Monday, December 10, 2007


After a day of getting the travel out of their systems, the boys got back to business today when Peter Nowak put them through an intense 90-minute session at the Helong Sports Complex in front of a brave crowd of 100 onlookers. We say brave because it was rather chilly, to say the least.

After a 15-minute warmup, all 20 players were pulled into the center circle where 17 balls were waiting. They moved inside the circle at increasing speeds until the 'whistle' blew, and then they had to scramble and sit on any open ball, with the odd men out paying the price with 20 pushups. As the exercise continued, the number of available balls decreased, thereby increasing the number of pushups owed. With the keepers moving off on their own, the group split in half for two separate passing exercises, one involving short movements and the other delivering balls over distance. Next came a 9 v. 9 game from 18 to 18 that focused on team shape and movement, where goals were scored by dribbling the ball over the opponent's endline. One thing that was evident in this exercise

Charlie Davies is pretty darn fast. Big goals and goalkeepers were added for an intense final 20 minutes, and you could see the chemistry starting to coalesce as several times the groups strung together a series of passes and maintained prolonged possession. The session ended with 10 minutes of sprinting at various intervals and distances. The number of Chinese media in attendance has grown each day, and we're expecting a full house at tomorrow's pre-match press conference. Already you can feel the energy shifting towards matchday...

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