Throughout preseason, your favorite Fire players will give you a first-hand, behind the scenes look at what actually goes down at training camp. The first installment is brought to you by Fire midfielder Daniel Paladini. Entering his third season with the Men in Red, Paladini hits the town of Ave Maria, Fla. for the annual steak cook off. Make sure to check www.Chicago-Fire.com and follow Paladini on Twitter at @PaladiniXI for all the action leading up to March 3.
Checking in from Ave Maria: Well we are about halfway through our first phase of preseason and things couldn't be going better. Legs are sore, bodies are in pain, but the coaches are getting the best out of the team. As we keep continuing to grind and sweat through the double-days, I promise you this, there is a much bigger plan taking place for the Chicago Fire this year. We played our first exhibition game against FGCU Sunday, which is another reason to be excited. It was nice to go out and kick someone else besides my teammates. Haha.
Off the pitch: Saturday was Ave Maria's annual steak cook-off! Having been fortunate enough to have been coming to Ave Maria for three years now, I knew exactly what Saturday was about. Basically we are in what you call a very, very small town outside Naples Fla. (think The Truman Show). Kids are out playing games, live music in the background, there’s perfect weather, and of course that good smelling steak cooking on the BBQ. And what do 30 or more guys do when they smell steak being cooked? Of course we will take over and invade their small town. But honestly, Saturday was great. Awesome food, good people, and just a great atmosphere to hang out in a little town called Ave Maria. Special thanks to the Mastandrea family for taking such good care of the coaching staff and players on this special night. Until next time, this is Daniel Paladini checking in from Ave Maria.