Before the first training session in Club history on Monday, Bob Bradley gathered his LAFC squad in a conference room on the UCLA campus. He had a simple request before they embarked on a historic season.
“Come every day and show us your personality. Come every day with an open mind to understand the game and understand the things we want to try and do. Enjoy being here.” Bradley said.
Following the short meeting, Bradley and his squad took to the pitch for the first time. Designated Players Carlos Vela and Diego Rossi joined the likes of MLS veterans Benny Feilhaber, Laurent Ciman, and Jordan Harvey, along with MLS SuperDraft selections Joao Moutinho, Tristan Blackmon, Pol Calvet Planellas, and Jordan Jones, as Bradley put the squad through a spirited session.
“I think everybody’s excited, the veterans and the rookies,” said Feilhaber after the first session. “It’s good to see that kind of vibe. The first day of practice everybody understands it might not be as clean as you want it to be but if you can see that everybody is excited to be there, wants to try to improve, and do the right thing, that’s a big plus.”
Stationed at the center of the pitch with whistle in hand, Bradley halted training on occasion to instruct players. He made clear that setting a tone from the first day would be important to what was being built at the Club.
“The mindset for the coach is to find the right tone, right from the beginning … if I scream and yell, don’t take it wrong. If I put my arm around you, it’s because I love you and I want to help you,” Bradley said. “If we all understand each other and we’re all on the same page, then we make every day exciting, fun, and different. And we always try to make our football better.”
With many of his players having met for the first time that morning, Bradley was pleased with the first session as a whole.
“First practice was great. A lot of energy,” Bradley told the large gathering of media afterward. “You could tell ahead of time how excited everybody was to get started. We tried to give a little bit of an idea of how we want to play football and put some things on the field to see how they’d respond.
“I know we want to do something that is special and different. You got to come in everyday excited and ready to do your part."