Freshly cut grass, the smiling faces of players running on the field. Its that simplicity of the sport Tab Ramos has always loved. And it’s what the Houston Dynamo coach appreciated the most on the club’s return to their training facility Thursday for individual workouts.
“It was great today being out there. You could tell that staff, players, everyone was happy,” Ramos told reporters in a Zoom call Thursday. “It was nice to smell the grass in the morning after it was freshly cut. Those are the little things that sometimes you don't think you are going to miss, but you do miss. Then the obvious of just seeing the players, how happy they are to be on the field and be back in our environment.”
While adhering to MLS protocols, and those set by the city of Houston and the state of Texas, players were able to go through workouts stretched across six fields, with four players sharing a field.
Across two sessions, it allowed Ramos and his staff to keep an eye on every player.
“We didn't have them lined as full fields,” Ramos said. “We had them lined as four boxes. So it was very clear for the players where to go and how to go in-and-out of the facility from two different access points.”
Boniek Garcia gets his temperature checked by Dynamo head athletic trainer Chris Rumsey | USA Today Sports Images
Ramos said of the 27 players under contract, Kiki Struna and Jose Bizama are still recovering from injuries and three others — Sam Junqua, Cody Cropper and Niko Hansen — were given permission to travel out of market. As per city of Houston protocol, those three players are in a five-day quarantine.
Ramos said the greatest part of the return was seeing the joy on his players’ faces, for being on the field again and being together even if it was from a safe distance.
“One of the things we have tried to do is become a family as a team,” Ramos said. “I think you could tell today that it was almost like brothers missing each other. That was nice to see on the field."