DAY THREE: Today was another long and energetic session in the U.S. World Cup training camp, with Bruce Arena once again running the side through nearly two hours of fitness and football. Joe-Max Moore began full training today, leaving Carlos Llamosa as the only player left on the sick list. After warming up with assistant coach Dave Sarachan, the team worked through a series of speed and agility exercises. The group then broke in half for the middle stanza. On one end of the field was a possession game, and in the other the forwards' engaged in their favorite pastime - one v. one to goal. U.S. all-time capwinner Cobi Jones earned the plaudits of the coaching staff, several times leaving defenders twisted and depositing the ball in the back of the net, while Frankie Hejduk displayed sharp closing skills on the defensive end. That performance carried over into a 9 v. 8 scrimmage, with the focus on learning to deal with odd-number situations. Chicago Fire midfielder DaMarcus Beasley showed off his speed and quickness, causing havoc for the defense by creating space and serving up dangerous crosses. As has become customary, training ended with a series of timed intervals. The U.S. will train once Saturday before taking a well-earned day off on Sunday.
WORKING OVERTIME: Equal to the amount of energy being expended by the players on the training field is the effort by USMNT trainers Jim Hashimoto and Bruce Snell to keep the players fit and healthy. With a typical day beginning at 7 a.m. and ending past midnight, caring for the team is more than a full-time job. Consider this:
- The team has consumed 16 cases of Gatorade and 20 cases of water since training began Wednesday.
- Hashimoto and Snell each average 12 hours-a-day working in the treatment room.
- Each spends four hours a day giving massages.
IN TOWN: The USMNT is sharing living quarters outside of Raleigh, N.C., with another team hunting for success. Arriving last night were the Montreal Canadiens, in town for the first two games of the NHL Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Carolina Hurricanes. Several U.S. players are huge hockey fans, and they were not surprised to learn that many Canadiens shared a similar passion for soccer. Landon Donovan and Joey Juneau became quick friends; a package for Juneau was mistakenly delivered to Donovan's room, which he politely returned to the intended recipient. Donovan and several teammates are expected to attend Game Two this weekend as guests of the Canadiens.
THEY SAID IT:
"The staff is extremely pleased with the energy, commitment and competitiveness of the first few days of camp. The effort has been tremendous. Our goal is to keep that in place, with an eye always on improving the quality."
- U.S. assistant coach Glenn Myernick, on the team's attitude in training
"It's the best thing for forwards. You really get a chance to sharpen your skills, and it definitely helps build your confidence. But the defenders hate it."
- Cobi Jones, talking about the benefits of one v. one exercises in training
"It looks like the dog from 'Turner and Hooch.'"
- Gregg Berhalter, describing the multi-colored hair now sported by roommate Frankie Hejduk
Be sure to enter MediaWorld on www.ussoccer.com for the latest audio clips and photos from the USMNT World Cup training camp in Cary, N.C., including today's interview with Washington Post beat writer Steven Goff.