When the MLS training moratorium was extended back on March 25, the league announced that it’d review requests by players on a case-by-case basis to relocate to another market.
One player who capitalized on that possibility is FC Cincinnati left back Andrew Gutman, who has since returned home to the Chicago area to see his parents and family. In a conference call with reporters earlier this week, Gutman outlined what the process was like, adding that he had to travel by car instead of public transportation.
“The club actually [filled out the form] for me, but it was like where you’re going, who you’re living with, what’s the town you’re going to, what’s your reason for leaving,” Gutman said. “Obviously, because I live alone, I didn’t want to be alone for a couple months. It was just basic information.”
As the weeks spent social distancing add up, the temporary move makes Gutman’s time away from soccer a bit more manageable. He’s about 15 minutes west of Chicago, and provided insight as to how the COVID-19 pandemic is shaping life back home.
“When I first got here, it’s how it is everywhere,” Gutman said. “The shops are closed and [you] keep your distance. But I went to work out at a local field today and they just started closing off all parks and public places where people could go and enjoy the nice weather. So, I feel like it’s getting a little stricter as the virus is moving more and more into Chicago.”
On loan from Scottish powerhouse Celtic through the end of 2020, Gutman said his parent club has also been in touch to ensure he’s safe and following an at-home fitness plan. Gutman, the 2018 MAC Hermann Trophy recipient while at Indiana, is yet to make an appearance for Celtic. Rather, he’s played in 10 matches for FC Cincy and another 15 last year while on loan at USL Championship club Charlotte Independence.
As Gutman awaits the return of FC Cincinnati games and practices, he’s also keeping in touch with teammates. He highlighted a group chat where banter and the like helps to maintain camaraderie.
“It comes and goes in waves,” Gutman said. “There’s times the group chat is really blowing up, and then there’s times when nothing is going on.”
He’s watching “Breaking Bad” on Netflix, too, and keeping the jokes rolling while a 300-mile drive away from his club.
“Most of the group chat is Nick [Hagglund] just making jokes and stuff like that,” Gutman said. “A lot of it is making fun of each other and keeping the spirits high."