CARSON, Calif. – The first week of preseason training is in the books for the LA Galaxy and for the club’s draft selections, it is the start of a new journey as professional athletes.
LA selected three players in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft choosing Boston College forward Charlie Rugg with the 19th pick in the first round before grabbing Kofi Opare and Greg Cochrane with the 24th and 38th overall picks respectively in the second round. In the Supplemental draft less than a week later, LA rounded out their roster by selecting Georgetown midfielder Andy Riemer with the sixth overall pick.
WATCH: First day of 2013 preseason
But the quartet were unable to enjoy the glory of being drafted that long as they quickly reported to Galaxy camp to start their budding professional careers.
“This is a great place to be,” said Rugg. “I think that this is one of the best places to start your career and I heard great things about the coaching staff and I know that they’ll help me transition to the pros. I just couldn’t be happier to be here.”
“This is an amazing opportunity to train with the best club in America right now,” added Riemer who has trained with LA’s reserves over the past two summers. “It’s an unbelievable opportunity.”
Once they arrived, they were greeted with a completely new experience as the college environment was replaced by the world-class facilities at The Home Depot Center. And waiting for them in that locker room? Their very own locker and their own uniform.
“I had the moment when I walked into the locker room and we saw the locker that said “Greg Cochrane” I realized that everything that I worked for is becoming a reality,” said Cochrane. “When I saw the training kit and put it on, it was an amazing experience.”
PHOTOS: Galaxy preseason training
The first week of training has been a grueling one as head coach Bruce Arena and his coaching staff looks to eliminate any offseason rustiness and prepare their club for the season opener on March 3 against the Chicago Fire. Through the first week of the preseason, actual soccer training as taken a backseat as the Galaxy’s coaches look to build their players’ fitness by a series of challenging exercises.
Although these fitness tests are hardly easy, Opare already senses that the team is starting to come together.
“I think that I’ve loved the cohesion and having the guys together because you can already sense the bond. There are players joking around and it helps relieve the tension that builds up from the offseason. It’s been a great way to ease into the season. The coaching staff and players have been very supportive.”
Now the real test begins as the joy of being drafted fades to the wayside as the rookies focus on one simple yet incredibly difficult goal—simply making the team.
“It’s humbling to get here, but there’s still a ton of work here with the whole season,” said Cochrane. “I’m looking forward to taking it day by day and seeing where it goes. Every day in preseason is going to be a grind, but I’m looking to go hopefully signing that contract.”
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/Insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com