Team huddle

FEATURE: Quakes adapting to unusual circumstances

The San Jose Earthquakes, like most of the general public, find their normal daily routine temporarily on hold. In the midst of the fight to stop the spread of COVID-19, Major League Soccer suspended its match play at least through May 9 and have also suspended group training sessions for the time being.

With the 2020 season currently on hiatus, Quakes players are finding new ways to spend their time, while also acknowledging the gravity of the current situation worldwide. San Jose’s technical staff has put a workout plan in place for the players, and much like any company working remotely, communication is key.

“We have been in contact with the coaching staff,” said Quakes defender Oswaldo Alanis. “[Head strength and conditioning coach] Guido [Bonini] and the work that he gave us is complete with different things, and it’s not about how much we like it, but that it will actually help us stay in form.”

At the direction of Bonini, the Quakes follow specific guidelines for workouts that are tailored to each player.

“We have a guide instructing us on how to do them.” Andy Rios said. “And then obviously, each one of us does a bit more or different types of workouts so that it’s not always the same thing, and that is always fun.”

For Alanis, having a ball nearby brings some solace during this unprecedented time.

“I am always playing with the ball,” he said. “It helps you stay in rhythm and distracts you too, which is what we like. We play to have fun and enjoy the game too.”

The time off has also allowed him to spend more time connecting with his family.

“Taking advantage of family time is the main thing,” Alanis said. “Being with them, talking, watching movies.”

Alanis also revealed how he has been able to stay focused on the season despite the current suspension of play.          

“How do I do it? Well, visualizing what you want, thinking about how you want to be, being calm and giving it your all,” he explained. “Just staying focused, thinking positively and visualizing good things.”

Since the club’s daily routine has been disrupted, there will be much for the squad to look forward to once play commences. For Alanis, who has fit in right away since joining on loan from Chivas, being separated from teammates has been among the challenges.

“Sharing quality time, being on a team and living and playing and facing those daily challenges,” the native of Morelia explained about what he misses most. “And soccer, of course. The ball, enjoying playing, passing, being on the pitch, sharing quality time with my teammates. There are many things.”

Quakes midfielder Magnus Eriksson acknowledged some of the challenges as a result of the current suspension, as well as the perspective it provides.

“I’m working out but it’s really hard,” Eriksson said on Wednesday. “We have a gym at the facility I live at, but they just closed it two days ago so I can’t go in there to lift a few weights.

“I go out for a run and do some stuff at home, but it’s hard, especially mentally,” Eriksson continued.

The fluid nature of the current circumstances means the Quakes have to find ways to workout at home for the time being.

“I have also gone to a park briefly but my apartment’s gym will be closing. We always know we have to stay in shape in some way, so I am sure that ideas will surge,” Rios said.

Eriksson and the Quakes realize the magnitude of the current public health situation is bigger than the sport, which in time will resume.

“There are things that are more serious than soccer,” the Swede explained. “People’s health has to come first, and the global economy is so much bigger than just soccer. So, you have to accept it and look forward and be ready when we get the green light to return to the field.”      

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