February 9, 2005

Raybould Enjoying Wizards' Camp

Feb. 9, 2005

Yale soccer players Andrew Dealy and Ryan Raybould, who both completed their Yale careers last fall, and Jay Alberts '03 and Brian Roberts '04 are all spending the week training with the Kansas City Wizards of Major League Soccer. Raybould, the captain of the 2004 Bulldogs, filed this report during a break from camp.

It's nice to be home in Kansas City. Staying at my house and hanging out with my family has been a major part of this experience. It allows me to seek refuge every night from the day's competitive training environment.

At the first practice we started off with a bit of conditioning in the morning, and then did some tactical one v one, two v two and three v three defending drills. Those drills were extremely tough considering the skill level of all the players in camp. It's cool to be doing drills alongside guys like Nick Garcia, Chris Klein, Diego Guttierez and Preki who have been the backbone of the United States National Team. I have also had the unbelievable opportunity to receive instruction from one of the game's greatest teachers, head coach Bob Gansler. His demeanor and the way he treats his players epitomizes professionalism. I have learned a lot already in just two days.

The second session of the day was dedicated to scrimmaging. Coach Gansler divided us into three teams to play a tournament. When all was said and done, Andrew Dealy and I were fortunate enough to be on the winning team. I did notice that during the game the speed of play and athleticism is a major jump from the college game. All of the players on the field make intelligent choices and seem to always be in the right place at the right time. I felt as though all the Yale guys (Raybould, Dealy, Brian Roberts, and Jay Alberts) held their own in the scrimmages.

The second day was more of the same with a fitness session in the morning followed by scrimmaging in the afternoon. The facilities that the Wizards use are second to none. We have been training inside the Chiefs/Wizards practice facility, which houses spacious locker rooms, an artificial turf/grass field and a huge weight room. It's also kind of funny to be in the middle of practice and see in the weight room a bunch of Chiefs players that I have been rooting for ever since I was a little kid.

All in all, I am grateful for the opportunity to compete at this level, and I look forward to giving it my best shot in the ensuing days.