No slackers here – Sounders prove fitness at ‘beep test’

don.ruiz@thenewstribune.comJanuary 26, 2013 

RENTON – Second-year midfielder Andy Rose was the top finisher Friday, when the Seattle Sounders ran through their annual endurance-measuring “beep test.”

“It felt good,” Rose said. “… It’s not that big a deal. It’s just good to show that you’re fit, ready for the season, you put your hard work in. Obviously, it’s nice to be a winner.”

Rose’s time of 11 minutes, 2 seconds was off the team-record 11:46 set by David Estrada last season.

But while the Sounders weren’t better than they’ve ever been at the top, they were better than they’ve ever been at the bottom, where coaches happily noted that times were improved over previous seasons.

“I think we have the most even kind of group of fitness that we’ve had to this point, which I think is good,” fitness coach Dave Tenney said. “I think our bottom scores are over 90 seconds to two minutes higher than previous bottom scores. So, that’s always, I think, a positive … even if there are some individuals that have a little bit of work to do.”

The beep test involves continuous running back and forth between two points 20 meters apart, while pre-recorded beeps increase the pace at various intervals. Players continue until they drop out or cannot continue to meet the pace.

The top five finishers were Rose, midfielder Alex Caskey, Estrada, midfielder Marvin Angulo and defender Dylan Remick, the club’s second-round pick in the recent SuperDraft.

“Obviously, Remick did well … but that was my expectation based upon his history and his track background. He did very well,” coach Sigi Schmid said. “Rose and Caskey certainly stepped up and did well. Steve Zakuani’s time was, I think, the best time that he’s ever achieved. It shows that he’s come in fitter than ever before. I’m encouraged by that; so there were some good, positive signs there.”

The tests were run in the Seahawks indoor facility at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center in Renton.

After their runs, the Sounders split into small-sided games.

“A little bit of it is a character test, because after it we played some soccer,” Schmid said. “We (learn something) when you’re tired; now guys have to depend a little bit on their decision-making because they can’t rely on their legs. Sometimes – although they don’t view it that way, because they think the beep test is all that we’re looking at – we’re looking at what the soccer is like after the beep test because it gives us an indication who can make good decisions.”

The team will return to the VMAC today for speed tests. Then some of the newcomers will go for more training at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila.

Two-a-day practices and more intense fitness work will begin next week when training moves to Casa Grande, Ariz.

ADDED TIME

Sounders sporting director Chris Henderson, whose playing career ended in 2006, took part in three beep-test sessions. “He’s a fitness machine,” Schmid said. “Somewhere, when God created him, I think he threw in a third lung.” … Supplemental draft pick Lebogang Moloto, a forward from South Africa and Kentucky’s Lindsey Wilson College, is expected to participate in his first practice today. … Sounders FC will not fully affiliate with a USL Pro team this season. However, the Sounders Reserves will play USL Orlando City in home (May 12) and away (Aug. 11) matches that will count in the standings of both the MLS Reserve League and USL Pro. … The Chicago Fire has sent former Sounders designated player Alvaro Fernandez on six-month loan to Qatari club Al Rayyan.

Don Ruiz: 253-597-8808 don.ruiz@thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer @donruiztnt

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