Major League Soccer’s (MLS) New York Red Bulls, D.C. United and Columbus Crew, in addition to Sweden’s Malmö FF, will travel to IMG Academy this month to conduct offseason team training. Teams will have access to IMG Academy’s pristine Bermuda grass fields; 10,000 square foot weight room; vision training center; physical and mental conditioning coaches; athletic training center; sports nutrition experts; and more. The first team, D.C. United, arrived on January 20, followed by the New York Red Bulls on January 22, with the Columbus Crew and Malmö FF to arrive on January 24 and 28, respectively.
“We provide the best facilities, fields and other resources for the teams that choose to make IMG Academy their offseason training home, and we’re excited to see these teams come here to train with us,” said Scott Dean, Director of Soccer, IMG Academy. “The New York Red Bulls, D.C. United, Columbus Crew and Malmö are perennially successful franchises, so it’s a testament to the quality of our resources and our program delivery.”
The D.C. United are aiming to stay at the top of the MLS standings, returning to IMG Academy after a successful year that saw them finish with a 17-10-7 overall record, a second place finish in the MLS Eastern Conference (third place overall), and an appearance in the Conference finals. They will be joined at IMG Academy by the New York Red Bulls, who are led by team captain, Thierry Henry, and look to overtake their conference rival D.C. United after finishing third in the East at 16-9-9. Meanwhile, their Eastern Conference counterparts, the Columbus Crew, are aiming to rebound in 2013 coming off of a 15-12-7 overall record and sixth place finish in the Conference (10th place overall). This year’s team training will also have an international presence, with Malmö FF out of the Allsvenskan, Sweden’s premier professional soccer league, returning to IMG Academy once again. Malmö finished 2012 with a 16-8-6 record for a third place finish in their league, making them eligible for the first qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League.
Professional team training at IMG Academy in 2012 saw its participants go on to considerable success during the season. In addition to the DC United’s third place overall finish, the Seattle Sounders crossed paths with free agent striker Eddie Johnson last year, who was conducting his own personal offseason conditioning at IMG Academy at the time. The Sounders signed Johnson, who went on to lead the team back to the playoffs behind a franchise record for goals in a season (14 goals) and MVP honors in the 2012 MLS All-Star Game.