It may be his second year as a professional, but for O'Brian White, preseason training is a new experience. After being picked fourth overall by the Reds in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft, the Toronto striker was unable to take part in the team's preparations for his rookie season due to an ACL injury.
A summertime recovery enabled him to make nine MLS appearances and score two goals, but with a full preseason under his belt for the first time, the 24-year-old hopes to make an even bigger impact this year.
"So far preseason has been good," he told Toronto FC TV at the club's training base in Orlando. "There has been a lot of hard training, but I am feeling great. It is not easy, but everyone is working hard and I have been getting a lot of support from my teammates."
"In college it is different because preseason only lasts for about two or three weeks, but here it is almost two months. I am working hard and have to bring it every day. The energy and the intensity are different. Everyone keeps pushing each other and we have to bring that mentality from practice into the games."
White has featured in all three of TFC's training matches so far, and believes he is getting stronger with each day of training. "It will be a building process for me and I have to keep getting stronger and fitter. I am taking preseason to do that so that I will be ready when the season starts," he explained.
"I want to do well this season, but I don't set a target of how many goals I want to score. I want the team to do well, and the first step is to make the playoffs."
White and his Toronto teammates arrived in Orlando late Thursday afternoon after wrapping up their time in Bradenton with a goalless draw against D.C. United on Wednesday. They trained on Thursday evening and twice on Friday and will now enjoy a couple of days off.
The Reds return to action when they play FC Dallas in the Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic on Thursday at 8:00 p.m.