A familiar face returned to the Crew's training ground in Obetz on Tuesday. After missing all season due to hip surgery, goalkeeper William Hesmer participated in drills with 'keeper coach Scoop Stanisic on the side while the Black & Gold prepared for Saturday's must-win game against D.C. United.
Following several months of rehabilitation, Hesmer is happy to be working in front of a net once again.
"It's just part of the process, getting back out here and continuing the rehabilitation," the club's all-time shutout leader said. "The past month-and-a-half has been busting my butt to get the cardio up and the strengthening up. Now it's out here to focus on the ball and getting the technique back."
Just like the first day of school, Hesmer felt a bit anxious about his return to the Crew locker room as he made the commute to Obetz Tuesday morning.
"When I was driving up here, I thought it would be really weird," Hesmer explained. "But it's just the same. It's like nothing's changed since I stepped out here in 2007."
Hesmer wasn't a full paticipant in training on Tuesday, but feels if it were preseason, he would be ready to go.
"If we were starting a preseason, maybe I would be [fully active in training] right now," he said. "It's just the timing of events. It doesn't make much sense to be out here and banging, hitting the ground, and going into contact situations. We've got another four months, I think my real goal is to be out here and give it for these next two months of training and have an honest assessment of where I stand. I feel great right now, but I need to get out here and do soccer stuff to make sure I continue progressing and it's healed."
While he is training to focus on getting back to full fitness, Hesmer hopes he can lend his veteran experience in the Crew's push for the playoffs if needed.
"It's an important part of the year for us, Hesmer said. "Our season is really on the brink right now. Our season has gone from a 34 game season to a two game season. It's a fun part to be back [for]. That's a positive, and if I can be of any help, I'd love to. Right now, I'm just trying to stay out of everybody's way and take care of my own business."