Gregg Berhalter – US national team manager – stoic look
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How the US men's national team uses fitness data to not overload players

The cooperation between international and club teams has always been tricky to manage. With different goals on both sides of the coin, tempers can tend to get hot sometimes if something goes awry.

Of courses, teams across the world are working to ensure that doesn't happen and the US men's national team is no different. On Wednesday during the Seattle Sounders' Soccer Analytics Conference, USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter outlined what the US — and the club teams USMNT players play for — do to make sure all players don't leave camp with too much stress on their bodies.

He explained before a player arrives at USMNT camp, his team receives the previous four weeks of fitness data from the club. Coupled with understanding travel issues, this helps to sketch out each player's load during the camp.

"You have your tactical objectives that you want to achieve, but you also know that the loads of training are going to be very important for optimizing performance on matchday. So you're going to have to make sacrifices," Berhalter said when answering a question from an attendee.

When you have a player coming into camp who's had a tremendous [fitness] load the week before and who's traveled eight hours — for example on a plane and there's a six-hour time difference or greater than that — you're going to have to make concessions."

The kinds of concessions he's talking about include holding a player out of a certain portion of training sessions or even substituting a player out of a game. One example included the Venezuela match prior to last year's Gold Cup when he knew before the match two substitutions had to be made at halftime due to each player's load.

Gregg Berhalter talks with Michael Bradley | USA Today Sports Images

Of course, instincts play a factor in any decision-making in regards to playing time, but he later explained what another real-life example could look like.

"If I'm if getting word from the [high performance department] that Jordan Morris has just played three games, two of them have been on turf. He played 90 minutes of each of the games [and] he's coming into our camp. He's acute, he's chronic. His load is really high right now and we're concerned about him."

My instincts say that I think he's going to be fine. That's what my instincts say. I would never do something like that. I would trust data enough in that situation to say, here's his level of participation based on what the data's telling us and stick by that."