Hawaii trip mixes team building, training for new-look Vancouver Whitecaps - InfoNews

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Hawaii trip mixes team building, training for new-look Vancouver Whitecaps

South Korea's midfielder Hwang In-Beom, left, controls the ball during the AFC Asian Cup group C soccer match between South Korea and Philippines at Al Maktoum Stadium in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on January 7, 2019. A new-look Vancouver Whitecaps are set to kick off the next phase of their pre-season. The team, including newly signed burgeoning South Korean soccer star Hwang In-beom, set off for Hawaii on Thursday, where they'll continue training camp and play a series of friendly matches. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Kamran Jebreili
January 31, 2019 - 5:25 PM

Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder Andy Rose isn't expecting to see much of the beach on his first trip to Hawaii this week.

Instead, he'll be sweating in the sun during workouts with his teammates as they continue preparing for the upcoming Major League Soccer season.

The squad wrapped up the first leg of preseason work in Vancouver on Thursday afternoon before boarding a flight and kicking off a trip that's part training camp, part team-building experience.

"There's so many new guys, it's really important that we all get to know each other off the pitch as well, start getting those sort of bonds as well," said Rose, who spent the last three years playing in the United Kingdom before the 'Caps signed him in December.

The 28-year-old is just one of the four new faces Vancouver picked up during the MLS' brief trade window last month.

The Whitecaps went on to sign another six players this month, including veteran Orlando City SC right back Scott Sutter and Hwang In-beom, a burgeoning South Korean soccer star.

Each new addition has come in ready and willing to work hard, Rose said.

"Everybody who's come in so far has been a really good person first and foremost," he said. "There's been no arrogance or anything like that. Guys have come in and ... they've wanted to get to know everybody's name, get to know each other. And the standard of training has been very high."

Doneil Henry, one of the remaining players from last year's Whitecaps team, agreed.

"We're bringing in players who are experienced but have good characters," said the defender, who's going into his second year with the club. "They're guys who are selfless, guys who want to win, guys who want to really bring to the team. So I think that's been really positive in the change room."

But creating chemistry that translates into on-field performances will take time, Henry said.

"Everything's going to gel together," he said. "It's going to take games, it's going to take mistakes, it's going to take knowing your teammates throughout the days of training."

Despite the flurry of activity, there are more signings still to come, 'Caps head coach Marc Dos Santos said after training Thursday.

It's unlikely the entire team will be together in Hawaii, he said, but eight players from the club's development program join the trip because the coach wants to evaluate the young talent.

"Taking the time to know them better. What can they be in the club, in the future," he said.

Hawaii will also see the group play their first exhibition games of the year. Dos Santos said he wants to see growth in his players over those contests.

"I want us to play preseason games like they count for points, to see the tactical growth in different moments of the game that we want to install in our model of play, to see flashes in the beginning of how we want to play," he said.

The level of play goes up in exhibition games, the coach added.

"You can train very well and very intense every day. But then what you cannot recreate as a coach, it's the rhythm of a real match, the pressures of a real match," he said. "If you are one month or two, three weeks training against the same players, you start getting used to it. It can become comfortable."

Games present different scenarios than team workouts, Rose said.

"Everything can look great in training but when it comes to game time, that's when you have to perform and switch on and make sure all the principles of play that you've been working on are apparent and flow well," he said. "We can't wait to get out there and compete."

News from © The Canadian Press, 2019
The Canadian Press

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