"The sun is shining!" exclaimed Philadelphia Independence head coach Paul Riley Tuesday afternoon before the team gathered on the field to start their second training session of the day.
Such was the first couple of days of this week's preseason training for the WPS expansion team. Weather was good, the snow was melting, and more players have arrived.
Fresh from their Algarve Cup victory with the national team were Heather Mitts, Lori Lindsey, and Amy Rodriguez, who had physicals on Monday and were not able to join the session that day. Same with Canadian national team goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc, who helped Canada win the title at the Cyprus Cup, and Lianne Sanderson from the English national team.
Sweden's Caroline Seger and Sara Larsson, who arrived the country Sunday evening, trained with the team Monday.
"I think [the training]'s been good. They've been practicing for one week and there's a lot of tired legs, but seems like a good team," observed Seger.
"This week is gonna be tough on the field and outside the field because we need to get together and learn from each other. So I think it's gonna be good."
Riley anticipates a full roster on Monday, March 15, with the arrival of Karina Marayuma from Japan and Hulmfridur Magnusdottir from Iceland.
"They will be both here, which will finish the squad off completely. And then it's just a matter of making the numbers down. We have to have 24 by next Monday, so we have to cut at least 6," Riley explained.
"Last week we basically did all attacking stuff, this week we'll probably do the same. It's very hard tactically to do anything until we get everybody in here. We're not planning any 11v11 games for another 2 weeks. So we really got 2 weeks of training and organization. I figured we'd spend this week just doing a lot of ball work, getting more comfortable with the ball, getting comfortable with each other, and then go into some functional, tactical stuff part of next week as we get closer to playing UNC and closer to playing Penn State."
B/R chats with Lindsey, Seger, Rodriguez, and LeBlanc at Tuesday and Thursday's training sessions.
The team will play against UNC on Saturday, March 20th, at 3 PM in the United Sports Training Center in Downingtown, PA. Click here to purchase tickets for this game.