Just 23 years old, New York Red Bulls defender Tim Ream already has a bright future ahead of him in both Major League Soccer (MLS) and international competition. Named the Red Bulls Defender of the Year in 2010, he first played for Team USA last November and has already logged over 1100 minutes for the Red Bulls so far in 2011.
Ream appeared in the first game of the group stage of the CONCACAF Gold Cup against Canada, but ending up watching the rest of the tournament games as the U.S. fell to Mexico in the finals, 4-2. “It was so loud, the atmosphere’s so electric,” says Ream. “All the fans are into the game and screaming and cheering and whistling, it’s just something that is impressive to see.”
Ream trains hard to keep up his strength and cardio, but doesn’t really do too much distance running. “We do a lower-body lift every Tuesday, and an upper-body lift every Thursday,” he says. The team sprints together to stay fit. “I probably do anywhere from 6 to 10 sprints of 40-50 yards each,” says Ream. The lifting is definitely performance-based. He might do lunges or step-ups while holding 30 lb. dumbbells, or squats with a medball.
Even though he’s young, Ream has noticed a change in the approach to soccer training at the professional level. “The weight-training has definitely been different,” he says. “In college we did a lot of heavy weights, even during the season. Now it’s more about getting the correct movements and form with lighter weight.”
And it’s such a gift for a young player to be on the same team with Thierry Henry — Ream never takes it for granted. “He’s always the type to take care of his body before training and after training, always getting some sort of treatment or getting his legs flushed by massage,” says Ream. “I think that’s the biggest thing, you’ve got to take care of your body.”
The Red Bulls staff makes sure that Ream takes care of his. “Most of the younger guys will do more bulking-up workouts, they’re trying to put on a little bit of weight,” says Ream. “Each player has like 4 or 5 workouts that they do specifically to train those areas that our fitness coaches have pointed out.”
With both the NFL and NBA stuck in work stoppages, more fans are realizing the quality of the MLS product. And looking forward, Ream sees how far they can grow. “It’s not a stretch of the imagination to believe that it will be one of the top leagues not just in the country, but all around the world.” One day, that may become a reality.