The Orange and Blue are back in action, finally back on a pitch kicking soccer balls. We had the opportunity to drop in on the first training session of 2018 and talk to Alan Koch and FC Cincinnati’s veteran midfielders, Kenney Walker and Corben Bone. Here’s what they had to say about the 2018 camp and the USL season ahead.
Coach Koch gave us his thoughts on the juicy slate of preseason games that was announced on Wednesday. He stressed the need for the team and coaches to be “pliable” in preseason (they could even add a game).
“The number of games is there by design—the team’s we’ve chosen and the level that they play at is by design, too. We’re going to go through a progressive three-phase process to get ready for the start of the season, and you’ll see we’ll increase the players minutes as we go throughout the progression of those games. When we get back from that (Florida), we’ll assess the group and start to increase the minutes as we go through preseason. … You have to be very pliable through preseason because you don’t quite know exactly how it’s going to go. If we have to add a game or whatever we might need to do, we’ll do that.”
Listen to the full interview below where Coach Koch also discusses Andrew Wiedeman’s retirement, the smaller 2018 squad size, and how he intends to integrate new talent into a cohesive group.
Kenney Walker was the 2017 Team MVP, and he shared his thoughts with us on Austin Berry bossing him around (my words), and whether Louisville City’s USL Cup win changes anything for FCC heading into preseason.
On Austin Berry as a coach:
“I’m not used to it yet, but we’re still good friends so it’s not going to be anything different. It’s just his role (that) has changed, so it’s going to be that little bit of a boundary on the field now that we didn’t have before, but it will be fun going along in the season.”
On whether Louisville’s USL Cup win changes the approach to the 2018 season:
“No, not really. Louisville’s been a good team ever since they came into the USL. I think for us it’s just about getting together and meshing all the new guys together and starting, pretty much, not over again, but having a base of players coming back and all the new guys coming in, and seeing how much better we can do, this year from last year.”
Listen to the full interview with Kenney where he talks about his 2017 Team MVP award and what it’s like adjusting to the player turnover in the past two seasons.
Corben shared a few minutes with us and shared this after the training session concluded.
“It was great to just be back, out touching the ball with all the guys and stuff. The off-seasons are always interesting times, but … it seems like it flew by, and we’re here now with another season in front of us, and I’m really excited.”
As a new father, Corben had to adjust to changes off the field, but he shared what he worked on in the off-season.
“My off-season was a bit different than previous ones, because I just had a baby, so I was a bit limited on where I could go, and my wife went out of town a little bit, so I did some stuff in the gym working on core strength and flexibility, because I think that can help with longevity and fitness.”
Listen to the full interview where Corben gives his thoughts on players departing, personal goals for 2018, and the team’s new midfield setup.
All photos are courtesy of JES Photography.
Stay tuned to Orange and Blue Press for more coverage of FC Cincinnati’s 2018 preseason.