Portland Timbers head coach John Spencer has urges his players to return for pre-season training fit and ready to go.
The MLS club have now officially wrapped up the 2011 season after training throughout the play-offs but the former Chelsea striker is already looking ahead to late January when the next lot of training commences.
"I told them to be ready to work hard when they come back next year," Spencer said.
"You have to try and raise the standards, and you're going to have to raise your game, because nobody is going to look at (us) as being an expansion team. There's no excuses."
And the Timbers players intend to be in the best shape they can be when they return in the new year.
"I'll probably take 10 days to two weeks and do nothing. Maybe just go on light runs or maybe a walk. But, no weights, no fitness," goalkeeper Troy Perkins said. "Let all the joints and muscles recover fully and then come back and build into it."
Whilst defender Mike Chabala added: "I pride myself on being one of the fittest players at the start of camp. I know I have to work hard if I want to stay that way."