Jesse Fioranelli - New Contract - 2020

On the team returning to training: 

“It’s great being able to see the team step back on the field after three months. It’s a special moment everybody has been waiting for; the opportunity to come back to training and work towards an objective to get prepared for Orlando. I’m very glad to see everyone and so are the players that are finally in a position to see each other and the coaching staff again.”

On how players have reacted to at-home training modifications:

“I’m proud of how our team has been able to take on this challenging time, whether that be training individually day in and day out for weeks and weeks guided by our coaching staff, to setting up meetings during this period in time engaging with one another and sticking it through together. Then, also how the players and the whole club have engaged with the community and our supporters in person and on Intermedia calls. From what I understand, we were one of the clubs with the highest engagement rates on social media reaching out to our supporters and our community, be it hosting virtual sessions or fundraisers raising awareness for people in need and essential workers. Our club has really tried to work together with our communities and supporters. We’re in this together and you can feel it.” 

On San Jose being the last team to return to training: 

“We have and will continue to follow the Santa Clara County guidelines, which have kept us healthy and safe throughout this period of time. No matter which setting, we all realize that there is no ideal scenario, be it in football or in any working environment. While we are conscious of the fact that we don’t have ideal training conditions right now, there is no time or reason to look for excuses, but rather to be excited for an opportunity to do our job. We’re going to prepare in the best way possible both physically and mentally for this opportunity and work with our families in preparation for Orlando. I’m very confident in our group and in our ability to withstand challenging situations.”

On the upcoming MLS is Back Tournament in Orlando:

“First of all, we are very glad that there is a revised tournament. We are looking forward to going to Orlando for a tournament setting that is very similar to a World Cup format. That’s how were preparing physically and mentally for this extended period of time, away from families. Now more than ever, we understand how dependent we are on each other.  We stick together.”

On Matias Almeyda’s experience in short competitions and the positive effect it has on the team:

“I wish every supporter was able to see the energy Matias is transmitting. You can feel that within our first team between players and the coaching staff. We’re in this together. Matias is setting an example by guiding this group and helping them understand what we are going to face in this particular tournament-like setting. Players can relate to his words and experience in these settings and what they are going to confront and how we should prepare for that moment.”

On assistant coach Benjamin Galindo’s successful recovery process and team support: 

“What happened to Benjamin put a lot of things into perspective for us in our lives. It is probably the most disturbing and challenging situation that we have had to face throughout this three-month period. We’re really close to Benjamin. He means so much to our team, to the club and we stay close to the Galindo family in daily contact to see how he’s progressing. We understand that what he suffered is going to take some time and we have to have patience. All we can do is hope for a full recovery and stand by Benjamin and the Galindo family.”

On how the team is planning ahead of the upcoming summer transfer window: 

“We’re prepared to reinforce our squad in the next six months even though we’ve hit road blocks that are not under our control. We’ve been quite efficient in being able to obtain green cards for the last three years. Unfortunately, heading into this pandemic we were in the final phases to get two players approved and are unable to get them across the finish line. The embassies from which these players would have had to return to are in Latin America and are closed. So, for that reason, freeing up international spots heading into this summer has been an obstacle. It is also difficult to understand right now how quickly those players can return to their home countries given that we also have the Orlando tournament that we’re going to compete in.  From a timing perspective, it brings certain challenges with it. But the way we have been looking at this over the last three months is that we would have to be prepared for any eventuality and for that reason, we have been scouting for opportunities intensively for this summer and winter transfer periods. 

“There is another point that I think is important, which is that we believe in our group of players. Our young players will now get an opportunity to be tested in a different competition format with a denser tournament and regular season schedule for when we return from Orlando. Secondly, we are going to have conversations with all of the players over the next three months regarding their future with us. Having said that, what we want to do is put ourselves into a position so that we give our team an opportunity to tell their story, the one that we have not been able to say over the last three months.  

“We already have strong player targets identified and will plan aggressively, yet selectively heading into the 2021 season also bearing in mind the responses that we get from our guys.”

On what the team has gathered from watching European leagues return to action: 

“Major League Soccer and its clubs have had an opportunity to watch and learn from various leagues in Europe that stopped playing earlier and returned earlier, including the German Bundesliga. This has given us great knowledge on best practices for both our return to the training field and eventually league matches.”

Message to Quakes fans prior to the MLS is Back Tournament:

“I view Orlando as an extension of our commitment to the regular season. One that highlights the team’s drive towards a bigger cause, and not just for themselves that provides a sense of hope, a sense of belonging and place of refuge during challenging times. There’s a strong relationship that our players, coaching staff and club have with our supporters. This is an opportunity where we will see our guys commit to a tournament away from family for over a month because they believe in resuming the regular season and because they want to commit to the Earthquakes fully and they are doing so under challenging circumstances. Stay close to us because we are close to you.”