Maya Yoshida's unique training stint: Bridging MLS offseason with Southampton

Los Angeles Galaxy v Los Angeles FC
Los Angeles Galaxy v Los Angeles FC / Melinda Meijer/ISI Photos/GettyImages

LA Galaxy's central defender, Maya Yoshida, has been making the most of his time during the MLS offseason. The Japanese international recently took a unique opportunity to train with his former club, Southampton FC, highlighting a distinct aspect of the MLS schedule.

In Europe, the football calendar operates almost year-round, with players having very few prolonged breaks between seasons. However, the setup in Major League Soccer offers a distinctive scenario. When teams don't qualify for the playoffs, players are often granted a significant number of months off – a time that is typically packed with ongoing matches across European leagues.

For Yoshida, who joined LA Galaxy in 2020, this break in the MLS schedule provided a chance to revisit his roots at Southampton, the English club where he played for seven seasons before his move to the United States. His training stint with the Premier League side offered a unique opportunity to stay sharp and maintain his fitness during the offseason, which would otherwise be a dormant period for many European leagues.

This unique situation highlights the contrast between the MLS and European football schedules. Players in the MLS, particularly when their teams miss out on the playoffs, have an extended window of time off, which they can utilize for personal training, recovery, or, as in Yoshida's case, to train with other clubs and stay match-fit during what would otherwise be downtime in many European leagues. This flexibility allows players to explore different opportunities for self-improvement and stay in top shape, even when their regular season concludes.