January 30, 2013
By Charles Cuttone
KEEPING THINGS IN FOCUS
Fitness, team-building are priorities for Revsí Arizona training
You might say the New England Revolution are in hiding as much as they are in training. That's part of the beauty of being at the Grande Sports Complex in Casa Grande, Arizona according to head coach Jay Heaps.
|Revolution coach Jay Heaps says the teamís early Arizona training sessions are ďabout fitness and getting to know each other from a soccer standpoint.Ē
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
"This first part we are in Case Grande, which there's really not a ton to do outside of the game, which is really good. It gives us great focus for things we want to do tactically and the things we want to do as a group."
The initial stage of the Revs training camp included only one exhibition game, Tuesday's 4-1 loss to the Vancouver Whitecaps, but the games are not important at this stage, according to Heaps.
"We're here pretty much for eight days and we want to have as many sessions as we can, have the group together as long as they can and really start to understand each other a little bit, with the main purpose being fitness, getting ourselves up to speed, where we need to be going forward."
Heaps, who is leading the team in his second training camp as the Revsí head man, likes the slow approach, and the seclusion that the resort in Arizona gives the team, especially, one would assume, after highly publicized incidents at the team's camp two years ago.
"They're small steps that we are taking. I think we want to integrate international players that we've brought in, (Kalifa) Cisse and Jose Goncalves and Andy Dorman, along with other players, Andrew Farrell and some of our other draft picks.
"Itís about fitness and getting to know each other from a soccer standpoint, what the tendencies are, how we're going to play this year and then use that to build the style and the play we really want to use the whole year."
The team returned to Boston on Wednesday, and will train at the Gillette Stadium complex until February 8, before heading back to Arizona to participate in the FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup.
"The next stage is a continuation," said Heaps. "We go home for about seven or eight days, we are going to continue to grind out strength, conditioning and fitness and that aspect of where we need to get better. What I mean by get better is every week you want to push more. This week, we'll push more and then we'll go to Tucson in eight days. That's another important trip for us, because that's four more games at the MLS level that will really prepare us for opening day."
The Revs open play in the Desert Diamond Cup on Wednesday, Feb. 13, vs. Seattle Sounders FC. They then take on division rival New York Red Bulls on Saturday, Feb. 16 and Real Salt Lake on Wednesday, Feb. 20.
The championship and consolation matches of the tournament are on Saturday, February 23.