The Crew held its final training session of 2012 on Friday morning at the club's training facility in Obetz. Due to MLS rules, teams that are not in the postseason cannot train after November 16. Now Crew players and coaches will head their separate ways during the winter break. Players will visit their families and take vacations, but the job doesn't stop for the technical staff, who is evaluating talent in college and abroad for potential offseason moves.
"The players will go on break," Technical Director Brian Bliss said. "Some of them will take time off. Some will probably get into some low-level workouts that [Strength & Conditioning Coach] Brook Hamilton gives them. The players will be on their own accord, while the coaches and myself will be out hitting the college scouting."
Bliss, Head Coach Robert Warzycha and his staff of Mike Lapper, Ricardo Iribarren, Duncan Oughton and Scoop Stanisic will travel to various NCAA Tournament locations to gauge the incoming rookie crop.
Unlike past years, Bliss won't have to worry about losing players to the MLS Expansion Draft. Since 2006, the Crew has had to give up Ritchie Kotschau, Ned Grabavoy, Brad Evans, Alejandro Moreno, Eric Brunner, Adam Moffat and Josh Gardner to MLS newcomers.
"It's one less headache to deal with in terms of trying to inform players if they're going to be protected or not protected and coming up with that list," Bliss explained. "That's usually painstaking. On a consensus basis, it's pretty clear for about nine guys and then it's a dogfight for the other two or three guys that you've got to select [to protect]. You never want to deliver that news, so it's good not to have an Expansion Draft this year."
As far as other roster moves, the Crew front office has until the end of the month to renew its current players' options. A one-day trade window opens on December 6 before the first and second stages of the MLS Re-Entry Draft take place later in the month. Following the New Year, the MLS transfer window opens January 2, followed by the annual SuperDraft. The Crew will select ninth overall in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft on January 17.