After a full night of rest, we got some breakfast in our systems and were off to the Wide World of Sports rolling three-deep in a convoy of 12 passenger vans. For those of you that have never been to Disney’s Wide World of Sports, it’s definitely a site to behold. Besides the popular youth soccer tournament in late December, the sprawling 220-acre complex plays host to a variety of national competitions in baseball, softball, gymnastics, basketball, roller hockey, tennis and track and field. There always seems to be a new expansion to the complex with each visit.
Kickoff was set for 11. We had only 3 field players on the bench, so we knew this outing would provide a good opportunity to get some match-fitness for most. And in terms of fitness, this game definitely served its purpose. At times it was choppy, other times we were able to string a few good sequences together. We headed into the break leading 2-1, thanks to a first half brace by Pedro. They converted their first goal from the penalty spot after we were adjudged to have disrupted the flight of the ball with an outstretched hand, however, it was definitely a case of ball to hand in the general opinion of everyone in red! Kristian made a number of big saves, and Baba was nearly successful in trying to make his best Jeff Agoos impression.
We started the second half with great build-up play and a chance on goal after a nice header from soon to be birthday boy Kyle, but his attempt was denied by the goalie’s best friend…the post. We had a couple more good opportunities on goal, but SKC’s Claudio Bieler ultimately made his presence felt with a second half brace and assist to end the game at 4-2.
After team lunch at Panera and the 45 minute trek back to the hotel, we made it back in time to watch the Chelsea v Galatasaray Champions League fixture. Kind of mixed emotions to see Drogba on the field but not in a Chelsea shirt. 1-1 result definitely favors the Blues heading into the return leg, but you never know with it being Didier’s return to the Bridge.
We are back on the campus of UCF tomorrow afternoon for team training. After some hard minutes today, some guys logging a full 90, there’s no doubt the legs will be feeling a little hungover. It’s important to work out the lactic acid and get some more touches and movement in despite this, though. Thankfully, we have a trainer on board with us from Community Health, as well as a strength/fitness coach to take us through recovery pieces.
Check in with you all soon!
It seems like just yesterday we were landing in cold, rainy Indianapolis after a great two weeks in Arizona. Just in time, with single digit temps on the way, we were back in Indianapolis International Airport getting ready for a week in Orlando. As many sports fans know, all eyes have been on Indy this week for the NFL combine. Apparently it was a big travel day for some of those involved as it led to the spotting of current Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh and former NFL head coach Steve Mariucci.
Speaking of Baltimore, that is where our plane was coming from this morning before picking us up on its way to Florida. As you can imagine Baltimore has had similar weather to Indy and our plane was delayed about an hour and a half. Some euchre, music and Netflix helped pass the time and soon enough we were landing in warm and beautiful Orlando.
Apart from a travel day, today was special for Indy Eleven with the announcement of three new signings: Jon Dawson (GK), Chris Estridge (D) and Andrew Stone (D). The flight delays pushed our schedule back a bit, and there was a quick turnaround for training when we arrived to our hotel. Our training base for the week will be at the athletic complex of the University of Central Florida. With only 50 or so minutes of light to work with, we managed to get the travel out of our legs with a few passing and possession drills after a functional warmup. Many people will take the time after dinner to make sure their bodies are feeling good for our first scrimmage tomorrow; we will once again face Sporting KC at the Disney Wide World of Sports complex. They are only two weeks from their season’s opener, so it will be a nice opportunity to face a team that’s just about peaking in their preparations.
Check back tomorrow for more details about the game and what we are up to in Orlando. In the meantime, enjoy pictures from today below:
It’s been a busy week for the boys in blue and red. After the weekend off we began training diligently in the mornings at a nice indoor facility on the Northside. Even though the temperature has been up, there has been too much snow to get things going outside. We had some fun at training to finish the week, splitting up for an in-house 3v3 tourney. Competitiveness is never lacking in this group, especially when bragging rights are on the line. Directly following practice we headed to Force Barbell for a gym workout put on by our new strength coach, Tyler. It was a great way to end what has been a physical week of training heading into the weekend.
This morning the team met at Community Health for our physical screening evaluations. The Community Health team was awesome in their efficiency in getting guys to different stations for a smooth-sailing process. Training picks up again Monday before heading to Orlando on Tuesday!
Off the field, we have been out and about throughout the city. On Tuesday, Don, Chris and myself (Baba) visited middle-schoolers at Fall Creek Academy, where my mom teaches. We talked with them about being respectful and hardworking, pursuing your dreams and passions, the importance of a backup plan and finally fielded questions about our experience as pro athletes. True to their Hoosier roots, I would say around 80% of the group had professional basketball playing aspirations when prompted about their ideal jobs.
Kyle Hyland and I (Nate) partnered up on Wednesday evening at Holy Cross Elementary school to take part in their Health and Fitness week. Two mini goals were set up and kids were free to play soccer and hang out with Kyle and me. Everyone, including the two of us, had a blast playing around with the kids. Team Operations Manager, Hugo, even stepped on the pitch to challenge the rascals. All-in-all it was a fun evening, spreading the Indy Eleven word and getting kids active.
Tonight, I (Baba), will be attending the Adult Swim event at the Children’s Museum. I didn’t go to last year’s edition and am relieved to hear that it has nothing to do with actual swimming. From what I hear, the number one rated museum in the country is transformed for one night into a more mature theme, allowing adults to release their inner youth. I will cap off this week of activities by joining none other than Brasilian sensation Pedro Mendes at the Feijoada Dinner tomorrow at the Atherton Union, hosted by Partners of the Americas. Mmmm it will be so yummy.
We will check in with you all next week!
PS- Chelsea is still looking good on top
Although we substituted 75 degrees and sunny for 20 degrees and snowy, it’s always nice to be back home. A painless connection in Denver had us landing into Indianapolis on Thursday evening, welcomed by a clear night sky. Things seemed to be picking up where we left them two weeks ago, with another couple of inches falling on Friday. We trust everyone enjoyed their Valentine’s Day <3 <3 <3
We will resume training, conduct physicals and other fun stuff here in Indy next week starting Monday, and gear up towards our next preseason trip to Orlando that kicks off the following week.
We want to take this time to thank those who followed along with us during our first trip; the feedback and support we received in Arizona was tremendous, and we look forward to keeping you all abreast of Indy Eleven happenings as the season progresses. Whether you were a committed follower or just found us, we would love to hear what you want to see more of, or other ideas you have. Feel free to leave a comment, suggestion, or anything else you think we could do to improve the site.
In addition to our Indy Eleven coverage, we are working on developing the other aspects of the site, including GK training/tutoring services, videos + other St. Vincent Sports Performance features and more. We have a passion to be mentors, tutors and role models for Indy’s youth; if you have kids or know of any who would be interested, please don’t hesitate to contact us on our “Tutoring/Mentoring” page so we can get the ball rolling. Please keep checking back for updates!
-Nate and Baba
Alas, the transition to Tucson is complete; we arrived to the Desert Diamond Hotel and Casino complex midday Monday. We settled into our rooms before a Coach Regan pool workout after a tough morning session. In terms of setting, we are conveniently located across the street from the fighter jet runway of the Tucson Airport. Exiting from the freeway, the last thing you’d expect to see was a massive complex like ours. The road leading into our hotel literally came from a stretch of desert nothingness. Our hotel features many amenities and services, and we are quite comfortable. Juxtaposed to the soccer-specific offerings at Casa Grande, one would deduce that Desert Diamond appeals more to our touristy inclinations.
Our training facility here in Tucson is the beautiful Kino Sports Complex. We are somewhat familiar with it already from the scrimmage against Sporting KC. Just when we thought the training fields at Grande Sports World were perfect, Kino raised the bar another notch. This morning’s session was competitive and fun. One of the assistant coaches took us through an entertaining warm-up activity that was a variation of the game many of you at home know as “tag”. This was a good way for us to really get the system going for the session while having a laugh. Congratulations to Walter Ramirez and Chris Wey on being “it” the most! To end the training session, two small fields with big goals on each end were set up next to one another for a four team round-robin 5v5+keepers tournament. The two teams with the most points after playing everyone faced off in the finals. Overall, it was a great session to end on leading into the scrimmage against the Portland Timbers tomorrow evening. Now it’s time for some R&R before another afternoon pool session with Coach Regan.
Getting back into our player interview series, take a look at our Q&A with defender (and unfortunate Manchester United supporter) Kyle Hyland below:
Today was a fairly straightforward day as we got back into our 2-a-day rhythm, training once in the morning and again in the afternoon. Both sessions were intense and competitive as guys were beginning to get their legs back after the day off yesterday.
As the past 9 days have been filled with various training sessions and games, the playing has invariably taken its toll on the body. One of the most important parts of training, the recovery aspect, takes place off the field and is usually not as well recognized. There are plenty of ways a player can be proactive to keep themselves feeling as fresh as possible come each session. Pre-training activities usually include:
- rolling sore muscles out on firm foam rollers in order to break up lactic acid in the muscles
- some guys like to get a quick “icy-hot” massage on a sore hamstring or quad from the trainer before going out
- others like to warm up on the stationary bike or with glute band exercises
Warming up and cooling down is a must before and after training for injury and soreness prevention. To aid in this recovery process, a popular activity for players directly after training is to go for a plunge in the readily available cold tubs. At first glance these small outdoor tubs can be mistaken for a standard in-ground hot tub. NOT SO FAST! A quick toe-in-the-water test will have you quickly reevaluating your current life situation. The colder of the two tubs sits in the low to mid 50′s (maybe even high 40s!) at all times. A “quick” 10 minute dip has the legs feeling like new again.
*For more training tips, browse the videos under our “General Training” page under the Footy Corner tab.*
Looking forward, tomorrow is our last morning session here in Casa Grande before we pack up and make our way to Tucson. It has been a great week plus here. We’ve trained hard, progressed individually and as a team, bonded and had some fun along the way. Additionally, with the meals or simply in passing, the staff here at Grande Sports World has been more than accommodating.
We’ll check back in with you all in Tucson!
Being in Tucson for the Sporting KC scrimmage (find full recap here) allowed us to see a different part of Arizona post-game. On the way back to Casa Grande, we stopped off in a nice outdoor shopping area for dinner and relaxation. It was nice to be back in civilization and around other people for a couple of hours. Both of yours truly found a Mexican restaurant called Blanco, where the two of us indulged in chicken burritos, and of course, chips and salsa. It couldn’t have been better timing because the Pacers were battling it out with the Blazers on ESPN. We had perfect seats in front of the bar TV to watch their nail-biting comeback victory. To celebrate, we made a quick pit-stop at a Frost Gelato where we ran into our buddy A.J. Corrado. A.J. is a fellow Zionsville graduate, IU alum, and was recently drafted by the San Jose Earthquakes of the MLS.
Due to having two tough games in three days, today was a light session. The morning consisted of the inaugural Indy Eleven soccer tennis tournament. Teams of three competed across four courts and eventually a champion was crowned. For whatever reason the coaches thought it would be a good idea to put two goalkeepers (Nate and Kristian) and the kit manager (Sam Tubb) on the same team. This is clearly not fair, but being the good sports they are, none of the other players filed complaints prior to the tournament commencing. Things played out as you would expect and the dream team brought home the trophy. Great start to the day!
There was no afternoon session so the team had the rest of the day off. Some guys chose to relax inside while others took advantage of a gorgeous day by hitting the driving range or taking on the full 18. The group was back together for dinner and then competition broke out once more, this time in the form of ping pong. A few guys on the team have some serious talent in this sport, Baba included.
Tomorrow we are back in full swing with morning and afternoon sessions. Our time in Casa Grande is coming to a close with tomorrow being our last full day here before we make the transition to Tucson.
**Sidenote- our deepest condolences to all the Arsenal fans out there… pretty brutal scoreline. Chelsea is top of the table!**
With one week remaining until we return to Indy, Thursday served as a feel good/ recovery day. Seattle Sounders came down to Casa Grande to play the Whitecaps in the morning; we had a team walk before watching a part of that game. Many people opted for a 15-30 minute massage to work out some kinks and sore spots in this morning window as well.
After lunch, we had another one of Coach Regan’s now infamous hydrotherapy sessions in the pool. The water was probably the warmest it has been since we’ve been here, which isn’t saying much. We had the rest of the afternoon off to get our legs back, so some people got off their feet completely while others engaged in active recovery at the workout facility. In this free time, I (Baba) went to the little restaurant on site to indulge in the Grande Melt that I have hyped up to the guys all trip (I had been to Grande Sports World once before a few years back). To the unworthy, it’s just a grilled-cheese sandwich, but it’s much more than that. It’s four of the most perfect french baguettes toasted with just the right amount of garlic and butter stuffed with a heavenly mixture of melted cheese, and complemented by a tomato bisque sent from above. Highly recommended for the next time you visit Casa Grande.
Most everyone played 45 minutes in Wednesday’s scrimmage versus Vancouver, so we will look to increase game fitness in today’s 120 minute game versus Sporting KC down in Tucson. Make sure to follow the game on Indy’s new gameday Twitterfeed, Indy Eleven Live, at 4pm Eastern.
The day started with a light morning session to get the legs moving, some touches on the ball and a quick overview of set pieces. Guys got into their pre-game routines for the afternoon scrimmage.
For specifics on the game, here is a recap from the Indy eleven site. From our perspective, it was a good showing for the group and the game was a great building block for our continued development as a cohesive unit. Vancouver was a good side, and the pace of the game was high throughout as both teams attempted to settle in. Goals by (previous blog celebs) Pedro Mendez and Don Smart saw us take the lead after being down initially. It never feels good to lose, but at the end of the day it was a step forward for Indy Eleven as a club and organization. We are one game better and more experienced, and looking forward to the next contest Friday vs. Sporting KC.
Stay tuned, we are hoping to have some action photos from the game up on the blog tomorrow*.
*Updated 2/6. Photos thanks to Mr. Sprenkel: http://www.reidjsphoto.com for dozens more action shots!
Welcome to Arizona, John Koluder!
With two trainings per day, meals, and recovery…what is it that we do in our free time you ask? Although this two-hour time difference is peanuts, it sure has had its effect; it’s very difficult not to fall asleep right after dinner. There has been some good sports action this week so TV is always a good option. I overheard one of the guys claim that he would re-watch seasons 1 and 2 of Game of Thrones this week. Hugo just purchased some playing cards, so there have also been some heated games of euchre in the lobby. Speaking of cards, who knew we had some magicians on the team? Well, kind of… whose card trick do you think is the best: Kyle, Chris’ three attempts or Pedro?
We have had some good days of training leading up to the Vancouver match tomorrow*. We look forward to the club’s first contest with excitement. Although it is still pretty early on in the preseason, it will be a great assessor of many things, and there will be lots to take from it both individually and in the grand scheme of the season.
A big thanks to everyone that has been reading and commenting!
*Written for 2/4. We apologize for the delay in posting– the internet speed has likely been affected by the addition of another team on the complex.