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The San Jose Earthquakes were the first team to arrive in the bubble at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel and Resort on June 24. As the first team in the resort ahead of the upcoming MLS is Back Tournament in Orlando, various Quakes players were made available to media to talk about their experience thus far and their feelings towards the competition. Below are a few highlights of their respective virtual video press conferences.

On what the players have been doing:

“So far, guys have pretty much stuck to their rooms. But we’ve had the opportunity to share meals together, which has been great because I haven’t eaten with the group in a long time. It felt really good to break bread. Apart from that, we’ve been training together, but as of right now guys have pretty much stuck to their rooms.”

On if he feels safe:

“It’s a good question and it’s an important question to ask as well. I do feel safe. I think there’s a ton of precautions that have been taken and we’ve already been tested twice. It’s good to see that there’s a process in place to protect us from the virus and I’m really optimistic about this tournament and what’s going to transpire here in Orlando.”

On the group draw and playing Seattle first:

“We’re excited. We’re excited about our draw and I think it was a big step forward for us to have a start date and to have something to look forward. Because for a while there, in the quarantine process, we weren’t sure what was going to happen. So to finally know that you’re running on your own or you’re running with the team and there’s a reason behind it has been such a relief. Now we’re putting in work and we know why we’re putting in work. I’m excited for the game against Seattle, I’m excited about the other games as well, and we’re ready for anything that comes our way.”

On preparing for the tournament away from home:

“Matias emphasized a lot that the players that decided to come over [to Orlando] knew the amount of time that we could be here, but also knew there’s a high reward. We’ve also had a stoppage of three months, so to be able to play again, in quarantine and away from your family, is a sacrifice for a greater reward. So, we built a positive mentality thinking, ‘we’re sacrificing some things, but we have a great opportunity to play football again’. I think that’s where our team stands and what Matias has emphasized and said, ‘Whoever is convinced will come and give it their all to achieve the best possible.’”

On feeling safe in Orlando:

“We’re really protected. The protocol and all the things that the league and tournament staff do, they make us feel really safe. In everything we’ve done, the meals, training, the trip, everything is cared about being the safest way. I do not feel bad. I know we cannot go out or do things that can put us in danger. I feel safe, I feel happy that I can play soccer and be safe because they have all the things that take care of us.”

On playing in a different type of season format in his first year in MLS:

“You have to adapt, not just to this tournament but to all the other ongoing situations with the pandemic. It really wasn’t something we expected. I saw myself playing in a long regular season which is different than what I was used to playing in Mexico and similar to what I played in Spain. It’s a big challenge. But now that it’ll be in this type of format, it’s something cool, something you’ll enjoy, and you tell yourself, ‘you have the possibility of achieving a championship playing a few games, and also making it to the Concacaf Champions League. What better than to take advantage of that opportunity.’ We see it that way. I like it, and even if I didn’t want to see it that way, that is what we have right now; it’s our opportunity. It’s a challenge. We’re happy and thinking that we have a possibility to achieve something big in a few matches.”