The Best Kept Secret in the MLS is…

…the Reserve games! We checked out the Reserve game between the Crew and the United this morning at the Crew’s training facility in Obetz, Ohio (about 12 minutes from my house). What a fun experience! First off, it’s free (right within my budget). Secondly, although there are a few bleachers, you can bring your own chairs, and set up about 10 feet off of the sideline – just like for my son’s travel games. Talk about feeling close to the action! We were looking straight at the penalty area, and I saw Adu hit a PK, and also serve a corner from about 15′ from where we were sitting. It was surprising to hear the “thwack” of the ball off of the players’ feet and heads, and it was also interesting to hear all of the chatter that takes place on the field (only two curse words, too!). And, just because it was a Reserve game, doesn’t mean the we didn’t know the players. We knew all but about 3 Crew players, and from the United, I knew Troy Perkins, Jamil Walker, and of course, Freddy Adu.

That’s not all… about 20 yards behind us, in another practice field, the Crew players from the night before were doing some running. Szetela was also doing some shooting drills, and my kids even went over and gathered some of his stray shots! Adu, who is good friends with Szetela, came over during the second half and practiced with Szetela. Plus, the players were walking all around us going over to the Crew bench, and back to the practice field. I will make this observation, soccer players are very lean. None of the guys that look fairly big on TV (Szetela, Frazer, Marshall, Buddle), were cut like most professional athletes. The only “built” guy was John Wolyniec, whom the Crew recently acquired. Don’t get me wrong – they’re in great shape, but I expected someone like Frazer to have a little more muscle mass. It just surprised me a bit…

All in all, it was a neat experience for us and the kids. From watching the game up close, to interacting a bit with the Crew mainstays, we all had a great time, for no charge whatsoever! The only downer was that the Reserves suck as bad as the main club, losing 4-1.

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