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January Camp Journals: Sean Johnson

Throughout January, the players on the Men's National Team will be providing a first-hand account of what's happening inside the camp as they deal with the rigors of intense training under the watchful eyes of the coaching staff, all the while auditioning for playing time in the two important matches at the end of the month. The first installment is written by Chicago Fire goalkeeper and U-23 MNT hopeful Sean Johnson.

We’re two days into camp here in Phoenix, and everything is off to a great start. As a young goalkeeper, these are important opportunities to learn and be seen by coaches, so I’m excited to be here.

All the players arrived into camp Tuesday afternoon. It’s cool to see both old and new faces and to be able to catch up with everyone. You play against these guys all season long and you’re on opposite sides, but when you into a group like this it's immediately like you’re all on the same team. The guys have been great so far, and I’m sure the team chemistry will get even better as the camp goes on.

As soon as we dropped off our bags, we all had to do extensive physicals to make sure we were healthy and able to get through a long camp. The first day involved a lot of testing followed by a light session in the gym so we could get the travel out of our legs. At dinner, we got the run-down on some important things we needed to know for camp and what the expectations will be from the coaching staff.  It was pretty exciting to finally get going.

The next morning we woke up and had blood testing – we couldn’t eat anything for 10 hours beforehand - to measure the levels of different nutrients in our bodies and see where we can improve. I think everyone was hoping to see someone pass out from the needle, but everyone survived just fine! 

We all went to Athleteʼs Performance after breakfast to do fitness testing, and we also sat down with a nutritionist to develop an individual plan for the duration of the camp. They did all kinds of measurements like body fat and weight, and after a discussion about our personal goals they developed a formula for the shakes we will drink before and after workouts. Pretty sophisticated stuff.

Nutrition has been a focal point, with the staff here emphasizing the importance of proper eating to help with the demands of the rigorous sessions we will have in the gym and on the field. We had a video and lecture from a nutritionist where we learned about the different things our bodies need to perform at the highest level. Personally, I was happy to learn that you can incorporate treats in your diet as long as you do it in moderation. That was music to the ears of those with a sweet tooth like me! All kidding aside, the education on nutrition definitely helped me, and I’m sure all the other guys would agree that it’s something that will be valuable for the duration of our careers.

We had two intense sessions today at the gym where we have been developing a fitness and strength base to help us be at our best ultimately when we play our games at the end of the month. At the end of tonight’s session we had to do a workout on a climbing machine that it was probably the most challenging exercise so far. After we got off the machine it felt like our legs were about to fall off, but we all know that if you feel the burn it means you are working hard and your body is changing for the better.

All the guys are working hard and committed to what we are doing.  Tomorrow we’ll be on the field for the first time, and I can’t wait. Iʼm definitely looking forward to the rest of this January camp.