The Kansas City Star reports Sporting Kansas City manager Peter Vermes likes how his team's training camp has gone so far. SKC has been sheltering from the cold indoors at the training facilities of the Kansas City Chiefs.
The veterans and new players have been brought up to speed as to how training works. Fitness levels are fine and injuries are few and minor at this point. Three notable players are absent due to U.S. Men's National Team duty and will join their club in Tucson, Ariz., sometime after the team arrives in the desert southwest Jan. 29.
Vermes told the Star he had to slow the team down a bit and that they were ahead in their training regimen. That's a good thing. Having an enthusiastic team is a plus this early in the season. Quality recruits can only mean players will be shuffled in and out in terms of tryouts and more players coming in.
An international player from Sierra Leone will join the team in Arizona once he gets a visa. The as-yet unnamed player has trained with countryman Kei Kamara before and the staff are familiar with the player.
Players to watch in training include the newest members of the team. Top draft pick and England native Dom Dwyer. How he fits into the offensive scheme will determine if he's a starter or even first off the bench early in the season. Cyprian Hedrick from Congo may also fill a need in the defense. Another player to watch is Stefan Antonijevic. The 6'6" defender will be a towering presence in the central defense and will add another dimension to Kansas City's back line. If he can win a starting spot early in the season, Sporting's defense on set pieces and crosses will be top notch.
Sporting will train in Arizona and Kansas City before playing preseason games in Florida in late February.
The defending top team in the Eastern Conference will begin its 2012 season March 10 on the road against D.C. United. By then, the roster will have been trimmed and a consistent starting XI will be in place.
William Browning played soccer for ten years growing up in the St. Louis area. He has been a fan of Sporting Kansas City ever since Major League Soccer starting playing in 1996.