The Offseason

I first want to acknowledge that I know it’s been quite some time since my last submission, and for that I apologize - it’s been a crazy last couple months. However, my absence provides me with loads of new material to share. 

While it may not be the most interesting subject matter in regards of how I think or what goes thru my mind, I initially started this blog in hopes of providing y’all, with an insight of what the day to day for a professional footballer is like - so here we go. 

For those unaware, we lost to the New York Red Bull’s II last November after a historic, record setting 2018 season. Once the final whistle blew during that match, the 2018 season was officially over and my offseason had begun. You can ask any professional from any sport about the offseason and they will more likely than not all say the same thing - its dreadfully boring while also extremely stressful as their contracts may have ended and their next opportunity is unknown. For me, things were a bit different this time around. 

I was fortunate enough to begin my negotiations and sign my MLS contract with FCC before the conclusion of our season; meaning that I would be able to enjoy my offseason while also focusing on what was just around the corner. 

I stayed in Cincinnati for 2-3 weeks after our season ended for a few reasons. For one, I needed to give my body and mind time to heal, relax and recuperate. I also wanted to spend time with my teammates that would soon be my ex-teammates as  not everyone would be making the transition with the club into 2019. We had a very special 2018 campaign with an extremely special group and before we all went our different directions, I wanted to spend time “decompressing” with the guys that were no longer teammates, but friends of mine for a lifetime. 

After spending a few weeks in Cincinnati with zero soccer responsibilities, I would then head back to Raleigh, NC to spend thanksgiving week with my family. After about 8 days at home, I would pack my bags again and head down to Charleston, SC for 2 weeks to start my offseason program. I have to admit, I was also going down to Charleston to enjoy some warmer weather, beach time, and time with close friends. 

My offseason program started with 10 days of training with a good friend of mine, Kenny Cooper, a retired professional whose career started with Manchester United and ended with playing for a few teams in MLS - Seattle, Dallas, and New York Red Bull’s. Kenny had proven success in the league, knew what it took to succeed, and knew what it took during the offseason to give yourself the best chance to come in and make an impact. I also reached out to a few teammates from my Charleston days and had them come out to get some work in prior to their preseasons. Like I said, once you share a dressing room together, whether it be for one season or multiple, you’re friends for a lifetime. 

From Charleston I would head to Philadelphia to spend a few days with Jimmy McLaughlin to train with him and a handful of other current and retired pros, representing both MLS and the USL. 

After a few days in Philadelphia, Jimmy, a mutual friend of ours, and I would head to Mexico for a week long much needed vacation. You can’t blame us for wanting to have a week of R&R after a ~10.5 month long season. If you’ve ever taken a trip to Mexico, you know what a week long vacation entailed; but if you haven’t, let’s just say our days consisted of sitting on the beach drinking Pina colada’s. 

After our 5 day break from reality, I would head back to Raleigh for a few days before heading down to Charlotte to spend time with my brother. This trip was similar to my Charleston trip in many ways. I was going down to train while also enjoying my free time away from soccer. I was able to meet up and spend time with many childhood friends as well as catch both of my favorite teams play - the Carolina Panthers and Charlotte Hornets.

I would head back to Raleigh a few days before Christmas to spend the holidays with my family and train with a few other pros, most of which were NCFC guys before returning back to Cincinnati in early January.

Once I got back to Cincinnati, it was go time. All my focus was on the year ahead. I got back and immediately started training with whoever else was in town prior to official start to preseason. 

And just like that, even though my offseason was filled with lots of travel, it was back to work. 

Hope y’all enjoyed my “abbreviated” summary of an offseason. I’ll hopefully have another submission here shortly on preseason and the beginning of our 2019 MLS season. Lastly, if you’ve made it this far and have a topic or subject that you would like for me to expand on, please don’t hesitate to reach out. You can message me on here at FaithFamilyFutbol.com or connect with me via Twitter @folasso.

Cheers!