My Day At BMO Field
Today was a bit odd yet very informative all at the same time.
I was lucky enough to get to attend the TFC training session today and I got to speak to Coach Winter and a few players as well. However the day got off to a strange start, and I almost got my ass turfed out of the building through no fault of my own.
The training session for the club today was originally scheduled to be held at Cherry Beach in the Toronto docklands. I got there via the TTC at about 11:20 AM only to see the reserves on the pitch being put through their paces by Coach Jason Bent.
Not a single First Team player or coach was anywhere in sight.
The reserves of course play their first match of the season this coming Sunday at Downsview Park in the new MLS Reserve League. Interestingly Nathan Sturgis was part of the reserve squad practicing hard at Cherry Beach and it looks like he has a considerable amount of work ahead of him if he is to work his way back into contention for the first team.
After inquiring with the TFC media relations people present I was told that Coach Winter had changed things around at the last minute and that the First Team would be practicing at BMO Field instead and the media availability would be taking place at BMO instead of Cherry Beach. Luckily enough, as I was taking public transit, I was offered a ride by a reporter from the Fan 590 (Thank you David Alter!) who graciously got me to BMO Field on time. We entered the stadium through gate 4 and proceeded to then go to the field to see a bit of the practice and hopefully talk to the players.
I was able to take a picture or two before BMO Field Security noticed we were there and tersely informed us that practice was closed and that we would have to wait by the dressing room for media availability after the practice was over. So we were shuffled off into the bowels of the stadium and waited around. In the few minutes I was able to see of the practice Assistant Coach Bob de Klerk was running brisk drills. Alan Gordon and for that matter the new signing from England were nowhere to be seen on the field. it was also interesting seeing how comfortable Oscar Cordon appeared to be fitting into the first team setup as well.
However all was not lost, for me at least. I have been trying for weeks to find out the status of injured newcomer Elbikay Bouchiba who arrived at the club during the of season with fellow Dutchmen Javier Martina and Nick Soolsma. And with due respect the club has not been very forthcoming about his injury and status. Today I actually saw Bouchiba for a few seconds coming out of the dressing room, and he was on crutches. I had a very brief chat with him and I can tell you he is a super nice guy who is chomping at the bit to play. However that time looks like it will not be coming anytime soon. Word is that it may take up to six months for him to recover enough from surgery and build up enough game shape to perhaps feature into TFC’s plans.
Now some of the assembled media were grumbling that not notifying the press in advance of the change of venue for the practice and the media availability at the last minute was not cool. One went as far as to call it “Mickey Mouse” And perhaps one could perhaps look at things like this within the context of the recent controversy that saw Coach Winter attempt to ban the media from the club locker room after games in contravention of league policy. It also could have been a way to give the Reserves and the First Team time to prepare separately from one another for the separate games each of them has to play this weekend. I will leave that for you the reader to decide.
Suffice it to say moving things around at the last minute made it hard for a lot of the press to get to where they needed to be on time to do their job.
There is of course a game tomorrow and as always TFCPICS has a great pre game post up including details about the mysterious new MLS official in charge of the match. Please feel free to check it out in advance of tomorrow’s game. The Pre Game post is here: http://viewfromthesouthstands.com/articles/44-previews/198-tfc-v-dc-united-preview
And all the photos I took today at Cherry Beach and at BMO Field are archived here. Please feel free to check them out as well: http://viewfromthesouthstands.com/gallery/thumbnails.php?album=410
Your comments are always welcome and of course always appreciated.