Past American adventures: part two

10th July

With the Swans currently preparing for their sixth season in the Premier League with a ten-day training camp in Washington DC, we take a look back at the club's previous tours to America. In the second and final part of the series, the Swans head Stateside in July 2014 . . .

Swansea City's second American adventure came under the managerial guidance of Garry Monk in July 2014.
Described as a two-week training camp, the club was initially based in Chicago for eight days before moving on to Milwaukee and a flying stop in Minnesota.
"The two weeks in America will provide us with the perfect opportunity to start building our fitness levels ready for the new campaign," declared Monk at the time. "The first week will be purely fitness work before some game-time.''
It certainly was a tough opening week with a number of triple sessions at the University of Illinois.
After a morning session of running drills, the squad then hit the weights in the afternoon before working on their football skills in the evening.

"We've had very tough sessions, but we realise that as much as it does hurt right now it is helping us all in the long run. No pain, no gain," said Swans skipper Ashley Williams. "We will be very fit this season if pre-season training is anything to go by.
"We are all doing it together and pushing each other on - this is where the camaraderie comes into it. You learn a lot about someone when you are working very hard with them."
The main new faces in the squad were Polish international goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski, who had arrived two weeks previous from Arsenal, plus Bafetimbi Gomis from Lyon. Young left-back Stephen Kingsley also made the trip after his switch from Falkirk.
"The lads, coaching staff and those behind the scenes have been great with me. It has allowed me to settle in very quickly at the club,'' said Fabianski.
"Being in America is a big opportunity for me to get to know the players and staff because we are with each other 24 hours a day for two weeks. It's time to bond on and off the pith, and that is very important.
"I am full of optimism. Having seen the quality of players we have and also the standard of training, I am very impressed. It will be a very interesting season for us and hopefully we can achieve good things.''

Fabianski, Gomis and Kingsley would make their debuts during the second week of the tour after the club flew on to Milwaukee - home of The Fonz.
And it looked to be 'Happy Days' as the Swans seemed set for an opening tour game victory over Chivas Guadalajara - 11-time Mexican champions.
Nathan Dyer had given the Swans a 57th minute lead in front of a bumper crowd of 31,000 as Miller Park, home of the Milwaukee Brewers baseball team, hosted its first ever football game.
But American referee Andres Pfefferkorn dismissed Neil Taylor and Chivas' Jesus Sanchez with ten minutes to go after squaring up to each other innocuously, before awarding a controversial spot-kick against Jazz Richards with virtually the last action of the game which Giovani Hernandez slotted beyond Gerhard Tremmel.

SWANS (first half): Fabianski, Rangel (capt), Bartley, Flores, Kingsley, Richards, Shelvey, Sheehan, Routledge, Bray, Gomis.
SWANS (second half): Tremmel, Tiendalli, Amat, Davies, Taylor, Britton, King, Sheehan (Bray, 72; Richards, 82), Dyer, Donnelly, Emnes.

The Swans also took time out to strengthen their links with local soccer club North Shore United, who had turned up in their hundreds to support the club against Chivas.
Monk and coach Kristian O'Leary led a touring party that included Leon Britton, Angel Rangel, Ben Davies and Jay Fulton to visit the club on the outskirts of Milwaukee.
The club had developed a link with North Shore four years previous with Swans Academy coaches travelling to the States to help run Swansea City summer soccer camps, while a number of their young teams had visited the city to take on academy sides.
"To see so many Swans shirts here shows how far we've come, especially as the kids know so much about the club and the players,'' said Britton. "It highlights how much the club is building and expanding and it's vital to ensure we carry on doing this for the next 10 or 20 years to establish ourselves all over the world.''
Joe Hammes, Director of Coaching for North Shore United, added: "The game is definitely growing here and because we are able to see all the Premier League games live on TV, there is a big Swansea City following as well. This current partnership is massive and we are really enjoying it.''

From Milwaukee it was a quick pit-stop in Minnesota to take on the North American Soccer League Spring Season champions before jetting back to Wales.
But the strenuous training schedule and travelling took its toll as Minnesota ran out deserved 2-0 winners in front of 9,064 in their first home game against a Premier League side at the National Sports Center Stadium, Blaine.
There was one notable absentee from the Swans squad, namely Ben Davies, who had already left America behind bound for a move to Spurs.

SWANS (first half): Tremmel, Rangel (capt), Flores, Bartley, Kingsley, Richards, King, Shelvey, Dyer, Donnelly, Gomis.
SWANS (second half): Fabianski, Tiendalli, Flores, Bartley, Taylor, Britton, Shelvey, Emnes, Routledge, Bray, Gomis (Sheehan, 59).

Despite the defeat and disappointing performance, Monk declared the tour a huge success.
"We can't let the Minnesota result detract from a very successful two weeks for the boys,'' said Monk. "Everywhere we've gone from the training pitches, the cities of Chicago, Milwaukee and Minnesota, we have been spreading the name.
"We have grown in popularity and awareness as the two weeks have gone on and we've seen more and more Swans shirts about. It is definitely something the club should build on over here.
"As for the players, they have worked extremely hard and the level we are at is very good because of that training. I've been very hard on them and enjoyed seeing them sweat. The boys know that if they hurt now and they get through the tough periods then they'll be fitter for it and in a better place to go into the season.''
It certainly seemed to have worked as the Swans went on to enjoy a record-breaking season with an eighth place finish and 56 point haul - their best in the Premier League.