This was my view today of a fitness test the Sounders took at the VMAC in Renton. The exercise is commonly known as the “beep test” and measures a player’s endurance as he runs at a set distance back and forth and a gradually increasing speed.
The winner of Heat 1 was rookie Andy Rose, who was acquired through a draft-day trade with Real Salt Lake, with a time of 11:33.
The winner of Heat 2 was third-year player David Estrada, a former roommate of Rose’s at UCLA, at 11:46 — a new team record.
The previous high mark was 10:50, which fitness coach Dave Tenney tweeted five players beat.
Others that showed well were Mike Seamon (runner up in first heat), Cordell Cato (runner up in second heat) and Alex Caskey (finished third in second heat).
“It sets the bar for us,” said coach Sigi Schmid. “It lets us know where they are in comparison to where they’ve been in the past few years, where we are as a team. I know I made the comment that I was not happy with a couple guys’ fitness, but overall our team came through really, really well. It’s probably the best one we’ve had so far in terms of overall from top to bottom in terms of the fitness test. There are still some guys who are mentally tough and push through it. So maybe they’re quite that fit but they were mentally tough in the moment, but that’s also a measure of fitness and a measure of determination.”
Schmid talked more about fitness after the jump:
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(Were there some positive surprises?) “Yeah, definitely. Some pulled it up definitely. Obviously, we’re still going to have to work with some guys and still do some extra fitness training and bring their fitness up to the level where getting to the minimum was not such hard work. You want it to be something they can achieve without having to kill themselves. I think we only had one or two guys that didn’t make minimum, so that was good.”
(Who impressed you?) “Obviously the UCLA guys did well being a UCLA guy — Rose and Estrada did well. I think Caskey showed some good fitness. Cordell Cato. We know he’s fast, but I didn’t know he had that kind of endurance, so that was a positive to see that from him, as well.”
(Has fitness improved from a decade ago?) “Over the years, I think it’s always the same — it’s what the coach demands. Certainly in my years with the Galaxy, it improved. In my years with the Crew, it improved. In my years here, it’s improved. I think they realize that the demands are real, are serious. Some guys realize that when the other guys are playing, they were running last year in Arizona. They didn’t really like to do that. I think that’s something that’s there. Going all the way back to my days at UCLA, in the old, ancient days we did the two-mile Cooper test. I used to be amazed. I had other college coaches talk to me and say, ‘Oh, we had seven guys pass the Cooper this year! That’s great! We really came in fit.’ And if we had somebody that didn’t pass the Cooper, we were really upset. So we were like at the opposite end of the spectrum. If you told me that 14 of my guys didn’t pass the Cooper, I’d say you have to be kidding. I only had one guy who didn’t in all the years and he was just not that kind of body type. I think it’s a standard that the team sets and a standard that the coaches set and the demands that you set — that this is what we expect. And every year we’ve come in fitter.”
(What do you do with those that don’t?) “We’ve got to bring them up to that level. That means sometimes extra sessions. That means sometimes when the team’s playing, they’re maybe running. Sometimes that means a run in the morning, extra work on the bike after the guys finish a weight-training session. (There are) different ways to try and bring them up.”