I had the opportunity to watch a sizable portion of the team's morning session and I came away with a few impressions that I thought I would share. These are in no particular order, and not necessarily related, with a little of what I call "boot-thology" throw in. Enjoy:
1. Obafemi looks fit, his quads are massive, and his ability to shield defenders is impressive. For a man of his stature, he takes up far more real estate than one would think. He is also rocking the Nike Mercurial Vapor IXs. Excellent boot choice for a guy who is known for his ridiculous pace.
2. Andy Rose looks determined to make up for his sophomore slump of a season. Looked solid in passing drills and was quite vocal. Andy is now sponsored by Diadora, and laced up in the shockingly good Diadora DDNA. A speed boot for a midfielder, a holding one at that, this boot has a unique synthetic upper and weighs in under 8oz. Great boot.
3. I'm not sure I'm used to Lamar's beard yet, but I have no qualms with his Adidas Predator LZs in Vivid Berry.
4. I've never seen Aaron Kovar play, but today I had the chance to finally witness what he is all about. Talking to Matt Gaschk, he describes Kovar as more of a box to box player. Whatever you want to call him, you can immediately tell that he has incredible insight, and read the games well. Taking a page from Dutch Total Football and the concept of T.I.C. (Technique, Insight, and Communication), Kovar certainly has all three qualities. Example, during a 6v6 exercise where Kovar's side was on offense, after an errant play I saw him make a few hand gestures to Tristan Bowen (sporting the Adidas F50 adizero), who was playing on the opposite flank. The gesture read to me as "I'm gonna switch it, be ready." And what do you know, he did exactly that. A beautiful left footed pass that hit Bowen exactly where it needed to be. The kid is fluent in the game of soccer. He listens to its language, and he understands and adjusts accordingly. I'm really excited about his future.
5. Zach Scott is a beast, nuff said. Adidas Nitrocharge were his weapon of choice today.
7. Kenny Cooper is large, surprisingly quick on his feet (Jaqua he is not), and has good touch. I am EXTREMELY excited to see him and Oba paired up top. That will be something special if the service can get there.
8. This is by far the most important. I've worked in some stressful environments, and the biggest takeaway from the first day was how peaceful it was there. How much everyone worked well together in a workman-like fashion. Tranquil comes to mind. Now, I've never been to other training sessions before, but going in to a season following the supposed issues in the locker room and with specific personnel, everything seemed calm. It gives me a good feeling that this year we will see more of a team on the pitch than a group of individuals. But again, it's on the first day.
More to come in the next week, and throughout the year I will be your resident boot-thologist for the Sounder's squad.