If only for a few days, Crew SC is back in Columbus after two weeks in Lakewood Ranch, Fla. for preseason training. Spending the next few days at SuperKick in Lewis Center, Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter is pleased with the progress his side has made so far in preseason.
"The trip was great, it was really good," he said of the Lakewood Ranch camp. "The guys worked extremely hard. We were fortunate to have almost 100 percent participation throughout the camp, which is rare in that type of environment with a lot of fitness and a lot of hard sessions. It was condition-based and going over the system, going over how we play and what we want to emphasize. It was more focused on offensive movements."
Unlike his first season in Columbus, Berhalter has been able to spend less time teaching his system and devote more of his training sessions to perfecting his tactical approach this preseason.
"We’re right where we want to be," he said. "From a fitness standpoint, we’re right there. From a tactical standpoint, we still have a little ways to go, but the progress is good. In terms of the new guys learning what we’re doing, we’re confident with that. We’re in a good spot.
"A lot of the guys know the system, so there’s a lot less teaching to be done. You have to teach five guys instead of 30 guys like last year. From that side, we’re a little bit ahead. We want to integrate some new ideas and some new concepts, so that takes time as well, but we feel like we’ve made some concepts."
Remarkably, there have been no injuries thus far in camp. A short illness causing midfielder Mohammed Saeid to miss a single session has been the only hiccup for Crew SC.
"No one has [picked up any injuries]," Berhalter said. "Knock on wood, we were fortunate to have full participation every session."
Crew SC travels to Austin, Tex. on Thursday for the ATX Pro Classic where the club will compete against USL PRO-affiliate Austin Aztex, along with MLS sides FC Dallas and D.C. United.