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Table Tennis Titans

U.S. Men's National Team players Brek Shea, Juan Agudelo, and Heath Pearce battle it out for table tennis supremacy during their downtime from training.

January Camp Journals: Heath Pearce

During the January camp in Phoenix, several members of the U.S. Men's National Team will write journal entries for ussoccer.com. The journals will provide a first-hand, behind-the-scenes account of what's going on in the January camp.

A member of the 30-man preliminary squad for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Chivas USA defender Heath Pearce writes the second installment and gives a detailed look at a day in the life in Phoenix …

It's that time of year again. No, it’s not the holidays… it’s not NYE… it’s the infamous JANUARY CAMP. We are a little more than a week into camp, and the legs are heavy but the morale is high. Great coaches and a hard working staff make the environment the perfect blend to be successful.  We have a good group of guys in camp this year with a wide range of "how we got here" stories, so let me share a bit of insight into what we've been up to.

Doing triple days from day one is no one’s favorite thing in the world, but that is what it takes to succeed at the highest level. Let it be known that the guys have been very responsive and positive towards the demands being placed on us. We have done the fitness tests, the mental and physical evaluations, and the mobility screens, and we are slowly starting to work our way to more sessions on the field with the ball. We've been kept busy from about 8 a.m. each morning until about 8 p.m. each night, not including treatment and massage late in the evening. As you know, U.S. Soccer has posted our "typical" daily schedule, but I will try to break down the purpose of our sessions from a player’s point of view with the VAST amounts of knowledge I have gained during this short camp (I’ve been taking good notes…).

Our day typically begins at 8:30 a.m. with a morning RUN. The reason I capitalize the word RUN is because it was first deemed a morning JOG, but after the first day the pace has steadily increased, along with the distance. The reason for this run before breakfast is to torture us mentally until we are about to break. OK, OK, that's not quite the truth. The real purpose of the pre-meal run is to teach the body to recruit additional energy when it is depleted of the usual energy stores. The body is depleted because it has been using the stores while you sleep. See, I told you I was taking good notes!

After the run, we go directly to our meal room where we have our recovery/protein shakes waiting for us, and for those of you lactose intolerant people out there, do not be alarmed because the hotel staff also caters to the needs of the less fortunate like myself with a NON-dairy shake option.

After our morning run, shakes and breakfast, we have about an hour or so until we leave for our "second" workout of the day, which is usually at Athlete’s Performance. These sessions start out with a pre-workout shooter and nutritional supplement. We start the physical work with a quick regeneration session on the yoga mats. The purpose of this is to make you madder than when you first arrived. Again, I joke! The exercises can be a bit painful at times, but they definitely help you recover quicker.

So, on to the physical demands of the morning. We begin our warm-up on the turf doing a series of dynamic stretches and movements that help get the muscles warm and firing. All things we do in this series are completely relatable to the functions and movements that take place throughout a soccer match, like linear speed, lateral cuts and movements and backward shuffles. Much of the focus of our warm-up is to not only get the legs warm, but also to increase range of motion and lower the risk of injury.

Next we move into the gym for our actual "lift" for the morning. We usually do about 11 different movements and/or lifts varying in weight and function and around three sets of eight reps. Our lifts vary from upper body to lower body, and also include core work that is incorporated into each series of lifts. Brek Shea and I usually turn Beast Mode on at this point and compete for man of the match in our lifting sessions -we call it man of the match, but we are the only ones allowed to participate. Because he and I are competitive, we usually see who lifts harder, more weight and with better form. At the end of the day, we each give our vote as to who is the man of the match. For example, we have lifted a total of eight times, and I have been man of the match eight times. Brek has been man of the match zero times. You get how the math works.

After our workouts we drink another recovery/protein shake and then jump in the ice bath. The shakes help repair the muscles and begin the recovery process. The ice baths help to flush the body and speed up recovery times. Sure it’s cold, but they are essential during a long training day. We usually shower and eat lunch at AP as well. AP provides us with catered meal options to help each athlete meet his or her caloric and health needs for the day. I usually eat a Gluten free brown rice tortilla wrap with chicken, lettuce, tomato, pepperoncini and avocado. It’s a custom wrap designed by me after hours of brainstorming to create the perfect blend of ingredients, and guess what? It’s amazing. I call it "Hollywood Heath's Chicken Wrap."

Right now you are probably wondering if the movie rights are still available for this story. The answer is YES, yes they are.

Some days we have guest speakers that offer advice on topics like professionalism or nutrition, and then we head back to the hotel and try to get in a short power nap before heading to the afternoon session on the field. Our field sessions usually run about an hour long and are short and sweet but definitely intense. Our strength coach takes us for about a 20-minute warm up that includes many of the same dynamic movements we did in the morning. Next we usually dive into some sort of passing or technical work. Feeling sharp, we finish the day off with a small-sided game like 5 v 5 or 8 v 8 on a small field. Most nights we finish the training with a jog and stretch, and head back to AP for more shakes and ice baths.

We arrive back at the hotel around 7 p.m. and have dinner at 7:30. Through the consultation of our nutritionist, we have each been given a comprehensive meal builder that helps each of the guys know what and how much of each food their bodies need to recover and perform at the highest level. After dinner each night, the training room opens for massage and treatments. At this point you must be thinking… Wait, aren't they there to play soccer? The answer is yes, but the work we do in the gym and what we put into our body is just as important as the work we actually do on the field. Think BIG picture. We are slowly preparing for our game against Venezuela on Jan. 21 in Glendale, Ariz., and part of that is making sure we are healthy and fit. With each passing day we get a step closer to that point, and we are confident that we will be fit and ready for the vinotintos.

I hope this journal has given you a better understanding of what it is we are doing here, and a more in-depth look behind the scenes. If any of you see Brek Shea and in that moment, he is trying to read this, don't pick on him - just help him with some of the bigger words.

 

Klinsmann Calls In 22 Players to Face Mexico on Aug. 10 in Philadelphia

CHICAGO (Aug. 4, 2011) — U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has named a 22-player roster that will travel to Philadelphia in advance of the match against regional rival Mexico on Aug. 10 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. The match will be the first for the former FIFA World Cup and European Championship winner at the helm of the U.S. Men’s National Team since being named head coach.

Kickoff for the teams’ first meeting in a friendly since 2008 is set for 9 p.m. ET, and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN2, ESPN3.com and Univision. In addition, Univision will air a live pre-game show beginning at 8:30 p.m. ET. Fans can also follow the match live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker and Twitter @ussoccer.

Tickets starting at $38 are on sale through ussoccer.com, by phone at 1-800-745-3000, and at all Ticketmaster ticket centers throughout the Delaware Valley (including Walmart and Boscov’s) and the Lincoln Financial Field ticket office (open Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.). Groups of 30 or more can obtain an order form at ussoccer.com or call 312-528-1290.

“One of the goals of the roster for this game and moving forward is to create competition at each position,” said Klinsmann. “There are many players who are established as well as many players who will get opportunities, and we want there to be a healthy contest for spots on the roster. We will get a good look at where each player is as quickly as we can during the short time in camp, and we will finish with an exciting game against Mexico.”

The roster delivers a combination of experience and youth at virtually every position. In goal, Tim Howard enters with 65 caps to his credit and is joined by 20-year-old Bill Hamid, a U.S. Soccer Development Academy product who was the first D.C. United Academy player to sign with the first team. Two-time World Cup veteran Carlos Bocanegra is just seven games shy of reaching 100 caps. He will patrol the center of the park along with 2010 FIFA World Cup teammate Clarence Goodson, the newly named captain of Brondby in Denmark, and two young players in Tim Ream and Michael Orozco Fiscal. Hannover 96 captain Steve Cherundolo returns after an injury forced him out of the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup final, while fellow Bundesliga-based right back Timmy Chandler is making his second appearance in a national team camp after debuting against Argentina in March. Chivas USA defender Heath Pearce and Edgar Castillo make up the options for the left side of the backline.

Central midfield is packed with experience, including four players from the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Michael Bradley has nine goals in 59 appearances for the full team, with eight of his goals coming in official competitions. Maurice Edu comes from three-time defending Scottish Premier League champion Rangers, and Ricardo Clark and Jose Torres make their first appearance in the squad since the World Cup in South Africa. Jermaine Jones has reached double digits in caps for the U.S. after competing in his first official competition earlier this summer, and has rejoined Schalke 04 after a loan spell with Blackburn Rovers. Real Salt Lake contributes captain Kyle Beckerman and FC Dallas sends Brek Shea, who is currently in third place in scoring in MLS this season behind Landon Donovan and Thierry Henry as the 21-year-old has netted nine goals in 22 games.

The USA’s all-time leading scorer, Donovan leads the attacking corps with 46 goals in 146 international appearances. Donovan is the only player on the roster who has experience with the new coach, having played for Klinsmann in 2009 at Bayern Munich during a loan spell. Both Freddy Adu and 18-year-old Juan Agudelo are coming off significant contributions in the 2011 Gold Cup, Adu having started in the final against Mexico while Agudelo appeared in five of six matches. DaMarcus Beasley returns to the squad with 93 caps to his credit that include stints in the last three World Cups, and Edson Buddle travels from FC Ingolstadt after his great run of form in 2010 led to a spot in the team in South Africa.

A total of nine professional leagues in eight different countries are represented on the roster. MLS contributes seven players, while German-based players number six total from the top two divisions and the Mexico first division sends four. New York Bulls contribute two players to the roster, the most from any single club.

The match on Aug. 10 will mark the 59th meeting between the USA and Mexico. The U.S. has a lifetime record of 15-32-11 against Mexico in a series that dates to 1934, but the U.S. has a 13-8-9 advantage in home matches since 1957. Since the rivalry between these two teams began in earnest in 1990, the sides have played 31 times, with the U.S. holding a 13-10-8 advantage. In the teams’ most significant matchup, the United States defeated Mexico 2-0 in the Round of 16 of the 2002 FIFA World Cup.

At the stadium, U.S. Soccer will continue to implement the Respect Campaign, which was launched in 2011 and includes a number of initiatives to enhance the game experience, particularly in the areas of customer service and fan-friendly behavior. U.S. Soccer is committed to providing a safe and secure environment for fans to enjoy the special atmosphere at these matches.

U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION (as of Aug. 4, 2011) - Detailed Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): Bill Hamid (D.C.United), Tim Howard (Everton)
DEFENDERS (8): Carlos Bocanegra (Saint-Etienne), Edgar Castillo (Club America), Timmy Chandler (FC Nürnberg), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96), Clarence Goodson (Brondby), Michael Orozco Fiscal (San Luis), Heath Pearce (Chivas USA), Tim Ream (New York Red Bulls)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Michael Bradley (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Ricardo Clark (Eintracht Frankfurt), Maurice Edu (Rangers), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04), Brek Shea (FC Dallas), José Torres (Pachuca)
FORWARDS (5): Freddy Adu (Benfica), Juan Agudelo (New York Red Bulls), DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Edson Buddle (FC Ingolstadt), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy)

 

An attacking left back by trade, Pearce’s sense of timing and crossing ability are considerable assets for the U.S. system. A contributor to the USA’s successful campaign to qualify for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, he was named to the 30-man preliminary roster. His versatility and willingness to take on defenders led to his use in various positions on defense for FC Dallas, even being deployed in the midfield. His efforts were a big part of his club side’s run to the 2010 MLS Cup final, but a hamstring injury kept him from his first championship match. He continues his MLS career at Chivas USA in his home state, California.

  • Chosen as part of the 30-man preliminary roster for the 2010 FIFA World Cup
  • A member of the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup squad, Pearce made the most impact during the USA’s other major tournament during the year, starting five games in the run to the final of the 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup
  • Recorded an assist in the 2-1 victory against El Salvador on Feb. 24, 2010, marking the fourth straight year he has put points on the board
  • Finished with 754 total minutes spread across nine starts during 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying
  • A former member of the U-17 Residency Program, he competed at both the U-17 and U-20 levels
  • Spent five years in Europe playing in the top leagues in Denmark and Germany before embarking on an MLS career with FC Dallas
2010: Assisted on Brian Ching’s game-tying goal in the 2-1 win on Feb. 24 against El Salvador … Played final 20 minutes in 2-1 loss to Holland on March 3 in Amsterdam … Making a total of five appearances, he started in the 0-0 draw against Colombia on Oct. 12 in Chester, Pa. ... 2009: Played 90 minutes during the USA’s 2-0 victory against Mexico on Feb. 11 to open the Final Round of World Cup qualifying … Featured in five 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup games as the team advanced to the final … Ended the year with seven appearances and seven starts to take his career cap total to 28 … 2008: One of seven players to start all three games during the memorable U.S. summer friendlies against England, Spain and Argentina … Started in 11 games and logged 945 minutes for the U.S. in 2008, both personal and team bests … Contributed two assists, setting up Eddie Johnson against Barbados on June 15 and Landon Donovan against Cuba on Oct. 11, to post his first-ever points in World Cup qualifying … 2007: A member of the squad which traveled to Venezuela to compete in the 2007 edition of Copa America … He made one appearance in the tournament, playing the full 90 minutes against Colombia … Also started against Brazil at left back … Appeared as a sub in the 1-0 win against Switzerland in Basel … Started in the USA’s 1-0 win against South Africa on Nov. 17 in Johannesburg … 2006: Made four appearances for the U.S. … His first start for the U.S. came against Canada during a 0-0 draw on Jan. 22 … Came on as a sub for Cory Gibbs against Germany in Dortmund … 2005: Made his debut appearance for the national team when he came on for DaMarcus Beasley in the 1-1 draw against Scotland on Nov. 12 at Hampden Park … Under-20s: Played in four international matches with the U.S. Under-20s, starting all four games … Played two international friendlies against Colombia in Fort Lauderdale in February of 2003 … Was part of the squad for the Madeira Tournament in Portugal in March of 2003, starting against Portugal and Norway … Under-17s: Member of U.S. Soccer’s Under-17 Residency Program in 2000-01 … Played and started in a total of eight international matches for the U-17 MNT, starting three and scoring two goals … First Appearance: Nov. 12, 2005, vs. Scotland … First Goal: None.
2010: Played 28 games for FC Dallas, starting 27 and recording a career-high six assists … A hamstring injury sidelined him for his team’s run through the playoffs to the MLS Cup final … Traded to Chivas USA following the season … 2009: Joined FC Dallas in September after the team acquired him through allocation … After regaining match fitness, he went on to make six appearances and five starts for Dallas … Featured prominently down the stretch as his team made a late push for the playoffs … Earned one assist in his first abbreviated season in MLS ... 2008-09: Continued with Hansa Rostock, despite the team’s relegation to the Second Bundesliga … Made 12 appearances with Rostock … Finished his career in Germany making 31 appearances over two years with Hansa Rostock … 2007-08: With interest coming from a variety of sources, he elected to sign with newly promoted side Hansa Rostock of the Bundesliga … Made his first appearance for his new club on the opening day of the season, when he started and played the full 90 minutes on Aug. 4 against Bayern Munich … 2006-07: Matured into a leader of the FC Nordsjælland defense and helped his club team to a fifth-place finish in the league, by far their highest position since being promoted in 2003 … Elected to leave the club at the end of the 2007, having made 50 appearances for Nordsjælland scoring two goals … 2005-06: Elected to leave Portland after three years to sign with FC Nordsjælland of the Danish Superliga … In his first year with the club, he made an immediate impact and was a valuable member of a side that finished ninth in the table.

Enjoys sushi … Lists The Godfather as one of his favorite movies … Likes to read inspirational books … A devotee of Call of Duty and Rock Band on his PS3.

In his final year at Portland, he started all 20 games, scoring two goals and racking up five assists … Was an All-West Coast Conference honorable mention selection … Had a goal and an assist in a 3-0 win over Central Florida … Registered a goal and assist in the NCAA first-round 2-0 win over Oregon State.

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