of preseason,” Garcia said after Wednesday’s afternoon session. “My biggest takeaway from playing with the pros is the speed of play and the counter movements of the guys. That’s something I’m really trying to put into my game and translate into training and games at the Academy level. Overall it’s been a great experience and it’s helped me get better as a player.”
As Training Days Continue
Even though the team is just four days removed from the commencement of the 2020 preseason, the sports science team is already laser-focused on player recovery so that the team can not only remain healthy, but so each player can get the most out of each session. Needless to say, during double-training days recovery is of the utmost importance. According to Head Coach Freddy Juarez, double days aren’t meant to over work the players, but rather to add depth to the principals the staff is trying to instill.
“It isn’t about trying to run the guys into the ground during two-a-days,” Juarez explained. “It’s more about being able to stay sharp and healthy and commit to implementing principals on both sides of the ball. During the first session we work on something then in the second session it’s about building on that.”
Juarez also welcomed Assistant Coach Tyrone Marshall into camp on Thursday morning for the first time in 2020. Marshall returned on Wednesday from his coaching course in Florida that forced him out of the first three days of preseason training.
Real Salt Lake returns to the field at Zions Bank Training Center for one training session on Friday as the countdown to the opening of the 25th season in Major League Soccer continues.
The team will train in Herriman through Saturday afternoon before departing for the second leg of camp in Phoenix, Arizona.