Defender reflects on eventful training session in Sacramento
WE were close to making an urgent 911 call during the morning training session when Liam O’Neil was at the centre of an injury scare.
But it wasn’t our Academy graduate who needed medical treatment. It was the framework of one of the goals at our Cosumnes River College training base that was looking worse for wear!
During a drill, Liam overstretched and inadvertently stood on the ball before losing his balance and crashing into the post. We all felt sorry for the upright.
We were joined at training by a Baggies fan who had made an incredible effort to watch our preparations for the new season.
Chris Fitridge (pictured above) squeezed in a trip to Sacramento after flying all the way from his Adelaide home to visit a mate in San Jose.
He told me how he had been converted into a Baggie by his dad Stephen, who watched the team on TV in the 70s.
Chris showed me photos of his and his dad’s Aussie number plates – WBAFC and BAGGIES respectively. You see similar ones back home that are made up of words and numbers, but that’s exactly how they read.
Chris went to great lengths to come and see us and it was really appreciated by all the lads.
It was just the one training session on Sunday. We’ve done double sessions every day since arriving in California and the gaffer’s been pleased with our application, so we were treated to a rare afternoon off.
In my opinion, it was a sensible move. You don’t want to do too much and kill the momentum that’s building towards the start of the season.
I’m sure he also had Monday night’s tour opener against Sacramento Republic in mind. It’s important the squad is relatively fresh for that, especially with a handful of players carrying knocks.
Most of the lads opted to visit a local shopping mall, which was a ten-minute taxi ride away, during their free-time.
I joined Brunty and Dozza in popping into the mall’s Disney Store to make sure we didn’t go home empty-handed for our kids.
We then headed into the Cheesecake Factory to chill out with a coffee and, of course, a cheeky little cheesecake. I say little, but my strawberry-and-raspberry-truffle cheesecake was something else. It was so big I couldn’t finish it!
Our taxi ride home also proved very interesting. Our driver was as chatty as any cabbie back home and showed a keen interest in the club when we explained why we were in Sacramento.
But we were soon quizzing him when he explained he was from Afghanistan and had previously served as a translator for the US Special Forces.
That was pretty much it for the day as we recharged our batteries for more hard work on Monday.