Rookies in Germany: First team time

Monday, November 7, 2005 -- The team had earned Sunday and Monday off because of their result Saturday against FC Mainz. But the three of us (myself, Jay Nolly and Jamie Watson) didn't have today off because the fitness coach wanted to work with us to prepare us for the first team trainings.

We went straight to the weight room where we rode the bike for 10 minutes to warm up and then Coach Edward put us through a circuit of exercises that included working out both the upper and lower body. After our work in the weight room, we headed to the field where we did some juggling and passing exercises. Following that we ran some sprints with and without the ball. After about 45 minutes of this, the coach told us to get some water and I thought that we were done for the day! Unfortunately, I had gotten my hopes up too soon. We then moved to some shooting exercises, which seemed more like more fitness for Jamie and me. These exercises lasted about 30 minutes and then Edward told us that we were done for the day.

After practice, we went to eat lunch at a place that Clint Mathis had told us was one of the best Italian restaurants in town. We sat in one of the back rooms and were treated very well because the owner knew that we were friends of Clint's. The restaurant owner also had all the Hannover players' jerseys hanging up in the back of the restaurant and he had pictures with most of the players as well. After lunch we walked around the city center for a little while and then headed back to the hotel for some much needed rest before dinner. Tomorrow is our first day of training with the first team so check back for more updates on the team and our experiences here in Germany.

Tuesday, November 8, 2005 -- After a few days we have picked up a routine where we meet downstairs for breakfast at 8:30 a.m. We all basically eat the same thing every morning: yogurt, eggs and bread. I just can't imagine eating all that meat and fish they put out in the morning. Then we were off to our first practice with the first team. I think we all were a little nervous and excited at the same time. Once we were at the stadium I got my cappuccino from the players' lounge and watched soccer before meeting with the coach. The cappuccino machine is something that Real Salt Lake has to invest in because it is perfect for me in the mornings.

After the meeting with the coach (of course we didn't understand a single word) we found out that the team was going on a run and the goalkeepers were going to have training. I wasn't sure what the training was going to be like, but I soon found out how different they were. We really didn't work on any specific techniques, it was more let's see how far and high you could dive after the ball. Once the guys got back from the run we were done for the day.

After practice we decided that this was the day we were going to make our first trip into the city to have lunch by ourselves. After walking around for a bit I bumped onto this outside restaurant where they sell pizza and lamb sandwiches. The three of us sat down outside and Jamie got his fifth strike of the trip. While we were at lunch he threw a French fry to a pigeon. Soon enough there were about 7 pigeons around our table, I told him he shouldn't do that but that's like telling a 5-year-old kid not to do something. No more then 30 seconds later he throws another French fry to the birds and our lunch was over at that point. After that we found the car and headed back to the hotel to take a nap and watch T.V. before dinner.