Preseason camp is a grind for players and staff alike, as clubs around MLS fight to be match fit for opening day.
Under head coach Raphael Wicky, the Fire will train in three cities over 37 days to prepare to open their 2020 campaign on the road March 1 against the Seattle Sounders. While three and 37 are two of camp's most elementary numbers, take a look at some of the other key figures that will shape Wicky's first preseason leading the Fire below:
Head coach Raphael Wicky and his men will traverse the country over the course of the 2020 preseason, having begun in Chicago, training currently in Tampa, FL., and heading to Los Angeles, CA from Feb. 10-23.
37 Total Days
The Fire kicked off preseason with medicals in Chicago on January 18th before training at the CIBC Fire Pitch for a week. The Club is currently in Tampa for 13 days, and will return to Chicago briefly before spending 14 days in Los Angeles. They’ll return home on Feb. 23 to formally wrap camp with eyes on the 2020 season opener at Seattle on March 1.
6 Games Played
The Fire begin their slate of preseason matches on Saturday, Feb. 1 with a 3 p.m. CT kickoff against the Philadelphia Union at the Joe DiMaggio Sports Complex in Clearwater, Fl. They’ll play one other match before departing Florida - a Wednesday, Feb. 6 meeting with 2020 newcomers Nashville SC. Things heat up when the team gets to Los Angeles, as friendlies against Orange County SC, Colorado Rapids, Toronto FC, and the Los Angeles Galaxy await. Click here to view the full 2020 preseason schedule.
40 Training Sessions
With some double-session days sprinkled into the mix, the Fire are set to work through roughly 40 training sessions (with the schedule subject to change) by the time preseason camp comes to a close on Feb. 23. The Fire were on the pitch twice on Tuesday and Thursday during this first week in Tampa.
5,494 Air Miles Travelled
Round trips from Chicago to Tampa (2,010 miles) and from Chicago to Los Angeles (3,482) have the Fire in the air for nearly 5,500 miles during their cross-country training tour.
113 Bags Checked
Adding up each player’s personal bags, crates of supplies for the training and medical staff, equipment bags loaded with balls, cones, boots, etc., and two sets of training gear per player and staff member, the Fire will check 113 pieces of luggage each time they change locations during the course of the preseason.
764 Pieces of Training Gear
In actuality, the number two is among the most important of the preseason, as the Fire’s seasoned pair of kit men - equipment manager Brian Sauer and assistant equipment manager Juan Arreola - came well prepared for the rigors of preseason. Each day, the two coordinate the 382 individual pieces of training gear (things like tops, shorts, socks, jackets, sweatpants, boots, etc.) that get the players and staff through each training session. And, for good measure, there’s a backup for each item.
435 Pieces of Training Equipment
Fire training sessions are set up meticulously in order to ensure seamless execution while on the pitch, meaning 400+ items make the trip to each individual session and back. That includes things like balls, cones, disc markers, GPS trackers, slalom poles, and mini-nets.
296 Hours of Massages
Club massage therapist Steven Burrows is a key component towards the players' daily recovery routines, and gives roughly two hours of post-training massages per day. With head athletic trainer Reade Whitney and assistant athletic trainers Hillary Bell and Tyler Golden chipping in an equal amount, the group estimates that players will spend nearly 300 hours worth of time on the massage table over the course of camp.
1,800+ Yards of Pre-Wrap
Whitney and his staff run through two 30-yard rolls of pre-wrap on each training and match day. Taking the seven (give or take) off-days out of the equation, that's nearly 2,000 yards of wrap keeping players' muscles and joints in place. For actual tape, the training staff uses eight 15-yard rolls per day, a modest 3,600+ yards across the entire preseason.
420+ Liters of Protein Shakes
Recovery and muscle maintenance are essential to performing at a high level for the duration of a rigorous preseason camp. That means about 14 liters of protein shakes get guzzled post-workout per day, which equates to roughly 3.7 gallons.
5,600 Kilometers Run
Using GPS, performance coach John Grace can track exactly how much ground a player covers in each training session. Some weeks will be higher and some lower, but players will average about 40 kilometers run per week. Accounting for the 28 players currently in camp, that's an estimated team total of 5,600 kilometers run by camp's end -- not including any of the six matches the team will play. That equates to about 3,479 miles, or just three miles less than the Fire's round trip flight to Los Angeles from Chicago and back.