Coming into practice ready to compete was a key focus for the Utica City FC boys this off-season. The pre-season is short and doesn’t allow time for players to get in shape so it was imperative to commit off-season time to personal fitness. 

Nate Bourdeau said “A lot of us on the team stayed here, we all got together. It was good to get the core group of guys training together and get a feel for each other so you could say we’ve been in preseason for a while.” He also noted that, “the new guys have come in ready and in shape so the team looks good.”

Bourdeau also runs a private training business in Syracuse to help younger players maintain fitness. “A lot of it is technical, working on the game, but if a kid needs more fitness then we focus on conditioning. If it’s strength, they do body weight and soccer specific strength exercises. It’s really a one-stop shop for whatever the player needs.”

A key for Bourdeau’s regiment is to try and stay in shape as much as he can throughout the year. “I’m younger, but I’m getting older. I try to go for longer runs, short sprint workouts, and body-weight soccer specific lifting that I think keeps me sharp throughout the year.”

For third-year player Ben Ramin keeping in shape with his teammates is also a key focus of his off-season training. 

“A lot of the local guys were meeting every day to go through indoor scenarios, like running the weave or getting use to the boards again,” said Ramin. “Guys like Slav, Andrew, Liam, Nate, myself met throughout the whole summer, sometimes three to four days a week, to stay fresh and get familiar with each other leading up to the season.”

Ramin also noted, “I’m usually matched against some big target forwards defensively. Whenever I can get on the ball and find space I’m definitely looking to get up to speed quick and into the attack right away.”

Coach Ryan Hall reiterated the focus on fitness throughout today’s training session as he put the team through running drills and sprints between sets. “It’s extremely important that the team came in ready to compete,” said Hall. “The season’s here in just two weeks so we don’t have time to get the guys in shape. They’re professionals, they come to camp in shape but it’s also important to us to maintain that fitness.” 

Look for Sunday’s Blue and Black game to be very fast paced and physical as the team is ready to launch into high gear. Kick-off at the Adirondack Bank Center is at 2 p.m. Free tickets are still available for download at