With an extra day to prepare for Sunday's match against Sporting Kansas City, Crew Head Coach Robert Warzycha decided to give his team a break from the daily training regimen on Wednesday morning. In lieu of training, the team went bowling as a team-building activity.
"Everything that we do is based on how we can get better as a team and do what is necessary for us to win the game," Warzycha said Wednesday afternoon.
"Team chemistry is just as important as fitness or anything else," the Head Coach continued. "I think it was a good time to bring everybody to bowling, because the guys that are injured that are not with the team every single day because they're in treatment and everything else, they were there too. To have the entire team together before the final stretch, before the end of the season, it was very important."
The team enjoyed a day without thinking about soccer.
"Sometimes, you need to spend time enjoying your teammates and your coaches," defender Sebastián Miranda explained. "It was avery good opportunity to maybe forget soccer and playing, and bond with your teammates. You can laugh. You can talk with your teammates and not talk about soccer, and try to enjoy [the team atmosphere] a little bit."
So, who was the best bowler on the team?
"After me, Netzo [Nemanja Vukovic] was a very big surprise," Miranda said with a laugh. "He was a big surprise."
The Crew will resume its normal training schedule Thursday morning at Crew Stadium.
(Photo Credit: Tucker Walther)
To help celebrate the release of EA Sports FIFA 13 and look ahead to the Crew's remaining four matches, I will be playing against a different Crew player each week as one of the team's upcoming opponents. This week, I squared off with rookie midfielder Kevan George playing as the Crew, while I took control of the Philadelphia Union.
Admittedly, Houston hasn't been my favorite city I've visited with the Crew this season. It's extremely hot and humid, there's nothing to do around the team hotel, and nearly every restraunt downtown is closed on Sunday.
However, the Dynamo's new BBVA Compass Stadium has made up for the misfortunes mentioned above.
The first thing I noticed when I walked into the stadium: there's a lot of orange in this place.
Outside the press box, images of various Houston Chronicle front pages over the past few years pay homage to Dynamo's short time in Houston.
A Dynamo legend overlooks the entrance to every lower-level section. For example, here's Brian Ching at the entryway to Section 125.
Here's the view from the north end of the stadium, looking toward the stage area. The dimensions of the field at BBVA Compass Stadium are 70 yards x 115 yards to suit the Dynamo's style of play and execution on set pieces. The MLS preference for pitch size is 75 yards x 120 yards.
In the southwest corner of the stadium is where the Dynamo supporters groups sit. No, Crew fans, it's not as big as the Nordecke.
Finally, and most importantly, the Crew's Equipment Manager Rusty Wummel was a happy camper with the spacey visiting locker room.
The Urso family has decided to have Kirk’s legacy live on off the field, by giving the gift of tissue. Columbus Crew sponsor Lifeline of Ohio, the local nonprofit that promotes and coordinates organ and tissue donation, is giving fans an opportunity to honor Kirk's gift at upcoming games.
Statement from Lifeline of Ohio:
Kirk Urso was truly a hero on and off the field. He not only touched lives as a member of the Columbus Crew, but he will continue to impact others through his gift of tissue donation. Help us honor Kirk's legacy as a tissue donor by wearing a green Donate Life bracelet. Stop by the Donate Life booth before any Columbus Crew home game to pick up your free bracelet and honor our hero, Kirk Urso.
Stop by the Donate Life booth on the Crew Kicker Plaza before the game on Wednesday to pick up one of 4,000 green Donate Life bracelets to support Kirk's gift of life.
To learn more about organ and tissue donation, or to register as a donor, visit: www.lifelineofohio.org/crew
The Crew players were greeted with the oppressive Mid-Atlantic heat and humidity on the team walk today through the Dupont Circle area of Washington, D.C.. There was a chorus of resounding "It's so hot..." statements as the team walked to Mitchell Park for a morning stretch. As you can see from Julius James' back in the photo above, many of the players broke a sweat during the stroll. Chris Birchall came prepared however, using napkins to wipe the sweat off his back throughout the walk.
It won't be much cooler at the time of kickoff this evening. Weather.com predicts it will be 89 degrees Fahrenheit with 55-percent humidity, making it feel like 96 degrees. What's more, the concrete structure of RFK Stadium will trap in the heat for tonight's match to make it even more oppressive.
Tonight will be a test of endurance for the Black & Gold, so look for the Crew to come out firing from the opening whistle just as it did two weeks ago against D.C. in search of an early goal in this muggy D.C. weather.
I'll have more from RFK Stadium later as kickoff approaches.
Greetings from Kansas City,
After going their separate ways for breakfast, the players and coaches gathered in the hotel lobby this morning to catch some Olympic action before embarking on the team walk through the city.
Following their Olympic viewing, the players enjoyed the sights of Kansas City on the team walk.
Eventually, the team found a nice shaded are to stretch and mentally prepare for tonight's match against Sporting KC. Eddie Gaven shared his veteran insight with rookies Ethan Finlay and Matt Lampson.
Finally, before heading back to the hotel to rest, these guys insisted on posing for a buddy pic:
Crew rookie Ethan Finlay was recently honored with the Omaha World-Herald's prestigious Fred Ware Award for his accomplishments playing for Creighton University. According to the World-Herald's website, "The Ware Award is given annually to the four-year college athlete in Nebraska who, in the judgment of the newspaper's editors, made the most significant achievement in sports while representing the best traditions of his or her institution. The late Fred Ware organized The World-Herald's sports department and served as sports editor from 1924 to 1942, and later was managing editor and a member of the newspaper's board of directors."
Past winners of the Ware Award include current Detroit Lions star Ndamukong Suh, Kansas City Royals outfielder Alex Gordon, Atlanta Hawks sharpshooter Kyle Korver, and Heisman Trophy winner Eric Crouch.
For the full article, check out the World-Herald's feature on the Crew rookie.
Photo courtesy of Creighton Athletics.
Recently the Crew community lost a member of it's family. Grand Rapids Crew Juniors player Christian Ouding lost his life in a tragic accident. There will be a moment of silence during the June 30th Crew home game in remembrance of Christian Ouding.
“Christian Ouding was not only the heart and soul of his team but was also for the club as a whole. He had a tremendous attitude and work rate in all that he did and a very contagious personality. He was an inspiration to many players and coaches and represented what youth soccer should be about.” - Josh Sheldon Grand Rapids Crew Juniors – General Manager
"We are devastated by the tragic loss of Christian and offer our condolences and support to his family," said Crew SVP Soccer Business Development Andrew Arthurs. "Not only was he a promising young player with a bright future, but by all accounts a well-liked teammate and a fine young man, as well. Words cannot express the sense of loss we feel. We look forward to honoring his memory on June 30 and beyond." - Andrew Arthurs Sr. Vice President Soccer Business Development Executive Director Crew Juniors
For more information and to donate to the Christian Ouding Fund click here.
Crew Brand Ambassador, Frankie Hejduk, stopped by the STH Heroes Cup 6v6 held at Buckeye Lake over the weekend. The STH Heroes Cup 6v6 is an adult soccer tournament that honored Columbus native Shawn Hannon who recently lost his life on April 4, 2012 while serving in Afghanistan.
Ohio Soldiers from the 37th Infantry Brigade Combat Team and their coalition partners on Camp Mike Spann, Afghanistan, offer up encouragement to the Columbus Crew for the upcoming 2012 Military Appreciation Night. From all of Crew Soccer Nation, thank you for your service and come home safe! Go Crew!!