Gavin Wilkinson shares his thoughts on camp

The Portland Timbers began Week 1 of preseason training camp this week, and new head coach and general manager Gavin Wilkinson is ready to start his time at the helm. Under Gavin,  there will be no easing into the season.

Gavin told PortlandTimbers.com: "Yesterday was our first day of training camp, we had 24 players in camp - 14 signed and 10 trialists. Things went well. Preseason is never much fun and I thought the players did everything with a very professional attitude.

"(Training sessions) at the moment are geared towards increasing the player's endurance. As we get closer to the season, training will be modified and become more specific to the actual game. But for now, the short answer to what we do in training is - we run a lot.

"This part of the season, preseason, isn't easy and isn't fun. It's not meant to be. Today and the rest of this week will be hard, to give you an idea you may want to watch a part in the movie Forrest Gump. Here is a hint, 'one day I felt like running,' I think you get the picture."

In his first season as  head coach, it has given Gavin a different perspective on season preparation.

"I think 'interesting' is the best word to describe what it feels like to be on the manager's side of things preparing for camp and the season," he said.

Gavin has assembled a squad mixed with new and returning veterans and young talent. Yesterday he saw his players in action.

"I got my first look at the majority of the team yesterday, 14 of our 17 signed players reported today. It's great getting them all together. We all have a common objective and with all the new faces it may take a while but this is a good group of professionals and their high work rate will take us down the right road."

Even on day one, players are already beginning to make their mark on the 2007 season.

"From the fitness perspective three players did well yesterday, Kiki (Lara), Kevin (Meissner) and Troy (Ready). I am especially pleased for Troy, last year heading into training camp he was recovering from Mono. He seemed to have a new lease on life yesterday."

Looking to round out the roster, Gavin has invited a series of trialists during the Timbers four-week training camp.

"We have approximately 10 trialists in camp this week. They did well. Coming in on trial is never easy and part of the process is seeing how they work in with the current signed players."

To view pictures from the first day of camp in the new photo gallery in the Fan Zone, click here.