It is still early on in training camp, but with a mere 31 days until opening day, the inculcation of LAFC ideals is in full swing and the intensity on the pitch has been picking up more every day.
“It's best when you have to fight every training session, every week, for a starting position,” said LAFC defender Tristan Blackmon. “That's what pushes you every day, knowing that you have somebody to go against - somebody to hold you to a standard. I think you get the best out of guys when there's that internal competition.”
The squad is gearing up for their first official intra-squad scrimmage of the 2021 preseason on Friday, and though it is just among teammates, it will serve as a first indication as to where competitions for various positions stand.
LAFC Head Coach Bob Bradley is happy with the early season work put in from his team.
“We’ve had a very good start to preseason. Every day, you can see the guys pushing things harder, and the tempo is getting faster,” added Bradley. The way of establishing ideas and getting guys sharp is still early, but the progress and the mentality of the group has been fantastic.”
The LAFC Way
Bob Bradley and the entire coaching staff have often stressed LAFC’s strong on-pitch identity. Real football ideas and an aggressive style has been the hallmark of the Club’s identity since first taking the pitch in 2018, and those ideals have not shifted moving into the new season.
“The message [to the new players] first and foremost is the attractive style of football. Everyone that comes here must understand that we are a team that not only wants to win, but we always want to do showing great quality,” added midfielder Eduard Atuesta. “In our short history, we’ve shown we’ve reached finals and although we’ve lost them, I think it speaks volumes to what we have been able to accomplish, and the way we have done so – dominating every tournament we have participated in.”
The Kids Are Alright
Even though the Black & Gold fielded the youngest average age starting lineup in MLS last year, a large number of those young players thrust onto the pitch have yet to experience what it is like to take part in a full season of a typical LAFC training atmosphere.
The pandemic created a shortened 2020 season, with little room to fully establish necessary training times, but the ability by a lot of these players to pick up LAFC’s ideas is already showing.
“We're always excited for young players or new players to come in and start to get a hang of the way we train every day,” said Bradley. “The veterans do a really good job of helping guys understand some details and one of the big expectations is that guys can pick up ideas. That they're open to new things, and the response from a lot of the young guys in the early part has been really good.”