FC Dallas notebook: Setting up camp

Johnson updates fans on what's going on at U.S. Soccer camp
FC Dallas forward Eddie Johnson is never content with his game. In fact, from his training sessions in California with the U.S. national team, the 20-year old told FCdallas.net that he continues to fine-tune and mold the skills that led to his breakout year in 2004. Players in different sports like Michael Jordan and Jerry Rice always enjoyed matching up against the best because through that competition they knew they were getting better as a player. With the competitive fire in him growing, Johnson feels the same way.

"Being a young player like I am and having the opportunity to compete with the players at this level is something that only can make you better," said Johnson. "I always look forward to coming into these camps because there are things that can be improved in your game and this is the environment to get better in."

Last season, Johnson said, Kansas City gave him fits in large part due to their stellar defense that yielded an MLS-low 30 goals against in 2004. Johnson can't seem to get away from those Wizards defenders, as both Jimmy Conrad and Nick Garcia are in camp. However, at a scrimmage last Thursday, Johnson went in with a determination to succeed.

"We had an intersquad scrimmage last Thursday and I played against Jimmy Conrad and Nick Garcia of Kansas City who I tend to struggle against in the MLS season," said Johnson. "Even though I didn't score again, I felt like I played extremely well as I made it a goal of mine to go in there and compete hard against those two guys. I had a couple good chances against them and was content with how I played."

The players are at this soccer camp in Carson, California (The Home Depot Center) until February 4 where they will then head to Miami to train for a few days and join the U.S. players from Europe. Arena will make the final decisions on the roster of 18 players that he will take to Trinidad and Tobago for their first match in the final qualifying round on February 9. Johnson believes in his heart that he will be there.

"Right now I definitely feel confident about my chances of making the roster," said Johnson. "I can't feel anything but confident when I keep coming into these camps because I'm getting to know the players a lot better and am becoming more and more comfortable in these surroundings each day."

2005 training camp begins Monday with physicals
2005 FC Dallas players will report to Dallas today for physicals and a team meeting at the Blue Sky in the Colony. The meeting will kickoff the 2005 training camp schedule for the team. Although times and places are not set in stone as of yet, the team will begin training in Dallas from February 1 - 5. Most of the week, the team would like to train at UTD beginning at 10 a.m., but the weather may force them to practice inside at Blue Sky. After getting February 6 off, Head Coach Colin Clarke will take his team to Florida from February 7 - 12. While in Florida, the team will look to scrimmage with the MetroStars on February 9 and Chicago on February 11. FC Dallas will then return to Dallas for two weeks of training and scrimmages scheduled with the University of Memphis on February 19 at UTD and with SMU on February 24 at SMU. For the second consecutive year, the team will then head to La Manga Spain for two weeks from February 26 - March 11.


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