2014 Preseason, Bradenton: Day 10

Preparing for Malmö FF; Frankie meets with U.S. U-14 squad

PREPPING FOR MALMÖ FF 
 
Tuesday’s training session allowed the coaching staff to get another look at the team as Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter prepares for his first exhibition match. 
 
A couple of notes from Berhalter’s media work following the team lunch: 
 
1) The goalkeeping decision is still up in the air. Berhalter told TheCrew.com that the staff hasn’t made a final decision about the Opening Match starting ‘keeper, but that Steve Clark and Matt Lampson should split time in net against Malmö. 
 
"It's way too early to tell," Berhalter said to TheCrew.com. "The important thing is that they're all working hard and fighting for a spot. We want all four of them contending to be the first goalie. We're going to give both Steve and Matt half a game tomorrow, and then we'll get Brad and Daniel some playing time as we go on.

2) Don’t read too much into Wednesday’s Black & Gold starters. Berhalter spoke with The Columbus Dispatch about getting plenty of minutes for several players. 
 
According to a report from The Columbus Dispatch’s Adam Jardy, “The plan is to have at least 22 players in uniform, Berhalter said, and have two teams of 11 each play 45 minutes. Lineups will be mixed so there is no clear-cut first or second team, he said.”

3) Be sure to follow @ColumbusCrew for live tweets of the match if for some reason you’re unable to watch Wednesday’s match at work or at home. The live stream of the match is scheduled to air on MLSsoccer.com. A full preseason schedule of live streams is available here on how to catch MLS teams in action before March. 

FRANKIE TAKES THE TIME

Frankie Hejduk went with Crew staff to watch the U.S. Under-14 squad train on Tuesday in Lakewood Ranch, Florida. Afterwards, Hejduk had the chance to give a speech to the players about his career. Most importantly, he opened the floor up to questions about anything. The young players capitalized and asked specifically about training as a professional. 
 
“Growing up, I was always interested in what it was like to be a pro, what it was like to play in Europe,” said Hejduk. “I think it was cool for me – not only because I got to recap my career – my head started growing a little bit as I was speaking about the career, but you start to remember a bunch of cool moments.”

Although Hejduk was the center of attention on-stage, he found the discussion to be the most rewarding to him as he looked out at the crowd following the session.  
 
“I was actually surprised about how knowledgeable the kids were at that age,” continued Hejduk. 
 
“We didn’t have a U-14 National Team when I was that age. We were practicing maybe twice a week and games on Saturday. Now, these kids are practicing every day and have the opportunity to get in these camps. 
 
“There are some really talented, talented players coming up in this country. Those kids that I saw … I didn’t have that type of skill and that type of training to be honest growing up.  
 
Continued Hejduk, “The future is definitely bright for these kids.”

Frankie’s sit-down interview from the Crew’s hotel lobby can be heard in its entirety here.

CROSSING, FINISHING 

The end of Tuesday’s training focused on finishing drills as the squad was broken into teams to be the first to bury goals off of crosses. Be sure to check out some action shots below of leaping headers, lunging attempts and plenty of well-timed hits in TheCrew.com's exclusive photo gallery.