Toronto FC's players returned to BMO Field early Monday morning to kick off the club's fourth preseason. Players underwent medicals and spent time in the gym before heading to workout at Lamport Stadium. They will spend this week in Toronto before leaving for Florida on February 8th.
VIDEO: Jim Brennan leads Toronto FC into preseason Monday.
Only players involved in Canada's game in Jamaica on Sunday were missing from the first day of training. Dwayne De Rosario, Ali Gerba, Nana Attakora and Julian de Guzman are all set to report back with the team on Tuesday.
Toronto Captain Jim Brennan is entering his 17th preseason as a professional. "The first few days when we are doing testing and running is a killer and I don't know anyone who enjoys preseason," he told Toronto FC TV.
After a disappointing end to the 2009 season, Brennan is looking forward to seeing how the squad shapes up under the guidance of new coach Preki. "It is going to be interesting to see how everything works out," he said. "We've got a fresh start with a new manager and players. It is going to be good and I am sure he has got a lot of new ideas that he wants to put forth through all of the players. It is a change and I think we need that."
While Brennan is a veteran of the team, TFC's 2010 SuperDraft pick Zac Herold has arrived for the first preseason of his professional career. "This is all new to me and I am excited," he said. "I've been getting ready for the last few weeks and I just got back from being with the U.S. Under 20s in Mexico so I can't wait to get started."
Stefan Frei was in Herold's position last year. The goalkeeper had an impressive rookie season and is determined to keep developing in year two. "The expectations are there and I want to do well and work for my spot."
"I am really excited because I see big things happening with this team and I am excited to be part of it. I've been waiting for preseason to start for almost three months now and I can't wait to get back out there on the pitch," said the Swiss shot-stopper.
Another player entering his sophomore season is Sam Cronin. The 23-year-old Wake Forest product made 27 league appearances in 2009. "We've got high expectations and are ready to get to work," he said. "During the offseason I took some time off and went back home for a bit. I had a great trip to Kenya. I was able to get away for a bit but also have time to get back to work and come back here in good shape."
O'Brian White is another player who has been working hard throughout the winter. After sitting out last preseason recovering from an ACL injury, the striker is determined to take full advantage of his return to fitness.
"Last year I didn't join everyone until later in preseason so I am glad to be here from the beginning now," he explained. "Over the break I was in Connecticut training for a bit so I feel good and I am just ready to practice now. It has been a long time so it is good to come back and start preparing for the season."