Men's Soccer Blog: WVU Arrives to Arizona

  • By Grant Dovey
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  • August 14, 2013 10:44 AM
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Pictures from Day 1

This morning the team woke up to a beautiful morning for the first full day at Grande Sports Academy in Casa Grande, Ariz.

The facility, which is spread over 40 acres, features nine full-length soccer fields, as well as one of the longest golf courses (and cheapest at $15 per round) in Arizona.

The reason for the course being so long is that when it was built in the 1960s, this complex was home to the San Francisco Giants during spring training. Since then it has been taken over by Real Salt Lake and its U.S. Soccer Academy team trains and lives at the facility year round.

Yesterday was a bit of a whirlwind and although it was only day two of preseason camp, coach Marlon LeBlanc said he believed this is the most they have gotten done in his 14 years of coaching.

Tuesday started with an early practice in Morgantown and then the boys boarded the bus for the short trip to Pittsburgh International Airport. After a four-hour flight, the team landed in Phoenix and set out for the hour trip south to Casa Grande, arriving just in time for a lasagna dinner at 6 p.m. local time.

Following dinner there was an 8 p.m. practice session on one of the lighted fields at the complex that featured an array of different stations and drills. While the temperature hovered around 100 degrees, it was hardly noticeable with the non-existent humidity.

After practice the team jumped in the cold whirlpool and was off to bed after practicing in two different time zones and having a cross-country flight. To say the least, everyone enjoyed the much-needed rest.