January 28th, 2008 (corrections made on Jan 30)
Well the first practice of 2008 was this morning. I traveled out there to watch them stretch, run, do some drills and rotate through two 5v5 games.
When I got there they had rosters of the players with their numbers. Which I am sure will change later. I’ll list some here. Espinoza was 45, Healy 39, Leathers 23, Marquess 36, Ibrahim Kante(trialist) 44 and William 32. McKenzie was there, but I don’t recall his #. Arze wasn’t there, he’s the one that signed with Vancouver. I am not sure if Gray was there. The supplemental keeper, Kartunen, wasn’t there either. Boris Pardo (spelling?), the league keeper, was at the session and there was a redheaded keeper there too(no idea who he was).
There were some that did not practice with the team but did their own workouts: Arnaud, Sealy and Jewsbury. And I guess Kronberg too, as he was with the keepers but wasn’t in the 5v5 games. Ryan Pore also didn’t practice, he isn’t allowed to run around until they find out what’s wrong.
Players that weren’t at the practice were Will John, Jimmy Conrad and Chance Myers. But also Eloy Colombano wasn’t present – maybe it has to do with his visa? And no, Ivan Trujillo was not there but I think he’ll be with the team in Florida.
Kevin Harman’s hair is bleached and really short. Also Kevin looks to have thinned up a bit, by maybe 20 pounds or so. He looked leaner but more fit than last year. Ryan McMahen was out there going full board so he looks to be recovered. Overall the players touch wasn’t great and it took a bit to see some good football but it eventually came and was fun to see.
The 5v5 teams were split up pretty evenly with Wizards mainstays and new draftees and last seasons reserves. For the new guys I thought that Healy and Marquess looked pretty good. Leathers seemed to be on the same page as the rest of the guys. Espinoza looke a bit out of place pretty often but also some great plays. Ibrahim Kante, this dude is huge, he listed at 215 and 6-3. His touch was off and on. I did not get to see William Yomby play in 5v5 but he’s the tallest field player at 6-4 (only Kronberg taller).
The guys were going all out in their games too. The current roster players did pretty well, I got to see a lot of Morsink and Marinelli (they were on the same team) and they were working well together.
Ok, funny story time. Last year I went to a Sprint Campus practice and took pictures of Carlos Marinelli and basically broke the story that it was Marinelli that KC brought back with them from Argentina. Curt Onalfo knew about it and thought it was great that fans were interested to that level. No big deal. So today, I am talking with Robert (Cauldron President) on the phone and talking about practice. The team gathers around Curt, etc. I am relaying this to Robert and tells me that Curt is probably going to tell them to stay away from me and even point me out. All joking, right. Well, not a minute later Curt turns and points in my direction and every single player turns and LOOKS RIGHT AT ME. My heart started fluttering, my voice stuck in the middle of talking to Robert. I am thinking … Oh Shit. And just then Jack, Davy, Scott and Ryan Pore walk right by me. Silly me. Pretty funny though. I should have known I couldn’t be THAT important, let alone important 🙂
And a second funny story. This is the first time the players have gathered together, so I got from Ryan Pore that they were all still learning who was who on site, and even what their names were. Well, it proved out true in one game where Kerry Z and trialist Kante are on the same team. All throughout the games you hear first names being called out for passes, shots, to move, etc. Well, for Kante it was “hey you, big guy” from Kerry Zavagnin. That got a laugh from some of the front office staff that I was sitting with.
*previously Kante was referred to as McKenzie.*
You know how season ticket holders have 18 games in their ticket package. So, 15 home games and one is proably for a playoff game, a second if we host the conference finals. What’s the 3rd one for? Well, I was chatting with Greg Cotton about whether there would be any home friendlies before the season started. Thought it’d be great to have Atlas in town for a game – and I think they will play Atlas but I think it will be in Mexico. Greg says that it’s still in the planning stage but there will be an international friendly tournament hosted by KC in the middle of the season. Wow. Very, very nice. I am guessing that’s probably 2 games for KC. No real details yet, but hopefully soon.
That’s all I have for now. The practices for the rest of the week are open to the public also. I do have some pictures that I try to get linked here soon.
Here’s some Video of practice. It’s 30 seconds and not the best.
And here is my flickr account with pictures.