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Preseason Has Been a Good Start for New Columbus Crew SC Players

Those experiencing their first preseason with Crew SC are settling in and adjusting to their new team.

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Preseason camp is three weeks in for Columbus Crew SC and the coaches and returning players are happy with how things have gone. Players returned in shape and are picking things back up quickly.

But what about the new players who are in their first preseason with Crew SC?

For some of these guys, traveling to Lakewood Ranch, Florida, was their first real experience in the United States after just a day or two in Columbus.

"It's my first time in the U.S. so everything is kind of new to me. It was nice," Swedish midfielder Mohammed Saeid said.

For a first trip in the U.S., there are certainly worse places to take someone.

"We got a day off and we went down to some beach and ate and walked around and watched the sunset and then drove a little bit around the area," Icelandic midfielder Kristinn Steindorsson said of their time off in Florida.

Of course, the Black and Gold didn't travel south for sightseeing; the team was there to begin preparation on what they hope will be a rewarding season. In order to get the rewards, the team must first put in the work.

"First week was hard. It's always hard, the first week," Saeid said. "I mean fitness wise and stuff like that. The technical stuff isn't as good but it got better and better."

Fitness was a big focus of the first leg of preseason, but that time also allowed for players to get to know each other. One of the strengths of Crew SC a year ago was the connection in the locker room and the Black and Gold hope to have similar relationships again this season and they are off to a good start.

"From the first day, everyone has been really nice and we feel welcome, from the first second I was here," Steindorsson said. "I think it's no problem for our new guys to come in and feel like home and continue this group thing that has been going on."

Saeid began his bonding with his new teammates during the offseason when he joined those who remained in Columbus for two weeks., but agrees with Steindorsson that new players are integrating smoothly in the locker room.

"It was easy," he explained. "I was here earlier but I've seen the other guys, the other new guys too and they've gotten into it very well. It's a great locker room."

While fans of Crew SC are yet to learn much about the new players on the field, both Saeid and Steindorsson believe they are beginning to see where they will fit in with head coach Gregg Berhalter's style of play.

"[It's] similar to what I talked about with Gregg before I came," Steindorsson said of his role so far. "As we've gone into training and played a short match as well, you can see the way he wants me to play and what role to have. I kind of have the idea of what I'm here for."

As Columbus continues through the preseason, these roles will become even more defined and the new players will become even more comfortable with their new teammates. Like with anything, this takes time.

"It's just adjusting to our system right now and to the players around you where ever you play," Saeid said. "That you'll know where they're going to run and stuff like that. For me it's just getting to know the other players, the system, and everything will be good."

Crew SC will play their first competitive game of 2015 in the ATX Pro Challenge preseason tournament on Friday in Austin when they take on FC Dallas. This will help with that adjustment and be the next step towards the kickoff to the new MLS season.