LA's Landon Donovan challenges Toronto's Luis Silva.
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TFC's Silva reaps dividends from training stint in Germany

TORONTO – Toronto FC midfielder Luis Silva put his offseason to good use.

Fresh off an impressive rookie season, the attacker out of UCSB spent two weeks training in early December with FSV Frankfurt of Germany’s 2.Bundesliga and returned with plenty of positive things to say.

“It was awesome,” Silva told before the team departed for Florida to continue preseason training. “The intensity the players were playing with, the joy they play with every day in practice. It is fantastic.”

And in the early preseason in Toronto under the bubble at the club’s training facility in Downsview, Silva’s trip showed dividends in his emergence as one of the better players in camp.

“It definitely helped me gain confidence,” Silva said. “I think playing at that high level, knowing that I can play at that level helped me a lot with my confidence.”

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Between his training stint and the two games he watched, the 24-year-old noticed a difference in style, too.

“I think over there it’s more technical,” he said. “You get more space on the ball. You have to make quicker decisions as well. But it’s pretty much the same, it’s soccer.”

On the other hand, the German team’s training facility was no match for Toronto FC’s training complex that opened last year.

“It’s not as good as this facility, I think,” he explained. “This facility has gone beyond. Compared to many other teams, even teams in Europe, we have one of the best facilities.”

It probably didn't help that being from Los Angeles, Silva is not used to snow. In Toronto, the club trains indoors, under a bubble erected over one of the artificial turf fields during the winter. But with the German club, training was outdoors when it snowed.

“It was fine, we had jackets and everything,” Silva said. “It’s just that the pitch is different because there’s snow, the way the ball bounces and all that stuff. I had to adapt to that but it was not a big deal.”

The No. 4 overall pick in the 2012 SuperDraft will hope to parlay his newfound experienced into improving upon last year's strong campaign, where he tallied five goals and five assists in 30 league games, including 22 starts.

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