Toronto FC arrived into Newport Beach, California on Saturday afternoon for the first phase of the 2017 preseason. Once settled, the Reds took to the field at UC Irvine for a light session to help unwind after the flight.
On Sunday, the Reds began the first session with a warm-up and moved into some defensive work and finished with a circuit of small sided matches under the warm California sun. To complete the first full day, the team went to Crystal Cove Beach to get in a run and some exercises on the beach followed by a dip into the Pacific Ocean for those willing to brave the waters as the setting sun provided a picturesque end to the second day in California.
Toronto FC’s Director of Sports Science Jim Liston said the time in California will allow the team to come together and build a solid base for the upcoming year “First camp is to get our draft picks and homegrown players to train with the first team. Secondly, it’s important to get a foundation with touches on the ball, change of speed and direction at a moderate to high level as we approach the season which is just six weeks away.”
The first two weeks or phase one is referred to as the Endurance Phase, “It doesn’t have the volume and intensity that we’d find during the year,” said Liston. “It allows us to build on it and break preseason down into three phases, two weeks each.”
As part of the schedule in California, the Reds will play in three matches. The first on Wednesday, February 1 against Ventura County Fusion at 3 p.m. PT. The second match will take place on Friday, February 3 against Steven Beitashour’s alma mater, San Diego State University also at 3 p.m. PT. The Reds will conclude the California leg of preseason with Cal State Fullerton on Sunday, February 5 at 12 p.m. PT. For Liston the early matches are an important part of the preseason preparations, “The coaches get an opportunity to see our new guys. It’s also an opportunity to get the guys that have been on the team for the past few years 30-45 minutes for the first couple of games just to work on early match fitness. We won’t move up to 60 and 90 minutes until the final week of preseason.”
Toronto FC will resume double session training on Monday.