Early in training isn't about two-a-days for Sigi Schmid. In fact on day one there was little outdoor fitness or drills, instead it was mostly a day to see two mini-games with the returning players in one game and the rookies and invitees/trialists in the other. Later the veterans did some running and other work on the side while all the invitees/trialists played a near full field 11 v 11. A few veterans participated in the large game.
Sigi told the gathered media that this was the plan for most of the week.
"I've always been a coach that when we start practicing I don't believe in going crazy the first four or five days because I think that's when a lot of injuries happen because players are anxious and eager and enthusiastic if you do too much too early. It's to play a little bit bigger. We split them into two groups so we could see people. We had our guys do a little bit of running, build up the fitness on that stage, and there will be more of that this week. We'll weight train, as well, on Wednesday. We'll get a chance and we'll play a little bit of 11-v-11, mainly with the trialists and some of our guys involved, as well. And we'll do our testing at the end of the week at VMAC, so that's our plan. It's a one day a week type of thing. When we got to Casa Grande next week that's when we really go into fitness and go into twice a week and really push that aspect."
Avoiding injury is a goal of Patrick Ianni's as he looks to win a starting role in 2013. "I mostly need to stay healthy after last year and keep getting better. That's really my focus this year," Ianni said after training. "I've got to stay healthy to contribute. That's a big thing for me this year and keep pushing this year."
He was not willing to say that the starting centerbacks are he and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado. He pointed out Zach Scott's success in his time there and that there are a couple rookies to push the veterans to compete for their time.
Like all the returning Sounders today was about one thing more than anything else - being back. "I'm just excited to be back. The contract thing was good, we got that taken care of at the end of last season, but I'm really excited about this season. We have four trophies to win and we have five weeks to get ready for a big game against Montreal and then Tigres right after that. That's where my head is at right now."
There were a couple rookies out there, but one is rather significant as he's the first of his kind in Seattle. DeAndre Yedlin is the first HomeGrown Player for the Seattle Sounders FC. He's dealing with unique challenges of being a young pro and also a symbol to the Academy system as a level of success.
"He wasn't my teammate at Akron but Zakuani has helped me a lot with the process," Yedlin spoke in a group session, "just telling me about what the Sounders are thinking about me through this whole process. He's helped me a lot."
Over the weekend Yedlin went to watch the Sounders Pre-Academy play. He is now the pro, not the one looking up to the pros.
"It was a weird feeling, but it was definitely a cool feeling. It was nice to see the kids play," Yedlin noted. "They're getting better as the years go on. I'm telling you they were good. It surprised me."
Day one is in the books. Just a couple hundred more to go and as Ianni said, "We have four trophies to win."