With virtually every sporting league and competition, including most recently the Olympic Games, on hold due to the coronavirus outbreak, sports figures around the globe have been learning to handle the unprecedented unfolding of events on the fly. The same applies to Inter Miami CF head coach Diego Alonso, who was just two games into a new job in a new country when Major League Soccer suspended play earlier this month.
“No doubt, at a professional and athletic level, this is an obstacle,” Alonso, who confirmed that his family, both those in Miami and in his native Uruguay, were in good health, admitted. “However, at this time, what is most important is the health of our community and the health of each of us as individuals.”
Alonso was formally introduced as Inter Miami’s first-ever head coach in January of this year after making waves in the soccer world when becoming the first-ever coach to win CONCACAF Champions League titles with two different teams — Liga MX clubs Pachuca and Monterrey. While Inter Miami Managing Owner Jorge Mas and Sporting Director Paul McDonough have said that they expect Alonso to bring his wealth of successful experience to the MLS expansion team, there was nothing that could have prepared him for the situation he and his fellow coaches across the globe are currently facing. He is the coach of a team that cannot occupy the same room or field..
“Neither I nor any of my colleagues have ever experienced a situation such as the one we find ourselves in," he said. "It is unprecedented and totally atypical. It has caught us all by surprise. I have not spoken to any of my fellow MLS coaches but I have reached out to coaches from other parts of the world and it seems we are all in the same boat. We all miss our work and our players but we know that we are playing a much more important match right now that has a strong impact throughout all of society.
But the restrictions do not mean he is isolated from his squad. While observing proper social distancing protocols, Alonso explained that he has maintained constant communication with his players and coaching staff along with the club's medical personnel.
“We have been keeping in touch with players over the phone and via video conferences," he said. "Myself, along with the rest of my staff, have been monitoring the fitness regimen of each individual player. We have also conducted video conferences with each player to work on tactics based on each player’s position as of last week.”
When MLS play was suspended on March 12, Inter Miami were just days away from its inaugural home match against co-owner David Beckham's former club LA Galaxy. While disappointment would be understandable, Alonso was fully supportive of MLS’s decision.
“We are in total agreement with MLS and their decision to have postponed any matches when they decided to do so.”
And to the fans of Inter Miami and the greater South Florida community he now calls home, Alonso had the following message to relay:
“First and foremost, we miss you all and we send you a big hug from a distance," he said. "Please pay close attention to the authorities and respect each other mutually. The sooner we listen to the authorities and follow their guidelines, the sooner we will be able to get through this situation.”