OUR final full day on Sacramento soil has arrived and I have to say our trip has been a resounding success.
With our final match against the Republic taking place on Friday evening, this is the last diary entry I’ll have chance to pen before we head home.
Thursday morning kicked off with another thorough workout at Cosumnes River College amid increasingly hot temperatures.
During the afternoon, I got a nice surprise from Big Joleon. I’ve been raving about the Cheesecake Factory all week and my new team-mate kindly brought me back a cheeky white chocolate raspberry truffle number.
I was in the hotel suite that the medical staff have converted into a treatment room at the time. It was pretty packed and everyone’s eyes popped out at the sight of my cheesecake, so I felt compelled to share it round.
We had a novel setting for part of the evening’s training session – a rooftop basketball court
The squad made the short walk to the nearby five-storey gym for more spin classes.
Afterwards, we made our way up to the roof for a strength-and-conditioning workout. It was about a million degrees up there. It felt like our trainers were melting onto the court!
I’ve never been on a rooftop basketball court before. It was pretty impressive, although you’d have a long way to go to retrieve any balls that fly over the surrounding net!
Sadly, that wasn’t the end of my evening’s work. Further punishment awaited me in the guise of yet another cross-trainer workout. I’ve been on that machine so often over the past fortnight that I feel like I’m mimicking cross-trainer movements when I’m walking around!
I almost forgot to mention there was a fright for two of our younger squad members, who shall remain nameless, before the evening session.
They reported to the hotel lobby area a few seconds late and found we had left without them. To try and cover up their misdemeanour, they took what they thought was a short-cut to the gym – only to find we’d already arrived. To make matters worse, they were wearing the wrong-coloured kit!
In all seriousness, the one thing we’ve all found out quite quickly is that the gaffer is a real stickler for discipline, especially time-keeping. I really like that and I’m right behind it. If you get things right off-the-field, there’s every chance you’ll get them right on it.
With our second game against Sacramento looming, Friday morning’s training session was shorter than usual to reserve some energy for the friendly at Bonney Field.
I won’t be involved again but my calf injury is improving. I did more running outside on Thursday and progressed that on Friday.
I’m hoping that I’ll be able to train fully next week – like Brunty and Mozza have over the past day or so – but I’m just trying to take it one day at a time.
I think the gaffer’s been generally pleased with how the last eight days have gone in the States. It’s been a good trip and the lads have worked extremely hard.
It’s obviously a long way to travel but you’re guaranteed good weather and the time you need on the training pitch.
The facilities at our hotel, training ground and gym have been top notch and we’ve been really well looked after by Sacramento Republic.
The lads got a good workout against Preki’s side on Monday and I’m sure it will be the same again tonight, although I understand Sacramento may make a few changes because they have an important league game on Sunday.
We fly back home on Saturday morning and we’re all looking forward to being reunited with our families.
However, I’ll be sad to leave behind the Cheesecake Factory, not to mention Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup ice-cream. That’s another delight I discovered on Thursday!