First Day of Preseason Brings New Culture, New Faces
As is the tradition for Orlando City, the team has hit the road for its first two weeks of training camp. The Lions took to the gym on Monday to begin their first of two weeks full of two-a-day training sessions at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.
The early-morning session to start the day was an intense group workout to set the tone for the team's first on field work in the afternoon. 12 new faces, acquired this offseason, got their first introductions to the team.
"I think it was great this morning to see the intensity of the work," Head Coach James O'Connor said. "I think it will take a little bit of time for the new players to feel comfortable and to feel at ease. It was great to see the encouragement that all of the players were giving each other because they worked pretty hard this morning and we'll trek on again this afternoon and they'll work hard again. It was a good first session."
Whether it's in a team meeting, in the gym or on the field, O'Connor plans to use every moment with the team to establish a new culture.
"We spend a lot of time speaking about the culture we want to create," O'Connor said. "The players are showing instances and examples of what expected behaviors we are looking for, but we've come here to work. So when we're working we expect high-intensity work from individuals and collectively supporting each other and making sure we finish preseason in a really strong position."
With this being O'Connor's first preseason at the helm of Orlando City, the players can sense the culture shift.
"I'm really excited," second-year midfielder Chris Mueller said. "I'm really excited to see the culture that we are going to start building and how we are building as a team. A lot of new faces and it's exciting to see a lot of good young players, a lot of good guys. Just excited to get going."
With packed schedules and intense training sessions for the next two weeks, bringing the team together away from home was an important aspect of O'Connor's plan. One example of the camp's intensity is the team's early, 6:30 a.m. daily breakfast arrival.
"If we are doing that in Orlando then guys are getting up at different times and traveling different distances. This way we are controlling the environment," said O'Connor. "I think it's important that when you're training as hard as the players are going to be that the food, the rest, recovery and the environment is controlled and that gives us an opportunity, by coming here, to control all of those aspects."
The Lions will close camp next Saturday when they take on the New York Red Bulls in a closed-door scrimmage. You can follow the team at camp via Orlando City's social media accounts.
• Discuss this story on the Major League Soccer message board...
Major League Soccer Stories from January 21, 2019
- First Day of Preseason Brings New Culture, New Faces - Orlando City SC
- Whitecaps FC Announce 2019 Preseason Schedule Including Camps in Hawaii and California - Vancouver Whitecaps FC
- LAFC Announces 2019 Preseason Schedule - Los Angeles FC
- United Sign Antonio Bustamante to a Homegrown Contract - D.C. United
- Earthquakes Announce 2019 Preseason Schedule - San Jose Earthquakes
- New York Red Bulls Set Preseason Camp Roster - New York Red Bulls
- Abe Valbuena Set to Compete in eMLS League Series One on Tuesday - Orlando City SC
- LyesMTL in Los Angeles for eMLS League Series One - Montreal Impact
- FC Cincinnati's 2019 Promotional Schedule Announced - FC Cincinnati
- Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report - OSC Original by Dan Krieger
The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.
Other Recent Orlando City SC Stories
- City Furniture and Orlando City Soccer Club Launch "Delivering Hope" Program, Donating Beds to 100 Kids at October 4 Pajama Party
- Orlando City SC to Expand Presence in Osceola County
- Orlando City SC Parts Ways with James O'Connor
- Orlando City Fall to Chicago Fire in Season Finale
- Storylines | City vs. Chicago Fire