Sean Johnson hasn’t spent much time away from soccer this offseason. The Chicago Fire goalkeeper left for Europe before his club was even done with winter training, heading to Germany in November to participate in Caleb Porter’s first US U-23 national team camp.
The 22-year-old was back in Europe before long, training at English Premier League club Everton from Dec. 4-10. He didn’t even make it back to Chicago following his stint with the Toffees, going straight to Florida for another U-23 camp that will wrap on Friday.
Johnson will take some time off for the holidays, but he doesn’t anticipate having much more of a break before the Fire opens preseason camp in January. That’s just fine with the Atlanta native, who wants to keep improving ahead of what will be his third MLS season.
“It’s perfect,” Johnson told MLSsoccer.com by phone from Florida on Sunday. “I don’t like to have too much of a break, I like to keep going and keep doing what I love. Getting better, traveling and playing with the U-23s and training at Everton I think has been great.”
Johnson particularly enjoyed training at Everton, where he got to practice with US national team No. 1 Tim Howard, national team backup Marcus Hahnemann and US goalkeeper coach Chris Woods.
“It was great,” Johnson said. “The learning just never stops. Being there and being around those guys and seeing how they carry themselves and how they train was just good to see. I’ll be taking back some of those things [to Chicago].”
Johnson jumped right into Everton’s training environment, saying that he fit right in on the field during his week at the Liverpool-based club.
“I think it was good training,” he said. “I was able to settle in, hop right in and I don’t think I fell behind. I think the week of training was definitely one of the best I’ve had.”
Now Johnson is striving to impress Porter at this week’s pre-Olympic qualifying camp. He played in the team’s intra-squad scrimmage on Sunday, coming in for D.C. ‘keeper Bill Hamid at halftime and making what observers have called a very impressive save.
“It’s all been going well,” Johnson said. “You always want to do the most you can to improve yourself and help your team and I think I’ve been doing that this offseason.”