angel rangel swansea city barack obama USA

15th July
Angel Rangel is currently undergoing his 10th pre-season with the Swans after arriving from Spain in 2007. He has since sampled training camps in Sweden, Holland, Spain, Austria and Germany, but America remains his favourite destination. Currently on his third trip Stateside, the adopted Welshmen brings us up to speed from the club's Washington base with his second tour diary.

We played our first game of the tour on Wednesday night when we travelled to take on Charlotte Independence of the United Soccer League.
You realise how big America is when you have to take to the skies to play a friendly. Having left our Washington hotel at 9am by coach, we then had to take a one-hour flight to Charlotte before boarding another coach to our hotel where we arrived at around 2pm.
After a few hours rest it was back on the coach to Charlotte's Ramblewood Stadium. And if we thought it was hot in Washington, then the temperature in North Carolina really was something else.
It was nearly 100 degrees when we got off the coach and they had to bring in huge air conditioning units (below) to cool the dressing rooms down.

Luckily I wasn't in the first-half team, especially when the boys had to stand for what seemed like an age in the centre of the pitch before kick-off while they read out both teams and played the American and Welsh anthems.
I felt for the boys during that first half. It was roasting sitting on the bench on the sidelines, so I dread to think what it must have been like playing in that heat and humidity.
Thankfully by the time I came on for the second half, it was getting dark and much cooler. It was still a struggle though to get your breath at times, but we all know that if we put the work in under such high temperatures we will feel the benefits when we get back home.
It was nice to start with a 4-0 win, but the most important thing was that the boys got minutes under their belts for the first time and the youngsters in the squad experienced the system and way the manager wants us to play.

It's not just about the football though and it was great to see so many American Swans fans at the game.
All the players took time out after the game to chat to as many fans as possible and I think everyone gave their shirts away, which probably pleased Mike our kit man as he didn't have to carry them home.
In fact, I don't think we were left with much kit. I was even persuaded to part with my captain's armband and my shorts, but luckily for everyone I made good use of a towel!
But it was the least we could do. You can clearly see our fanbase is growing all the time in the States, which is brilliant. They made our night so our thanks go to them all, including Charlotte Independence, for their support.

We have now moved on from our training base at the superb University of Maryland and started using the stadium facilities at nearby DC United.
We used one of their training pitches for the first time yesterday next to their RFK stadium which holds over 45,000 fans; although the MLS club is due to move to an impressive new stadium at Buzzard Point in a few years time.
We saw plans of it the other night (pictured above) when we met their players and staff at an informal taco evening at their Preview Center. Everyone enjoyed the night and mixed well. Federico Fernandez even found a fellow Argentinian player to talk football with.

We were actually late for our first training session at DC United though. I'm sure managers have heard some great excuses over the years as to why a player is late for training. But I don't think anyone has ever blamed American President Barack Obama. Well we did - and it was genuine.
With our hotel a short distance from the White House, they closed all the roads in the vicinity for an hour because Obama was due to return from official business.
Our coach couldn't get to the hotel until Obamas motorcade, which included a number of speeding police motorbikes and a dozen blacked out vehicles.
At first we thought they had closed the roads off because chairman Huw Jenkins had arrived. But it was only the American President!

And before anyone asks, I still haven't seen the front of the White House, just the back of the building. I don't know if me and my room mate Jordi Amat will have time to get down there before we go home. But, anyway, he isn't talking to me at the moment.
It isn't because I had a go at him in my last diary column over his constant talking late at night. He isn't talking to me due to the fact that he is glued to the new PokemanGo game. I'm surprised he finds time to train!

You can read Angel's first tour diary column HERE: