York9 FC’s Chris Mannella is under pressure to stay in shape during his self-isolation amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
From his home in Toronto, he joined OneSoccer’s Asa Rehman, Oliver Platt, and Kurt Larson on Friday for the second Player & Pundit Hangout session. Having, by his own account, just finished an interval running workout, Mannella assured viewers he’s keeping up his fitness levels while group training is on hiatus.
“(York9) has given us a program to stay as fit as we can,” he told OneSoccer. “It’s tough because not everyone, myself included, has a gym they can go to, but they’ve sent some body weight workout stuff, some distance running.”
He added, quickly: “I’m definitely doing it, because I know if I come back unfit, Paul Stalteri’s gonna be on me to be running.”
Indeed, the latest addition to York9’s coaching staff, Stalteri — a veteran of 170 games in the Bundesliga, 55 in the English Premier League, and 84 for Canada — has something of a reputation for being a stricter presence on the training ground. Certainly not one to mess with as a player (51 yellow cards in his career), Stalteri has apparently been equally intense in his brief time with the Nine Stripes.
Mannella, a newcomer to the Nine Stripes, didn’t see what York9’s training was like last year without Stalteri. Still, he’s able to compare York9’s early pre-season to those of other clubs he’s played for, having been around the block a few times.
“Anyone who’s either worked with (Stalteri) or knows of him, he’s very strict; he demands high intensity and professionalism at all times,” Mannella said. “Paul just drives us in a completely different direction, he’s always on top of us no matter what we’re doing. His career speaks for itself, if you look at a guy like him he knows what it takes to be at the top level for a long time so obviously you’re gonna take whatever you can.
“He demands this high tempo, high standard from everyone, and it’s been really intense, to be honest. I’ve been a part of quite a few pre-seasons and this is an intense one. He’s got us running non-stop, he’s got us keeping fit, trying to stay sharp as we can. Tackles are flying for sure, I’ll tell you that.”
York9’s squad for 2020 has a lot of new faces, with Stalteri and new Managing Consultant Angus McNab joining a cast of arriving players that includes Mannella, Michael Petrasso, Matthew Arnone, and six new internationals. Unfortunately, their training camp has been put on hold for the moment, but the new-look York9 still promises to be one of the most intriguing sides in the CPL once they kick off.
Until then, though, the players will have to stay in shape on their own — lest they incur the ire of Stalteri once training resumes.
Mannella chatted with OneSoccer for a full 40 minutes on Friday, covering all topics from his time in the Toronto FC academy, to CPL kits, to reality television. To check out the full episode, click here.
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