Friday, March 13, 2009

Getting Ready for the MLS Season

It is important to pick the right location and appropriate conditions for the best physical results, so I choose Big Bear Moutain, one of Southern California’s largest peaks. I stayed four days in a different environment than what I’m usually used to, where the weather conditions were 35 degrees at an altitude of over 7,000 feet.

Day One: I started with light training, due to the fact that I was in a different environment and allowed my body can little by little adjust to the conditions. My warm-up consisted on 15 minutes of dynamic flexibility, with abdominal crunches, hand to foot flexibility repetitions, and leg squats. After warming up, my body was ready for the next step.
My run consisted of 40 minutes at 50 percent, in which I felt my body was adjusting to the climate, and with every mile I felt stronger. I ran approximately 3 ½ miles. To finish my training session I continued my stretching exercise for 20 minute - simple straight leg stretches, side lunge adductions, and overhead reaches.

Day Two: I increased my training intensity and my warm-up was different compared to the first day. I did running sequences like forward sprints, backward sprints, and lateral agility maneuvers for 20 minutes. After that I ran for 30 minutes up the mountain, approximately 2 ½ miles. I choose a different incline from the first day to increase workout intensity and test my leg strength resistance. My cool-down consisted about the same as the first day.

Day Three: I returned to the flat ground, like the first day and I started with warm-up exercises that stretched my muscles to take away some of the soreness that I had form the previous day. Such as hamstring stretches, kneeling quadriceps stretches, and Lying adductors. I ran high intensity interval duration with 10 repetitions of 400 meters at 70 percent and recovered 2 minutes every repetition. My cool-down consisted of jogging for approximately 20 minutes to finish my session.

Day Four: This was my recuperation day based around my aerobic recovery training for about 30 minutes. I did all types of exercises: forward lunges, 1x20 reps each leg with 30 seconds rest, backward lunge 1x 20reps each leg, push-up knee to chest 3x15 reps and with 45 second rest between sets. After this exercise I jogged for 20 minutes in flat ground at 40 percent to finish my last section of four days of training.

Training under these conditions is going to help your body deal with different altitude changes and weather conditions without affecting your performance. I hope this can help some other referees for their training as we move towards the MLS season.

- Baldomero Toledo

Checking in from T&T - "Come on USA!"

Let me just start by saying “COME ON U.S.!” This was something I would yell in my room as I followed our team on ussoccer.com's MatchTracker. My roommate from Honduras joined me cheering during the second game. (It took him a little getting used to but he came around). The referees were told that if your country made it thru to the semifinal round then those referees would be sent home. This is kind of a double-edge sward, but it did not stop me from cheering on our boys. I was happy to see our boys not only in the semis but now in the finals……COME ON U.S.!

Because you might get sent home after one game, you as a referee have to make sure you impress in what could be your only chance. The game that we were appointed to, Trinidad & Tobago vs Costa Rica, went very well. Our game was sold out with standing room only mostly because the home team was playing and needed to win. The game ended in a draw 0-0 and T&T played with a man advantage for 39 minutes bu the ome team couldn’t finish the game. We got very good reviews from the bosses, but knew we wouldn’t get another game as a referee. We were appointed to T&T/Mexico where I was the 4th and CJ was Assistant Referee. After this game we had a late night dinner back in the hotel and at this time they handed you an itinerary. This is there was of saying you are going home and my flight was at 7 a.m. My eparture was dark and early from the hotel, 4:30 a,m. as this was an international flight.

COME ON U.S.!!!!!

- Ricardo Salazar