Trinidad and Tobago’s 18-man squad entered their third day of training at the Prentup Field in Colorado on Friday as the build up continues to the June 8th World Cup Qualifier against the United States at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
Head Coach Dennis Lawrence has conducted evening sessions at the facility as the players go through the process of becoming acclimatized to the conditions in Colorado.
Lawrence is expected to name his final squad next week but will be assessing the players currently in camp before doing so. Lawrence and his staff have been monitoring the fitness levels of the players through the GPS Tracking system being operated by Stephen Bradley, team football scientist currently with the contingent in Denver.
The low humidity in Colorado keeps the air dry, like the desert. As altitude increases, performance decreases and Bradley is keeping Lawrence posted on the levels.
According to the experts and other sport officials here in Denver, a major factor when playing any sport here or wherever there are higher altitudes, is the reduction in the pressure of oxygen. From a physiological standpoint, oxygen exchange in the lungs is based off a pressure gradient. In order for oxygenated blood to be delivered throughout the body, there needs to be a certain amount of pressure to help drive oxygen-rich blood from the lungs into the bloodstream.
Acclimatization at higher altitudes can range from a few days to multiple weeks for the body to be able to regulate when exercising. The Match venue in Denver is located 5,280 feet above sea level and where the team is currently training at, the Prenup Field, is actually higher at 5,430, feet above sea level. The Mexican national team also uses Prenup to prepare for games in Mexico City.
Carlos Edwards, who is five caps away from 100 international appearances, said the sessions in the first couple days was necessary for the players to start adapting to the high altitude with the air being dryer and thinner.
“So far, so good. The guys have been put through their paces over the last few days. It’e been tough but at the same time it’s work well planned and I think the guys are relishing getting acclimatised to the conditions,” Edwards told TTFA Media on Friday.
“It was a good blow for 45 minutes in the first session. The guys have stuck to what has been put forward to them. The breathing has become easier as the days have gone along. I felt it a bit in the warm up yesterday. The first day was a bit challenging but things have eased up a bit as the days went along,” added the former Sunderland man.
“The cohesion in the camp is second to none and this will make the bond a bit stronger. There are a few guys who will have to leave camp and some will join is but everyone is focused on giving their best at the moment.”
At age 38, Edwards intends to keep going, particularly being just off the centurion mark.
“First and the foremost is to help T&T qualify for World Cup 2018. I would like to play as long as possible but obviously the body will eventually say differently but right now I am here to put my best foot out there for the country and the team,” Edwards added.
Carlos Edwards talks about early part of training camp