Camp Report: A good change ...

After four seasons with the Atlanta Silverbacks, veteran midfielder Tony McManus enters his first preseason with the Timbers. As he makes the transition to a new club, new teammates and a new city, Tony will share his thoughts on preparing for the season, preseason matches, and all the transitions that come with changing teams in his Camp Report.

Here is the first of several Camp Reports from Tony:

Today is March 9, 2009, which means the first day of preseason and two-a-days … YAY!
The day started out pretty rough as I am awakened from a deep slumber and look out the window to find it is a grey morning with this white stuff falling from the sky. I have yet to figure out what it is but it seems to be a colder form of rain and I was not happy with it.
After a few struggles on my way in, I was running late for training and that is a no-no, especially on your first day with a new team. I tried to sneak my way in. I got taped, changed, and onto the field in record time. Then, after about five minutes of being harassed by the coaching staff and players for my blunder we were able to get the warm up under way.
We had a nice 10-15 minute warm up, and then moved onto some technical work with passing, then some 2v1s and 2v2s then onto a split session where it was a group of forwards and defenders playing 2v2 to goal, and the midfielders playing a possession game. After about 20 minutes we moved onto a 3v3 game evenly split for the rest of training.
That ended the playing for the first session and then we went onto some fitness. The two groups were split and we were set up in a large box. We ran the sides and sprinted the diagonals. We did this for, my best guess would be, ten minutes – which was plenty long enough. It was a good session overall, but it was made a lot more difficult due to the fact that it snowed the entire time which made the field very slick. The snow and ice built up under your cleats, soaked your feet, made the ball play extremely fast and was a difficult adjustment to make, but it seemed that most people dealt with it well.
So ended our first session and after getting cleaned up and heading out for a quick snack before the start of the second. Most of us went and grabbed a quick snack at Tropical Smoothie or Fred Meyer and then came back for the second session.
We walked on the field for our second training session to a nice sunny sky; however once we finished our warm up, of course the sky clouded right back up. Wouldn’t you know it the temperature dropped and down came the snow again soaking the field. However, it wouldn't take long for us to get warm once the sky opened up because the first 25 minutes of the second session was a fitness session.
The run was a pretty tough consisting of four different segments. First, you started out with a slow jog around the outside square until Amos (Magee) blew the whistle. Then you sprinted around the nearest cone on the inside square and back out and slow it back down to a jog. Then we stepped it up to a medium paced jog with the sprints to the inside cones. Then the last set was a fast paced run with the sprints in between. After going all the way through it, we immediately changed direction and started at the top and built down. It seemed pretty easy when you are just doing the slow jog and sprints, but when you picked it up past that, it became very exhausting and tiring. By the end, if you weren't totally drained you didn't work hard enough …  
After the long run, we moved on to the playing portion of the afternoon in which we broke up into four teams of five each and played a round robin tournament for the remainder of practice. Now I try to be a humble person, but my team absolutely dominated in each game we played. In the four games we played, we only gave up one goal the whole time and won all four games on our way to an undefeated tournament. It was a great ending to the first day of training.
I have to say I truly look forward to tomorrow and the rest of the training sessions here. It is a nice change from what I have gotten used to in Atlanta whether it’s the training, the fitness, the atmosphere or the climate here. It is so refreshing and I look forward to the rest of this year. That’s a wrap for the day.
Posted by: Tony McManus