The New England Revolution are currently stationed in Casa Grande, AZ in a location that can best be described as secluded. Sure, the hotel has a pool and other amenities, but the fields are the primary focus. It is here that the Revs are putting in the work ahead of the 2016 season.
A typical preseason day for the Revolution starts with a run followed by two training sessions. The goal is to get players mentally and physically ready for what’s to come. It’s a process that veteran Chris Tierney classifies as tough, but necessary, especially in regards to team unity.
"Suffering through fitness tests and double days, those are the things that bring groups together," Chris Tierney told The Bent Musket. "We’ll reach back over the course of the year and look back at our time here and know that we put in a lot of work that will help us over the course of the season."
For many players currently in camp, the intensity of preseason is quite familiar. The rookies, however, are facing something a bit new.
The Revs are currently taking a look at four recent college graduates. Goalkeeper Matt Turner (Fairfield), defender Dominic Samuel (Southern New Hampshire), and forwards Michael Gamble (Wake Forest) and Femi Hollinger-Janzen (Indiana) are all vying for a contract. Defender Jordan McCrary (UNC) has already put pen to paper.
The jump to MLS can be daunting for many former college standouts, but the veterans are there to provide support.
"We just try to make them feel as comfortable as possible," Tierney explained. "We try to have them understand the way that we try to play and the way that we try to work as quickly as possible. It’s different from a college-type environment in terms of how hard we train and the things we’re asked to do tactically."
Between the grueling training sessions, the players do get some time to themselves. Some choose to watch movies while others hit the golf course. Even during these moments of freedom, however, the players know that they will soon return to the field.
"I think we’re going to see 13 Hours and grab some dinner and just hang out as a team," Tierney said of his Saturday plans. "It will be nice to get a little change of scenery but we're back [Sunday] with the fitness test."