Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Sun Rises on Day Two

The club's first day in New Zealand is in the books and day two is upon us.

Following a short training session last night, which primarily focused on letting the guys get some touches on the ball and stretching out their legs.

The highlight for those of us not participating in the session was a heading drill where teams of three and four had to move the ball from one 18-yard box to the other using only their heads. If the ball touched the ground, it was 10 pushups on the spot before collecting your ball and continuing the race.

There were a multitude of different tactics, from short headers that allowed the whole team to move together, or some guys look to spread their guys out and just hit it as high and far as possible so that the next guy could get under it... and then there was those who thought that their best chance of success was to run interference on the teams that were next to them.

Let's just say that some worked, some didn't and of the five teams that played in the two races, we had two different winners and two different losers, meaning that none of the tactics were that revolutionary.

After getting back to the hotel, the team was given the night off to get some dinner and explore the town as they saw fit.

As is customary on these kinds of trips, the staff did the exact same thing, with the entire staff, which is made up of 13 people including coaches, trainers, equipment staff, executives and support staff, grabbing a bit of Italian at a local restaurant right on the harbor. You could see the full travel day begin to take its toll on the faces of everyone as the night wore on and everyone was soon off to bed.

Other notes from yesterday included...
  • Mike Randolph celebrating his birthday upon his arrival in New Zealand. As a result of the time change and yesterday's flight, he narrowly missed out on having his birthday bypassed all together but in the end he was able to celebrate the day properly.

  • The traffic in Auckland is incredible. If you time things well then you're fine but a slight delay here or there can turn treacherous. The 20-minute drive from the airport to the hotel turned into a nearly hour-long commute, which is not the most pleasant experience when you've just gotten off a 13-hour plane ride.

  • Lastly, yesterday's training session was the first chance all of the guys had to see Mt. Smart Stadium, where we'll play on Saturday night. All of our training sessions will be held here so you'll see plenty of photos throughout the trip, but here is a quick peek at the 30,000 seat venue, which you can read more about here.

One more note about the stadium, unlike at The Home Depot Center and most MLS stadiums, the goalposts here are not light, hollow and easily moveable. These things are rock solid. In a finishing drill at the end of practice, Chris Klein hit a shot off the crossbar so hard that it rebound nearly back to midfield in the air. It looked like a goal kick!

We'll be back with more today including some videos, a look back at today's press conference featuring Bruce, David and Eddie along with representatives of the Oceania All-Stars and a look at today's training session.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for these bits of news & updates. Appreciate it. Can't wait to see videos. Need videos. Also training pics!!!

Anonymous said...

Great article, just want to know what time the trainings are happening or if there is a chance of meeting the team. I'm a new zealander and a massive fan of beckham so would love to meet him. So if anyoen could give me any details on where they might be at a certain time whether its training times or if they goign out to a certain place for dinner, that would be great

Anonymous said...

Yea i'm also interested where the trainings will be held and what times, or where beckham is going to be while he's in auckland

Anonymous said...

"He narrowly missed it". aww Lol Im glad Mike got to celebrate his birthday.