FOXBORO, Mass.- When the Revolution take-off from Boston to travel to the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. on Monday, there will be snow on the ground. When they land in the Sunshine State, there won't be a trace of winter weather.
"It's gonna make us warm, which is going to be awesome," said Kelyn Rowe on Sunday at the Revolution's practice inside the Dana Farber Field House during which some players wore hats and mittens.
"We can't wait to get out of this cold."
It's fitting the Revolution are leaving Boston's chill since this trip to Florida, the first of two preseason stops, is supposed to serve as a warm-up for the 2014 season, which kicks off on March 8 at Houston.
On Sunday, both experienced MLS players and rookies underscored the importance of regaining match fitness and practicing tactics. But they also touched upon the need to acquaint and re-acquaint both on and off the field.
"We need to get that bond together," said Rowe. "It's weird to say but it's a bond of brothers where we're playing together every day and living together. That chemistry on the field is going to help us immensely."
The Revolution will practice at the IMG Academy, which has helped develop a slew of talent since 1999. Some of its alumni include Landon Donovan, Jozy Altidore, DaMarcus Beasley, and current Revolution defender Kevin Alston. Such a setting is ideal for training and further sharpening of skills.
The Revolution will play at least one preseason scrimmage in Florida. They will take on reigning Swedish champions Malmo FF this Friday.
"Through preseason it's just getting back into the rhythm of playing my game, playing with the team," said Rowe. "Obviously we're going to have a lot of guys back that were here last year and the year before. We know each other well enough, it's just finding that bond again, that strength we had in numbers, and being able to play with each other."
Rowe's dynamic play in midfield was a key component that helped send the Revolution to the playoffs last year. He contributed seven goals and eight assists and was able to find the consistency as a second-year player that eluded him as a rookie.
"I'm still one of the youngest guys on the team but I'm a little more confident, a little more experienced. Obviously not to the point of any kind of true authority or veteran at all," said Rowe.
"I wouldn't put myself in that category. But it's nice to know that I know how to get through two preseasons, I know how to get through two full seasons and I'm preparing myself for it."
While Rowe is excited for Florida's warm weather, there is another relevant location that's warmer. The U.S. national team has been training in 90 degree Sao Paolo, Brazil, 27 degrees warmer than Bradenton, for a camp. U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has called a slew of MLS players to make their case for inclusion on the national team's roster for this summer's World Cup.
On Saturday, the day after the Revolution square off against Malmo, the U.S. will take on South Korea in a friendly in Los Angeles.
Rowe was regarded as a national team snub by many soccer pundits after his strong finish to the 2013 season. Rowe said he would have loved the opportunity to train in Brazil with the senior team even though he's excited to be back with the Revolution.
"I wanted to go to the camps," he said. "Every American player does and everyone wants to go to their national team. I thought I had a decent year, it was a good year for me. But it's a World Cup year and we have a bunch of guys that are great players in that World Cup squad. Obviously it's oil in the fire and it's going to make me go harder and harder. I have to have another good year to be called in, I know it's not given to me. I have to earn it."
Here's to warming up.
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