Having left a wet and wintry Lower Mainland on the weekend, Vancouver Whitecaps FC have settled into their offseason training base in Ventura Beach, California.
Since Sunday, Teitur Thordarson's squad have already had three on-field training sessions and two gym sessions to begin their 12-day training camp at Oxnard College in Southern California.
"The sessions have been quite good so far," Thordarson said from Ventura Beach. "There has been plenty of quality and a high level of intensity in our sessions, which I'm very happy about. In training, we have mixed our offseason work with things we tend to work on during the season. This includes training in the shape that we play and seeing how the players fit into our system, especially the new faces. It's been very interesting so far."
The 'Caps have been joined by three new faces in Southern California this week. 2010 MLS Expansion Draft selections Jonathan Leathers, Shea Salinas, and John Thorrington have all started training with their new teammates. USA World Cup star Jay DeMerit is expected in Ventura Beach on Saturday, while experienced MLS goalkeeper Joe Cannon is set to report on Sunday. Midfielder/striker Atiba Harris is currently unavailable as he and his wife are celebrating the recent birth of their first child.
With six new players joining Whitecaps FC this month, Thordarson was keen to assimilate his new additions as soon as possible. "Having a camp like this was especially important, as it gives us the chance to learn about our new players, both on and off the pitch," he stated. "For me, that is extremely valuable, as we start preseason early in the New Year."
This week's schedule will include a behind-closed-doors scrimmage versus their camp hosts in Ventura County Fusion on Thursday. Winners of the 2009 United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League championship title, the Fusion should provide a good test for Thordarson's squad, as the Icelandic coach and his staff continue to make important player evaluations ahead of next year's inaugural MLS campaign.
Stay logged on to whitecapsfc.com for more coverage of the men's team's offseason training camp in Southern California.
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