STATESBORO, Ga. (WSAV) – With smiles beaming on players’ faces, Tormenta FC resumed training and took a step towards bringing sports back to the Coastal Empire.
“It feels amazing obviously just seeing the guys out here. Practicing social distancing, but seeing faces again and getting acclimated with the team is exciting,” forward Daniel Jackson said. “It’s a huge boost for morale.”
Monday’s training session marked the first time these players have gotten to get reps in with each other since the United Soccer League suspended the season on March 12th due to coronavirus concerns.
“We are happy to do something team-related,” defender Lars Eckenrode added. ” We aren’t sure what is coming next but, for right now, this is perfect and we are loving it.”
Team staff met via Zoom on Friday to lay out a list of extra safety measures for players who show up to train. Group sessions are limited to a maximum of four players at a same time. Physical contact is not allowed and, in an effort to avoid ‘bottlenecks’ or large groups in the locker rooms, there’s a scheduled time for each group of players to come in an out of the facilities.
“If we aren’t doing it well then we aren’t inspiring confidence elsewhere to do it well,” head coach John Miglarese explained. “My hope is if people can see we are coming out and taking the necessary precautions within the framework and instruction from the league and in terms of what we belive is safe for our players then hopefully it will spread the right messages of how they take care of each other moving forward.
The club understands not all players may be comfortable returning to the pitch right away. With that in mind, training sessions have been made completely voluntarily.
“I think that helps give players piece of mind knowing that the club has their back,” defender Lars Eckenrode added. “They trust them and know they care for them. I think that helps the players feel safe.”