Photo courtesy Mainz 05 / Bundesliga
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Mainz 05’s first trip to the United States, which sees the Bundesliga club face the USL’s Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC on Tuesday night for the Freedom Cup at Switchbacks Stadium, is not only providing a great chance for the team to build up to its new season in Germany, but also affording wider opportunities for the club to build relationships, according to Mainz’s Sporting director Rouven Schröder.
“The training camp in the US connects two important aspects,” Schröder told the Bundesliga’s official website this week. “In a sporting sense it helps us complete the first stage of training and preparation for the new season, furthermore, we are very pleased that we can represent Mainz 05 and the Bundesliga in Colorado. We are excited about the contacts that we will make, and looking forward to the journey.”
Heading to Colorado Springs, which has been a popular destination in the past for athletes looking to utilize the area’s altitude for training, Coach Martin Schmidt's is looking to build on the club’s second-most successful campaign in its history last season. Mainz finished sixth in the league last season, which with it brought a place in this season’s UEFA Europa League.
For the Switchbacks part, getting the chance to compete against Bundesliga opposition is a great opportunity for the club to not only test itself against top competition, but also
“It does mean a lot,” Coach Steve Trittschuh told the Colorado Springs Gazette’s Scott Kaniewski. “To have a team like that come to the Springs is really great for the city, our club, the soccer community there. Hopefully they’re going to get around it and watch the game.”
Photo courtesy Isaiah J. Downing / Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
As Mainz and the Bundesliga as a whole look to build their stature with American fans, Trittschuh is also hoping to take lessons the Switchbacks can apply to what they’re doing on the field in pursuit of a USL championship.
“I’m hoping that we can interact with the coaches while they are here in the Springs,” Trittschuh told Kaniewski. “Maybe learn a little bit from them. Their coach Martin Schmidt is one of the top young coaches in the Bundesliga.”
Mainz will also face Mexican club Club Leones Negros on Wednesday night at the Air Force Academy, as it works on building fitness and chemistry for the start of the 2016-17 Bundesliga season.