Last week’s MSL announcement to allow players to conduct individual workouts on outdoor training field beginning this Wednesday has given optimism to players, coaches, club personnel, and fans. The optimism is cautious at best due to MLS’s hopeful guidelines will be superseded by each club’s local governing authority. Here is what Sounders FC’s Cristian Roldan and Stefan Frei had to say during Monday’s media conference call.
“ Major League Soccer today announced that as of Wednesday, May 6, players may begin to use outdoor team training fields for individual workouts, in compliance with detailed health and safety protocols that were created in consultation with medical and infectious disease experts. All individual workouts are voluntary and may not be in conflict with local public health official or government policies.”
GOVERNOR JAY INSEEL PLAN
The full announcement outlines specific and detailed guidelines in which MLS is to be commended. The plan is a blueprint with an unknown future. Washington State Governor Jay Inslee issued a 4 Phase that is based on testing capabilities, health care readiness, and the state’s ability to protect high -risk populations. Phase 1 began on Monday with each Phase taking approximately three weeks to progress if all requirements are met. According to the Governor’s plan, Professional teams could play games in Phase 3 without fans in the stands. An optimistic armchair guess would have MLS playing guess in July.
THERE WILL BE SOCCER
For Roldan and Frei, the good news is that there will be soccer and as a player, it’s now on them to prepare.
ON PLAYING WITHOUT FANS
“ I would love to play in front of fans , there is nothing like playing in from of people whether they are rooting for you or against you .They make the sport so emotional. That is why I want to play in front of fans. It is a tough time right now, but I do believe if we can get sports on television earlier it would help. Fans are everything in this sport.”
“We want to play in front of fans. I know there was talk of cardboard being brought in, we might as well as play EA FIFA Game at that point. I also understand the business side of things. I also understand we have money coming in from the television side.”
CHARITY WORK DURING PANDEMIC
“ It’s not about the money its more about engaging with kids that look up to us as players and don’t always have a chance to engage with them while playing the video games. During the games, the kids get a chance to ask questions about the video games and other things.”
“Players that play video games have reached the top of their profession; I am not just there yet.”
“When the game against Houston was canceled, I thought this is a break, I went straight into my work and knocked somethings out. I quickly realized that this was more than a break and that it was something more substantial than that. I began to look at how I could stay in engaged with our fans and our community. So, a bunch of are having video sessions available for fans. The Sounders are also giving us an opportunity. I have been involved with the RAVE Foundation GRANT FUND as a player representative. I did some work with Roger Bennet of Men in Blazers.”
PLAYERS TAKING SALARY CUTS
“ All of us players understand the circumstances and what’s going on. All the players are bought in to some kind of reduction. If we make a decision it is going to be all of us together. It is an MLS and Players Union issue”
“I can speak on that regard to my opinion. There has been discussion with the union and the league. For me I saw this coming, we are part of society and I want to do my part. If part of the money I was promised can come later, we are ready to do our part.” “The way our contracts work a little different. You can blow up in the World Cup and get the same amount. “
ON WHEN AND HOW SHOULD MATCHES BE PLAYED
“It would be nice to get back to training, but we have to listen and follow our local government directions. This is a positive light feeling that we are that much closer, but we have to keep safety first.” I am looking forward to playing in matches and I believe it will. How and when that will happen is above my pay grade. I certainly believe that there is going to be games this year and all I can do is get ready.
If all I can do is work with Sean ( strength and conditioning coach) no offense Sean I will stay at home. If I can work with Tom Dutra one – one session now we are talking. If I can work with him on things, I cannot do at home that is something that will have major benefits as a player. It’s not just what we do as a league, but it has to do in a state, County and even a city level. “
‘ I think it been frustrating. You work your butt in the preseason to get ready for the season. You play two games and it gets taken away. Frustrating Yes. The difficult challenge is ahead. That is getting back ready to play mentally and physically. I am eager to face the challenge no doubt.”