Timbers Training Notebook: Day 3
The third day of Portland Timbers training camp brought a welcome addition to the drills—soccer balls. Similar to Monday’s practice, the squad was split in two with half the players training inside one of the adidas indoor athletic areas with a focus on weights and agility while outside, head coach John Spencer led players through a series of conditioning sprints and drills.
But it hasn’t all been running. Yesterday, adidas staff assisted Timbers players with a spin class as well as a good yoga session.
“We’re just trying to mix it up a little bit,” Spencer said. “I don’t want to bring them out here and run them into the ground in the first three days.
Spencer stressed that much of these initial practices are about not only bringing the team together but also helping get them settled in a new city and environment--both on and off the field.
"With a good mentality and no stress and no hassles, [then] the only thing they’ve got to deal with is a little old fat Scotsman that’s yelling at them for an hour and a half," said Spencer.
Also in attendance today on the sidelines was team owner and president Merritt Paulson. Joined by general manager and technical director Gavin Wilkinson, the two were chatting with press as well as adidas officials such as sports marketing manager for adidas soccer, Ernesto Bruce.
Spencer stepped up the intensity a bit today while leading them through a series of extended sprints of varying lengths that alternated with jogs for recovery. Split in groups of six, one group was led by goalkeeper Troy Perkins and another by midfielder Adam Moffat. While there was an emphasis put on speed and form, there was also a push to keep each group running together.
Spencer could be heard exhorting his players, “Stay together! We’re going to need each other. Push each other.”
However, it was the simple addition of some soccer balls that had the players keyed up. Timed sessions of two-touch keep away had the team passing, communicating and running. Three defenders were placed inside a circle while the outside group kept moving the ball around. It was another initial step in establishing a new team chemistry as players begin to get a feel for one another.
Perkins participated in the passing drills and could be seen sprinting back and forth. He clearly noticed a connection between teammates.
“I’m pretty impressed,” he said. “It really feels like the group has been together for a long time. Guys are getting along well. We’re joking with each other.”
- Wednesday’s training drew another strong contingent of local media and adidas employees
- Newly signed goalkeeper Adin Brown and Perkins worked after training with goalkeeper coach Adam Smith on a number of drills
- Training opened with a Portland-esque backdrop of heavy fog that eventually lifted in favor of sunny skies midway through the morning
- The Timbers also announced today the signing of defender Steve Purdy