Preseason training is one thing but NYCFC are ready to take to the field for a proper test, according to Khiry Shelton.
Jacksonville University provide the opposition for the first game of 2017 on Thursday night and Shelton is in a positive frame of mind.
The NYCFC winger is entering his third year at the club after joining in the 2015 SuperDraft and he’s ready to take on an even greater role in the coming MLS season.
Khiry told NYCFC.com: “It’s great to have a chance to play a game – it’s what we strive for as players. Sometimes training is tough and that’s how it has to be at this stage but we’re really looking forward to getting onto the field.
“It’s been great here so far – we’re getting familiar with a few of the new faces we’ve got with us, working hard and having a bit of fun too.
“Coming back from last year, we’re fine tuning the things we did last year.
“It’s obvious that we have the benefit of a full year under Patrick and the rest of the coaching staff and having an idea of what he wants – it’s a blessing to have him here.
“We’ve got a lot to learn but we’re really enjoying it.”
As an NYCFC original, Khiry is another player who has taken on more responsibility for bringing in the younger members of the squad on preseason.
Shelton says that this aspect of being a professional comes naturally to him.
Shelton said: “When you come in here, you’re a little bit nervous and your emotions will take over sometimes but every day they will take on a little bit more responsibility and learn.
“It’s my personality to try to help the new players to settle in and get to know every single one of them.
“[On Jonathan Lewis} I would just tell him to take as much as he can in – all of the information will be thrown at him and he should just digest it and have fun. The first year is a challenge and it’s not always the most fun situation to be in – so far he’s impressed me.
“He’s antsy, he’s eager to get going and it’s good to have him around. He’s a little goofball.”