Arena: U.S. team healthy, ready for tune up to Cup
CARY, N.C. -- Getting through training camp without injuries was one of Bruce Arena's goals. He appears to have made it.
After 10 days of workouts for the U.S. men's national soccer team, Arena wrapped up camp Sunday, satisfied his team is healthy and ready for the first of its three tuneup games for the World Cup next month in Germany.
At Sunday's final practice, Arena reminded his players numerous times not to take each other down fighting for the ball. He wants them to save that aggression for the games.
"They're so competitive," Arena said. "Even in a light day like today, they're banging each other. If they could turn the switch on and off then they wouldn't be the type of competitors they are."
The only casualty of the day was midfielder DaMarcus Beasley, who limped off with a slightly twisted ankle after colliding with teammates.
Arena said Beasley's injury was nothing serious and he should be ready for the first of its three tuneup games, on Tuesday against Morocco in Nashville, Tenn.
Captain Claudio Reyna said the competitiveness is a good thing.
"With the World Cup coming up, guys aren't just happy to make the team," Reyna said. "They want play. Every day you have to impress the coach.
"It is good to see us pushing each other. It just makes for a better team when everybody is working hard and pushing each other. It's really nice that it doesn't boil over so that we don't hurt each other."
Arena plans to use the three upcoming games to make final evaluations and fine-tune his lineup. The outcomes of the games aren't nearly as important to Arena as how the team plays.
"The games we need to win begin June 12, but we certainly want to be successful on the field and build our team towards the opening game," Arena said.
The first game for the U.S. in the World Cup will be against the Czech Republic on June 12.