As MLS officially hits the offseason, a number of players are overseas for – or have already returned from – training stints as they look to stay fresh for 2014.
And whether it’s La Liga club Atlético Madrid or English Premier League side West Brom, there are some pretty big clubs on the list.
According to the Columbus Crew, Homegrown midfielder Wil Trapp took advantage of his new coach’s connections in the Netherlands to get set up with PEC Zwolle of the Dutch Eredivisie, the first club of the Crew’s new sporting director and head coach Gregg Berhalter.
Trapp certainly deserves a break, after playing in the U-20 World Cup this past summer for the US national team and then starting the final 16 matches for the Crew upon his return, but he may be looking to impress his new boss.
New Toronto FC striker Bright Dike was reportedly headed for a stint with Celtic FC after the season ended in late November. The move makes sense for Dike, who was out most of the season after a preseason ACL tear and then made just seven appearances for TFC after he was traded there in August.
D.C. United goalkeeper Bill Hamid jumped the pond as soon as his regular season ended, according to the team, spending a week training with West Brom. The Washington Post's Steven Goff also confirmed the trip via Twitter.
The Chicago Fire and new head coach Frank Yallop also sent two of his young midfielders, Dilly Duka and Victor Pineda, to Europe, as they hooked up with La Liga club Atlético Madrid for a week-long training stint. Their spell ended on Dec. 6, but Yallop was happy they got the experience.
“This will allow them to continue to develop as we gear up for the 2014 season,” Yallop said. "... We’re fortunate to offer this option to our players."
LA Galaxy Homegrown forward Jack McBean made his time overseas count. According to LA Galaxy Insider, the 18-year-old was able to spend two one-week training periods each with League One side Wolverhampton Wanderers – the team that gave Robbie Keane his start – and Football League Championship club Blackburn Rovers.
Goalkeeper Ryan Meara of the Supporters’ Shield champion New York Red Bulls is set to return Friday from a more than two-week long training stint with Championship side Charlton Athletic, according to the team. The 23-year-old ‘keeper is looking to make a case for himself after not starting in any regular-season matches this past year for the New York Red Bulls. He posted a 9-5-4 record in his rookie season in 2012 berfore suffering a season-ending injury in August.
Meara wasn’t the only Red Bulls player to train in England. Red Bulls Academy product Santiago Castaño joined him to pick up a week of training with EPL side Swansea City, according to a report at EmpireOfSoccer.com. He also tweeted about his experience: