While Sean Johnson’s offseason routine over the last three seasons has always included January national team camp, he’s also gone on at least one training stint abroad each year.
After 2010, he joined the Generation adidas team for a tour of Spain and in 2011 spent time with English Premier League side Everton.
Last month, Johnson returned to Goodison Park to train with the likes of Tim Howard and U.S. goalkeeping coach Chris Woods but not before he took on a shorter stint at Stoke City.
“It was great to get back to England and train again. It’s an experience that you can’t really duplicate. Training at the highest level only makes me better as a player and being in that environment day-to-day you take away a lot of things. This time going to Stoke and Everton, I got two different experiences that were both valuable.”
With so many offseasons spent abroad, Johnson admitted that he wouldn’t mind seeing his career take a turn in Europe.
“Everybody wants to play at the highest level and that’s my goal as well. Being able to achieve that level and take in everything else that goes with it – the quality of soccer, quality of life – I think it’s definitely a place I want to be at some point.
“I recognize that it’s just a matter of how much harder I’m going to have to work to get there.”
Its with that recognition that Johnson has already begun to focus on the 2013 campaign in Chicago.
National team commitments will mean Johnson will miss the first leg of the Fire’s preseason preparations in Ave Maria, Fla. but the fourth-year netminder can’t wait to re-join his teammates for the second leg of preseason beginning February 2 in Ventura, Calif.
“I saw [Equipment Manager] Charles Raycroft’s Facebook status the other day where he was opening up like 67 boxes of new equipment and got pretty excited. Preseason is a great time of year -- you get everyone on the same page and work towards the goal of improving on the previous year.
“Being around the team and staff and developing relationships with new players and the ones you already know is something I enjoy. It’s been a relatively short break for me but I think even in rest, you start to miss the game a little bit, so I’m ready to get back.”