Photo Credit: Muhamad Septiansyah/DuniaSoccer.com
With the popping of camera flashes and the cheer of the crowd, the Galaxy’s Asia Pacific Tour officially got underway with a press conference at the team’s hotel in Jakarta on Monday. Still weary after a 24-hour span that saw the team arrive at LAX, fly to Singapore and then on to Jakarta following a short lay over, Bruce Arena, David Beckham, Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane got a chance to see first hand just how excited the whole of Indonesia is for Wednesday night’s game against an Indonesian national selection team.
The full travel squad, minus Donovan Ricketts, whose trade to Montreal was finalized on Monday afternoon, and Chris Birchall, who was forced to stay behind in order to deal with non-team related matters, arrived earlier in the day and got an immediate impression of the region’s climate when they exited the airport into the morning heat and humidity, as well as a throng of more than 100 photographers and television journalists. (see image insert)
On the road, the players watched in amazement as the team buses wound their way through the packed streets of Jakarta en route to the team’s hotel that will be their home away from home for the next few days.
Once at the hotel, veteran equipment manager Raul Vargas and his assistant Rafael Verdin, who had each flown out a day early with most of the equipment, sorted out the rest of the bags and gave the players their training gear for the day while the administrative staff reviewed the schedule for the stay in Jakarta.
Most of the players made their way up to the hotel’s fitness center, which included a state-of-the-art gym, sauna, spa and outdoor pool, as well as various games such as ping pong and darts. While some chose to try to run or cycle off the jet lag, others tried to swim it off, or they were just looking for a way to escape the heat by jumping into the pristine pool.
Prior to the team’s dinner, which brought the first evening in Jakarta to a close, the players met with more than 50 of the top local Herbalife distributors, signing autographs and taking photos with the men, women and children that were in attendance and clearly thrilled to meet their Galaxy heroes.
Watch: Galaxy players talk about the trip so far