Preseason in Mexico:Day 3

Press Conference, Stephen Keel, and an afternoon off from training

Marquez & Henry Meet Children

Photo Credit: 
RBNY

Before we get to today’s day of training from Riviera Maya, we put up several videos and updates over the weekend:

- Check out the video daily updates from Saturday and Sunday.
- We documented the team’s travel to Mexico through the eyes of the Equipment Managers and Team Administrators.
- We also spoke with the team’s Fitness Coach on how he prepares for preseason.
- Finally, we also have the first two written reports of camp here and here.

HENRY/MARQUEZ PARTICIPATE IN PRESS CONFERENCE
After training today, Red Bulls Thierry Henry and Rafa Marquez participated in a press conference at the beautiful Hacienda Tres Rios resort in Riviera Maya (http://www.yucatan-holidays.com/).

Marquez fielded most of the questions and was very complimentary of the hospitality so far. Yucatan Holidays, the main sponsor of the team’s preseason trip, also presented Marquez with a check for $10,000 for his charity, Marquez Futbol y Corazon (www.rafamarquez.org).

“I would like to thank Yucatan Holidays and Gol Marketing for the opportunity to be part of the competition with Atlante and Chivas, two very good Mexican teams.”

Marquez and Henry posed with children afflicted with the HIV/AIDS virus from a local foundation after the press conference.

“I'm very happy to be here in my country, with my people as we start the year. I'm excited to start the preseason with the Red Bulls, a great organization and will try to do my best for the team.”

With Marquez’s profile in Mexico, there was the inevitable question about his future with the national team.

“I am 32 years old and I think I can help the Mexican National Team for about three years. I'm also excited to work very hard to help my foundation for the kids,” he said.”

KEEL LOOKS TO MAKE AN IMPACT
The Red Bulls currently do not have many players on trial as in years past, but former Colorado Rapids and Portland Timbers defender Stephen Keel is hard to miss with his long, curly blond mop of hair.

Keel has been training with New York since the beginning of camp in New Jersey, as he is looking to impress the coaches. The 27-year-old from Littleton, CO, who received an invite to camp after getting a call from current individual development coach and former Rapids teammate Mike Petke, has enjoyed his stint so far.

“Personally, it’s going well,” Keel said. “Anytime you come into a new group and a new bunch of guys, it takes a little while to get acclimated with simple things like everyone’s names, the way guys play and the style of play. I think I got that out of the way the first week and now I could settle into my rhythm and do what I can do to help the team.”

Keel has mostly seen time at centerback but is willing to move to any position along the back line. It is still early to determine Keel’s future with the Red Bulls not playing their first preseason match until Wednesday at Atlante. However, Keel is hoping he leaves a positive impression.

“The level here is top notch, the sessions are absolutely brilliant, the players are great and the guys are friendly. The style of play is awesome – it’s so crisp and so clean,” he said. “Every day, if you don’t bring you’re A-game, you’re going to get embarrassed.”

NOTES
Today was the first day in which there was only one session, as the players had the afternoon off.
- Towards the end of practice, the team worked on playing in a 4-4-2. Backe was telling his players to make sure they kept possession and stay patient, making the extra pass instead of turning over the ball. If they did attack, they had to ensure that the final pass was precise. Backe hopes to continue to improve the team’s possession-style play in 2011.
- Newcomer Jan Gunnar Solli saw some time in the center of the park. Solli combined with Henry, Joel Lindpere and Juan Agudelo on a Dane Richards near range goal. We’ll have a preview of Wednesday’s Atlante match tomorrow.
- After another tough training session, the players earned a well-deserved off afternoon. While many players lounged around the pool or in their rooms, there was a spirited beach volleyball game going on between players and coaches. On one side were Tony Tchani, Danleigh Borman, Sacir Hot, Solli and Corey Hertzog while Conor Chinn, Tim Ream, Agudelo and coaches Mike Petke and Richie Williams were on the other. While taller players like Tchani and Ream offered offensive fire, the diminutive Williams provided defensive support. The final winner was Team Tchani. We’ll have video of this later in the week.
- One thing fans can look forward to is a long interview with Joel Lindpere. Now entering his second year in MLS, the Estonian spoke to us about his roots, what he’s looking for in 2011 and his journey of visiting all of the U.S. 50 states.

STAT OF THE DAY
221 – The number of combined international caps between Henry (123) and Marquez (98). While Henry has retired from international soccer, Marquez is just two caps away from reaching 100.