"It’s nice to be out of the cold, it’s nice to be in the sunshine playing on the field," Luis Robles said on Wednesday. "It’s nice to be around the guys again."
Robles said he had been itching to get back on the pitch for a few months, after taking off a few weeks after the end of the season.
"Once December hit, right around Christmas time when its starting to get cold, there’s this idea that I love getting ready for preseason, especially in the cold because the important games are played in the cold," Robles said.
The goalkeeper said that the tough offseason grind -- working on your own, preparing yourself for a taxing preseason without teammates by your side -- will help set the tone for him and the team this year.
"We’re going to play the way that no one wants to play and we’re going to win the games that really come down to mental toughness," Robles said. "I’m hoping with this group of guys there’s going to be not only a resiliency about us, but just a mental toughness that allows us to approach every single game with purpose and a sense of pride in what we’re doing."
Head Coach Jesse Marsch echoes those remarks in discussing the first few days of camp.
"This has been, in the years I’ve been here, the best start we’ve had to preseason," Marsch said. "I think that goes to the fact that we have a lot of guys that truly get what we’re trying to accomplish and I think a lot of the young guys that we’ve brought into the mix have done quite well, have adapted well, I think that that’s reason for optimism within the group.”
Marsch said that with new faces coming into preseason camp every year, it's sometimes hard to maintain a high level of concentration and focus among the entire bevy of players. That's not the case this year, Robles said.
"I feel it’s going really well. Of course there are a lot of new faces, but not necessarily more than other years," Robles said. "You still see Bradley Wright-Phillips, Connor Lade, Felipe and all the guys that you’ve been playing with, and battling with, for the last few years and there’s a sense of relief that we’re starting up again.
"It was a long offseason," he said.