Shavon John-Brown: “I’ll take the heat. I’ll play in the heat because I don’t like the cold.” (Photo courtesy of the Cosmos)
UNIONDALE, N.Y. — October is known for many things, including the World Series, pumpkins and thoughts of Halloween.
Training in temperatures hovering around 90 degrees in high humidity?
Not so much – or not very often.
Yet, the Cosmos went through a training on their grass practice field at Mitchel Athletic Complex Wednesday morning under those rather unlikely conditions for this time of the year.
“Confused, I’m very confused,” Cosmos head coach Carlos Mendes said with a smile and a laugh.
With a vital road game on Saturday, Mendes did not want to push the players beyond their limits on the rare hot October day.
The unusual weather meant for shorter sessions and making sure players were hydrated, which is always part of the team training regimen.
“Wednesday is a day we put some work and start thinking about tactics,” Mendes said. “We just made everything a little bit shorter. It’s more than the humidity, of course. You can feel it. It takes a little bit out of you. Other than that, we got a good practice in.
“We did a little big field stuff, more of a little scrimmage to work on different things that we felt we needed to do after the last game but cut it shorter.”
Depending on your vantage point or background, the players had different opinions about the hot weather.
“It’s not easy to play and train in these conditions but we been through the whole summer. So, we are kind of used to it,” said forward Bledi Bardic, who scored a goal in the 3-1 home win over Chattanooga FC on Saturday. “We have to be ready for Saturday’s game.”
Goalkeeper Santiago Castano called it “a normal practice.”
“We’re all working hard,” he added. “We have a little bit of fatigue, but the motivation gets us out there and make the work happen. Everyone is giving their best. We feel comfortable and we good to compete on Saturday.
“It’s great. We’re outside. We want to feel a little bit of heat.”
For Grenada international forward Shavon John-Brown, the hot weather wasn’t a problem at all.
“The heat, sometimes you’ve got to put it behind you and get the job done,” said John-Brown, who set up Aaron Dennis’ first goal on Saturday. “To be honest, I don’t really have a problem with it because I grew up with it.”
Yet, John-Brown admitted it was “pretty strange” to have hot October weather. He was born in Canada but grew up in Grenada.
“My first couple of the years it started to get colder already,” he said about living in the United States. “That’s the weather I don’t like. I’ll take the heat. I’ll play in the heat because I don’t like the cold.”
In a drastic 24-hour change, forecasts call for temperatures to drop to more normal and seasonal numbers on Thursday as the Cosmos continue to prepare for Saturday’s 7 p.m. confrontation at the fifth-place Milwaukee Torrent (1-3-2, 5 points). The first-place Cosmos (5-0-2, 17) need to win their final three matches to capture the Members Cup title.
They host second-place Detroit City FC (4-0-1, 13) in their final home game at Mitchel on Saturday, Oct. 12 at 7 p.m. They finish the season at Napa Valley 1839 FC on Saturday, Oct. 19.