Seattle Sounders, holed up at home like everyone else, hope for earlier restart to MLS season

    A crowd marches towards Century Link Field prior to the Seattle Sounders home opener against the Chicago Fire.

    It appears like simply the other day, Brian Schmetzer states, that the Sounders were preparing to get on an airplane to play the Houston Eager beaver in their 3rd game of the Big League Soccer season.

    In Fact, it has been 3 weeks– interminable in lots of aspects, a flash in others– because the Sounders coach led his players through what nobody yet understood would be their final training session till … well, who understands? As Schmetzer put it, most likely nobody in the world can state with self-confidence when the season will resume.

    “We were dialed in, ready to go,” Schmetzer stated during a video teleconference Monday, and after that stopped briefly. “Things change.”

    Those changes have actually been extensive for everyone, obviously, due to the fact that of the assault of coronavirus. The Sounders are attempting to strike a very fragile balance in between preserving the physical fitness of their players as best as possible and sticking to health standards.

    Garth Lagerwey, the general manager, stated during the exact same video conference that Sounders players have actually all remained in the Seattle location, and they are holed up in their houses simply like everybody. He added that “a couple” of players have actually been evaluated for COVID-19, however none came back favorable.

    “Our facilities are closed,” he stated. “We are not bringing our professional athletes anywhere. We are not sending them out in the neighborhood. We are practicing safe social distancing. Our professional athletes are not even utilizing the health clubs in their apartment or condos today.

    “We’re trying to get creative to keep them engaged. That’s what we’re looking at: Trying to get them interested and motivated during this difficult time for all of us. The important message is we act as good community members right now and try to be leaders and good examples of what is required of all of us in this shared sacrifice to get through this.”

    In truth, Lagerwey’s message to anxious soccer fans yearning to see the Sounders back in action is that there’s a link in between safe health practices and the resumption of the season.

    “The best thing we can do to try to maximize the number of games we play this season is to take this seriously,” he stated.

    In the meantime, it’s a whole new world for everyone included. Lagerwey’s mother-in-law lived a block far from the Life Care Center in Kirkland that ended up being the center of the infection, with 37 individuals passing away there. Lagerwey and his better half Hilary chose to move her in with them– and simply to be safe, Garth self-quarantined for 2 weeks in a house above their garage.

    “Stuff like that makes it really real,” he stated.

    However there’s likewise a bonding component occurring all over that Lagerwey is relishing. It has actually been years, he stated, because he didn’t have a soccer game to play, watch, broadcast or scout. He’s delighting in the extra time with his family, that includes 2 young young boys.

    “With every crisis comes an opportunity,” he stated, including, “All of a sudden, I see what the rest of the world is like.”

    Schmetzer jokes that his pet dog is the prime recipient of their new shelter-at-home presence.

    “My wife Kristine and I have done a lot of walking,” he stated. “Our dog is leading a charmed life. He’s getting two hourlong walks a day.”

    However it’s not all reverie. Vice versa. Schmetzer stated he has actually remained in deep conversations with his personnel on bigger- photo aspects such as game designs, practice routine and training techniques. And he has actually attempted to keep track of the development of his players, who were provided a “Care” plan of a soccer ball, hand sanitizer, resistance bands, foam rollers, little portable weights and the like.

    “It’s challenging,” Schmetzer stated. “There’s a lot of articles out there that coaches are sending film (to their players), doing all that sort of stuff. I mean, we’ve kind of shied away from that to start with. We don’t know how long this is going to last. You can’t have them watch film for six weeks straight if this goes out very much longer.”

    MLS has actually a targeted return date of May 10, however at this point that’s more wishful thinking than anything else. Lagerwey did state that the hope is to still play a full schedule, even if it implies extending the season to December, and to do so in fan-filled, instead of empty, arenas.

    “I think you may see us be patient in terms of launching a season to get to a point where we can play in front of fans, because we really feel that’s part of the ‘Sounders experience,’ ” he stated.

    On The Other Hand, the Sounders’ training program is being administered to players, through Zoom, by their strength and conditioning personnel, led by Sean Muldoon.

    “Sean may be the breakout star,” Lagerwey stated with a laugh, “but Stella is definitely the lead singer.”

    Stella is Muldoon’s 2-year-old child, who does her own version of the workouts as her papa designs them– much to the amusement of all included.

    “She’s absolutely adorable,” Lagerwey stated. “As a moms and dad of a 2-year-old myself, it’s simply a happyage She moves in and out, and she normally has some magnificent clothing she’s chosen for herself, too.

    “It’s just a lot of fun, and it allows the whole family to do the workout as well, because the kids can join in along with the professional athletes, and everyone can do it together.”

    Ultimately, the Sounders will get the excitedly prepared for word to ramp up in preparation for the relaunch of training school. In the meantime, however, they’re attempting to find chance in the middle of the crisis.
    ( c)2020 The Seattle Times
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