Like Justin Morrow and Collen Warner did last winter, Quillan Roberts is spending some time in Germany this off-season.
The Toronto FC goalkeeper has linked up with the Werder Bremen under-23 squad for a week-long training stint. The club’s connection with former Reds midfielder and Bremen assistant coach Torsten Frings helped pave the way for Roberts to train with the Grün-Weißen, like Morrow and Warner did last year.
Roberts made 15 starts for Toronto FC II last season, registering a record of 3-7-5 with four clean sheets for the first-year USL franchise. The 21-year-old made the league team of the week twice.
Personnel moves made by the MLS club last week have provided a major opportunity for Roberts and fellow young shotstopper Alex Bono. With Joe Bendik and Chris Konopka not expected to return to TFC after their options were declined, a full-time position with the first team is up for grabs.
TFC Goalkeeper coach Jon Conway hopes Roberts can build off his strong 2015 campaign.
“Q has done a great job of continually learning what it’s like to be a professional goalkeeper,” said Conway.
“This encompasses several things: his training and diet habits, his work in the gym and the rest he needs when he goes home for the day. All of these facets, when learned and managed properly, will translate to better performances on the field.”
The club’s relationship with Frings played a major role in the decision to send the Brampton native to Germany.
“Knowing that we have someone there in Torsten to look in on Q and make sure his training stint is as comfortable as possible allows [Roberts] to purely focus on the training and getting better,” said Conway.
While Morrow and Warner definitely benefited from their time in Bremen, this is a major opportunity for Roberts to gain insight and knowledge in a country known for producing top flight keepers.
“It’s the nuances and the style of coaching that changes depending on the country and coach’s philosophy,” notes Conway.
“Working with the Werder Bremen goalkeeper coach Manuel Klon, especially in a country like Germany who have been producing high level goalkeepers for decades, I hope Q picks up some tips, skills, techniques that he can translate to his game and make him a better goalkeeper for us in 2016.”