Angel Rangel points out tour benefits
7th July 2014
Swansea City's summer signings can expect a warm, friendly welcome as they look to settle into life at their new club.
New faces at the club include Polish international keeper Lukasz Fabianski, Dutch winger Marvin Emnes and French striker Bafetimbi Gomis along with young Scottish defender Stephen Kingsley.
Fabianski, Emnes and Kingsley met up with their new team-mates last week when the squad reported back for pre-season duty.
They were all on the plane as the Swans flew out to Chicago on Sunday for their two-week trip to America, with Gomis expected to join his new team-mates on Tuesday.
It forms a big part of the club's preparations for the new campaign with fitness levels stepping up a notch while games against Chivas Guadalajara and Minnesota United will help build match sharpness.
While they will help matters on the pitch, Angel Rangel feels the off-the-field benefits are also hugely important.
"I know exactly what it's like when you arrive at a new club in a foreign country," said the 31-year-old, who arrived from lower-tier Spanish side Terrassa in 2007.
"When I arrived seven years ago I couldn't speak any English and everything was new - not only the language but the culture too.
"But I knew it was important for me to be involved in things, and even just being in and around the group helped my language improve along with building relationships on and off the pitch.
"Pre-season is an important time for you as a new player because you want to settle into the group as quickly as possible, and the new lads will do that because we have a really welcoming group.
"Being out here in Chicago gives us all the opportunity to understand each other a lot more on the pitch as well as off it."
Now in his eighth season as a Swan, Rangel has played an integral role in the club's rise from League One to the Barclays Premier League.
While the club has made huge strides on the pitch, Rangel feels the Swans have made giant strides off it too.
"I remember my first pre-season - we went to Sweden and Holland to play a few games while, back home in Swansea, we also went down the dunes in Three Cliffs. It's something I still joke about with Kris O'Leary now," said Rangel.
"Me and Bussy (Guillem Bauza) were almost sick that day because we ran so much. It was some introduction to British football - I wondered what the heck I had got myself into.
"But now we are in America for our second pre-season tour here in three years, and I think it will be excellent preparation for us.
"We took a lot from our last trip out here when we were in Colorado and California, and I expect us to do the same here in Chicago."