Amer Didic Preseason 2018

Following Sporting Kansas City’s opening 2018 preseason training session on Monday afternoon upon arrival in Scottsdale, Arizona, the side took part in the annual beep test on Tuesday morning at Phoenix Rising FC Soccer Complex.

Administered by Director of Sports Performance & Science Mateus Manoel (pictured above), the squad was split into two groups for the grueling fitness challenge. The infamous test requires participants to run back and forth between two boundaries within the sound of automated beeps that increase in pace as the exercise continues.

Arrive at the boundary late? That’s a warning. A second time in a row? You’re out.

The first group, consisting mainly of team veterans, delivered a strong showing but it was Amer Didic – who joined the Sporting KC roster midway through 2017 from the Swope Park Rangers – that outlasted his teammates.

“It felt good, it’s always challenging to run the beep test, especially one of the first couple days coming back from the offseason,” Didic said. “All the guys look good and we’re excited to get going.”

Youth had a significant presence in the second group, including teenage Homegrown signings Gianluca Busio and Jaylin Lindsey and all four of the club’s selections at the 2018 MLS SuperDraft.

Despite being pushed all the way by Lindsey and newly minted forward Khiry Shelton, it was Colton Storm and draft pick Graham Smith that emerged victorious in the second stanza.

“(I felt) pretty good,” Storm said. “I worked hard all offseason to come in fit and I was hoping to do well and continue that going into the rest of preseason. I tried to get out and touch the ball every day, tried to do some cardio every day. Just not really give yourself a complete ‘off’ season – always try to keep your body fit.”

“It was cool for all the hard work over the offseason to come to fruition,” said Smith, who was drafted by Sporting KC in the first round on Friday. “I think what really helped me is over the offseason, I worked with our head trainer at University of Denver, Matt Shaw – he really helped me out.”

With the first two days of preseason in the books, both Didic and Storm are happy to be back in the swing of things and look forward to further challenges ahead.

“It’s been great, there’s been a lot of energy throughout the group,” Didic said. “Everyone’s excited to get the ball rolling. We want to win trophies, I think that’s a similar thing every year with the club. We want to win as many trophies as we can and preseason is that first step to set the foundation for the rest of the season.”

“It’s gone well, with the new guys coming in we’ve tried to learn each other a little bit,” Storm said. “You want to hold yourself and everyone to a standard and we’re doing that here. It’s just getting into the rhythm of things and playing every single day.”