Masks up, cleats laced, ball at our feet. As a community, we have all had to face many challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic but these challenges are what have brought us together. Today, we were able to bring some of our team together for the first time since quarantine began and as a USL2 franchise. Covid-19 wasn’t the only challenge that one of our players was facing. Nick Stremel, who is from Germany and stayed in San Antonio for the past couple of months due to the pandemic was struggling to get used to the “mountain air” we have here in Colorado. When asked how it feels to be back in training, all of the guys said that it felt amazing to be back on the ball in a professional environment. There were truly no words to express how good it felt. Yes, some of the “guys are blowing off rust” as Ben Shepherd put it, but with the work to come in the following weeks the team will be back in shape with the high level of intensity and competitive environment that they are capable of.
Today, the players were able to get some good touches in through the various drills that were run. Head Coach Elliot Prost started off the team with some rondo as the team was able to get some touches back under their feet as they warmed up for the rest of the training session. Coach Elliot and assistant coach Lewis Wilcox were able to get some touches in as well during this drill. They then transitioned into a technical drill that worked on their fundamentals, footwork, and additional touches. During this drill, the players were getting more comfortable with the ball that hadn’t been at their feet in some time. As the Rush USL2 team were preparing for the next drill, the field players and goalkeepers split to focus on their respective drills. Coach Elliot then transitioned the team to work on a transition and passing combination finishing drill while Cooper Erickson (Goalkeeper) was coached on his footwork, hand placement, and diving. During the GK training today, coach Lewis wasn't “looking for perfection, but looking for control”. Like the old saying, ‘practice makes perfect’. In the end, the team was brought together in a small sided 4v4 game to work on passing and movement as a team. The players were physically challenged in this game, because “there’s nothing like game fitness” like Ben mentioned. Ending on a good note, the team finished with a quick finishing drill to focus on the player’s technique.
After speaking to a few players after training, Ben mentioned that he made weights out of concrete, metal, and buckets while Aaron Martinez and Nick mentioned that their focus was on their fitness by running around their neighborhood everyday. Aaron went on to add how happy he was to meet the coaching staff, front office, and his teammates. That wraps up Colorado Rush’s first official practice as a USL2 franchise. Although it wasn’t how the team may have imagined it, Director of Operations Joe Webb reminded the team after training that “current professionals in the league are the ones that are able to adapt to adversity”.