Our latest update from Dallas is with John McKeown, Head of Sports Science and Medicine for the Club’s Academy. He explains how the players have been preparing for Friday’s semi-final against FC Dallas with recovery training sessions - and a history lesson!
Clearly, football is the most important aspect on this trip but there’s been plenty for the players to do, both educationally and culturally, whilst we have been at the Dallas Cup.
We make sure that we are either playing every day or training every day, although once we got into the full flow of the the games, the sessions have been more about recovery. Obviously in between matches you can’t do too much training because you are trying to conserve the players’ energy, especially with a schedule like this.
We’ve brought our assistant Head of Education and Welfare, Darren Murphy, with us and he’s sat down and done quite a bit of educational work with the scholars. There are also a couple of 16-year-olds in the group who’ve got their GCSEs soon, so it was important that they continued studying. Wade Deacon High School was good enough to let them come over here to play on the premise that they did some education as well.
There’s lots of cultural experiences to have out here too and we visited the JFK memorial at Dealey Plaza as a group on Thursday.
If we’d asked the lads beforehand whether any of them wanted to go to the museum, we’d have probably had half say no. But when you speak to them afterwards, the vast majority said it was a brilliant experience. They found out so much about President Kennedy and it’s nice that they have got something out of the visit in that respect.
It was mentioned on the tour about the Oliver Stone JFK film. It was one of the movies available on the flight over here, so we’ve told the players that it will be worthwhile for them to watch it on the journey home now that they know a bit more about his legacy!