Chicago Fire Training Session

Posted: July 22, 2011 in Major League Soccer, Tactical, Technical
Tags: , ,

I had the opportunity to sit in on the Chicago Fire’s training session on July 19th as they prepare to take on Manchester United this July 23rd.  First, just need to say thanks to Frank Klopas and Brendan Hannan for letting me join the Fire, what a friendly and accommodating organization.

9:45 am – Assistant Coaches have the field set up already and players start arriving and playing small games.

10:00 am – Physio Coach takes the player for a ladder warm-up with several dynamics intermixed followed by static stretching and water.  Goal keepers warm-up separately with the keeper coach.

10:15 am – Four corner passing.  Four cones set up a grid approximately 20x20yds, and a coaching stick is set up one yard inside of each cone.  Field players divide up evenly at each cone with a two balls starting in corners diagonal from each other.  The team trainer puts the guys through a series of passing drills and combinations.  The coaching sticks are defenders and the players are asked to go game speed in beating the “opponent.”  They start with just an outside of the foot touch, wall pass, drop pass, and over laps.  Keepers are still working on footwork and positioning with multiple shots from different positions.

10:40 am – Players moved to a grid 30×40 with a half way line down the middle and are divided into two even teams of eight players.  Greens are on one side of the half and blues on the other.  The objective is to connect five passes to score a point, the other team is allowed to send four defenders into the other side of the grid to break it up.  After they score a point they have to find the coach.  Play was very tight and quality first touch and passing is demanded of the players to be successful.

Game changed a little with having to connect a pass into the other half after five passes on their side to score a point.  And then moved on to include a drop pass to score the point.

11:00 am – Team moves to a grid with two full sized goals set up around two penalty areas.  A line extends at the half to the full width of the field.  Players are divided into two teams of eight with two players left wide in the channels for each team, four defenders, and two attackers in the attacking half.  Ball must be played wide by the defenders and then that wide player looks to combine with the two attackers and join them. Goalkeepers joined the session at this point as well.

Game changed to where both wide players can join the attack when the ball is played wide by the defenders.

11:20 am – Team moved to a 9v9 match with standard match rules.  Field was 50×60 yds.

11:50 am – Closing comments by Coach Klopas, and then they were given a few minutes to stretch on their own.

Primary coaching points by the staff related to possession in small spaces to develop the attack.  Could they find a way to advance the ball with small space and lots of pressure.

Personal Notes: The elements were fighting against the players, it was extremely humid and hot and did not create a very conducive training environment.  The players were given several water breaks, but I thought it was interesting that they didn’t leave them any subs during the session.  Every player was asked to train the entire session and to go hard without substitutions.

I thought for the most part that the training session was successful, and the activities brought out the topic fairly well.

Always a positive when you can learn from coaches who have been around the game longer and at a higher level.  The love of learning is the first step to excellence, the second is application.  Really enjoyed the experience, and even had a chance to talk to Frank Klopas a little after the session.

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