The first week of performance fitness concluded this morning with a bit of a surprise from U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann. With the group expecting another tough session of exercises, Klinsmann threw a curve ball by making the majority of the training an 11 v. 11 game. You could immediately sense the excitement amongst the players as they looked forward to getting their first opportunity to show their stuff, particularly after a challenging week. At the end of the day, there's nothing the players like better than having the whistle blow and just purely getting after it.
Seattle Sounders midfielder Brad Evans summed up the value of the experience:
"11 v. 11 is the reason why we are here. It’s playing games and testing yourself against the best. It’s good to get that feel out and get the legs stretched in a different way than just doing fitness. It’s almost more tiring doing this then the repetitive running. You get the mental side of it as well, and start to understand how we want to play as a group and have the chance get used to playing with different guys. I’ve never played with Steven Beitashour, so when he’s playing right back and I’m playing right mid today, it's the first opportunity to really learn how he likes to play. As much as you watch film on these guys with your club team, it’s way different when you’re on the field and he’s giving directions. Overall, a great start."