When thinking about soccer statistics, it is easy to imagine passes completed and shots on target. But just how many soccer balls are used in a typical training? Which position group gets to training first? The answer to these trivia questions and more in these 2019 fun facts.
“We usually use at least 60 balls in a practice,” says scout and video coordinator Alejandro "Nacho" Pareja. “The goalkeepers and their coaches usually want a bunch to themselves; they can use up to 25. Then we have the rest for the team.” The practices may be different, but the amount of balls used remains similar so that each player can get touches on the ball. “We have three groups, and we spread out balls.” Balls going out of bounce or off the field is also a common problem, so often when practice ends not all 60 balls are easily accessible, according to Pareja The coaches do make sure that when they start the practice each day, they have at least 60 balls available. It is not just balls though. When counting all cones and bibs, there is usually close to another 60 in miscellaneous equipment. Although it is not a 100% passing accuracy, it does make the job of equipment manager quite remarkable
“The goalkeepers always arrive to practice 20 minutes earlier than everyone else,” Nacho Pareja explained. “They need the time to tape up, and they use a lot of tape.” It is not just 20 minutes of extra preparation. The keepers also start their warmups a little earlier than other players during gameday. While there is not an exact number on the timing of this, Pareja would not be surprised if the amount of extra preparation was also close to 20 minutes. Regardless of the day and whether it is practice or a game day it seems like the keepers always need that extra time to be able to perform when the match enters extra time
“Every Friday that we practice,” Pareja explained, “we play soccer tennis. The winner gets a trophy.” When asked if any players in particular came to mind the assistant coach was quick to recall that “Matt [Hedges], Michael [Barrios], and Reto [Ziegler], they are really good.” Despite having to play against their teammates every week, the aforementioned trio excelled at the mini soccer tennis tournament. The exact number of their victories was unclear, but it was resolved to be close to, or around 15 victories. However, none of the three recorded scores that good at the finishing mini game played during practice, where supposedly no team or player stood out or had a streak of any consistency. But it is not surprise that three of the stars of the mini-tennis game were three of the most consistent players for the team this year, with each player making at least 33 appearances out of 35 games.
There are lots of fun things to observe going on behind the scenes. But as 2020 approaches, only one number will matter: the three points gained from every victory as FC Dallas tries to win its first MLS Cup.