After more than a month of international duty, Crew SC midfielders Justin Meram and Romain Gall are finally ready to begin their preparation for the 2015 MLS season. Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter gave both players rest following Meram's play in the AFC Asian Cup with Iraq and Gall's participation in the CONCACAF U-20 Championship with the United States. Midfielder Wil Trapp is set to return to Columbus Monday evening following a month in U.S. Men's National Team camp.
Givem that all three are fit following extended stays with their respective National Teams, Berhalter plans on easing the trio into training sessions ahead of the club's trip to Austin on Thursday.
"Justin, Wil and Romain had unique situations where they were playing most of the winter," Berhalter explained. "Romain we gave completely off last week, we sent him back to have some vacation. Justin has had last week off. And Wil, we’re going to give most of this week off. He’ll join us in Austin on a limited participation basis.
"It’s just trying to get guys on the same page and have their workloads similar. It’s a long year. Our goal is to be fresh towards the end of the season."
For Meram and Gall, their first day back with Crew SC brought a wave of excitement to be back in the groove of things.
"It was like the first day of school for me," said Meram. "I was up early, just wanted to get here and be with the guys, the coaches. I’m real excited about this year. It’s exciting with the rebranding, the new players. It’s my fifth year. I’ve got to be ready and be a leader this preseason."
Added Gall: "I’m just happy to get back with the team and start putting the work in."
For Meram, who arrived back in the States on January 31 after 45 days in the Middle East and Australia, the battle against jet lag has been a brutal one. After a week of waking up as early as 4:00 a.m., Meram says things are starting to feel normal again.
"Being on that side of the world for about 45 days, when I got back… I couldn’t believe how much my body just wouldn’t adapt," he said. "The last two days have been the most normal, but still I’m wide awake in the morning and can’t really get back to sleep."
Despite being an early riser now, the winger feels fit and ready to go in training.
"I felt sharp today, I felt quick," he said after Monday's session at SuperKick in Lewis Center. "I was hungry, just excited to be back. We’ll tell in the given weeks, in the next part of preseason how my body’s going to be.
"I’m sure they’re going to monitor me on a different scale, and just prepare for the season."