To say day five of NYCFC’s preseason camp in Jacksonville has been busy would be a gross understatement!
Thank You, Josh!
Our fifth day in Florida began with the news that Josh Saunders would be departing for Orlando City following a two-year association with the club.
Both Claudio Reyna and Patrick Vieira expressed in their accompanying quotes that finding the right a new home that suited Josh was crucial by way of thanks to the goalkeeper for his service in these first two years of NYCFC.
A popular figure among fans, Saunders’ walks around the field after games became a Yankee Stadium tradition looked forward to by our supporters and, as Claudio said, he’s been a big part of some of the club’s most memorable moments.
We’re sure he’ll create more special memories for Orlando supporters – just hopefully not at our expense on the opening day of the 2017 season!
Immediately after that announcement, the team were back to business on the training field for a session which looked particularly exhausting, involving various technical and physical exercises.
There was a newcomer too in the shape of Miguel Camargo, our new Panamanian international who took part in this first part of the session.
Patrick’s voice was omnipresent throughout, urging the players to keep up the intensity as they performed laps of the pitch, met headers, vaulted obstacles, cushioned volleys, sprinted, jogged and leapt as the sun gradually punctured through the clouds.
Following this, a series of one on ones and two on twos took place in the final third of the field which made for fascinating viewing.
In one, Khiry Shelton drew an involuntary “WHOAH” from this mouth as he beat his man and curled the ball around the goalkeeper into the upper 90 from 25 meters.
A screamer which you can (sortof) see here at 1:09!
Jack Harrison was in a rich vein of form, too, scoring a couple of worldies of his own and Andrea Pirlo produced the outstanding pass of the drill, with a beautiful little flick to David Villa.
All in all, some of the most entertaining stuff you’ll see in a training session!
The players then split into two teams for a scrimmage which also produced some great soccer and Tommy McNamara was once again on the scoresheet with a well-taken finish.
You can’t stop the T-Mac Express right now.
"Good work today everyone" was Patrick's final address of the morning.
After training, we announced the signing of Alexander Callens from Numancia – a defender with a good reputation in the game following his six years in Spain and international appearances for Peru.
Upon signing, the 24-year old declared that he’d “pull the claws out” and “leave everything out on the field”.
He’ll do for us!
Following his first footsteps with NYCFC will be interesting over the coming weeks – we’ll also be sure to sit down with him to hopefully get more brilliant soundbites about claws.
When you also factor in all of the trialists and unsigned draft picks out here with us, it certainly is a young group.
Khiry Shelton is still a youngster himself at 23 but, as one of the longest-serving players in the team, he feels a responsibility to ingratiate the newcomers into the group.
When we caught up with him after day four, he told NYCFC.com: “That’s my personality, to welcome them to the club and get to know every single one of them.”
We’ll have that full interview up for you to read very soon.
Our Preseason Journal will return on Monday as preparations for our trip to Ecuador step up a notch!