Inter Miami's Ben Sweat stays at home amid coronavirus, but he'd rather be fishing

Ben Sweat - Inter Miami - at Audi Field

Inter Miami defender Ben Sweat is like many of us during this coronavirus pandemic, using some unexpected free time to spruce up his business website. 

In the Tampa Bay-area native's case, that involves writing marketing copy for his fishing apparel company, Twin Tails Outfitters.

"I’ve been able to focus on that the past few weeks," Sweat revealed during a conference call with reporters Wednesday. "I’ve done a ton of content on that. And that’s kind of like my biggest hobby outside of soccer and my family is fishing. That’s something I’ve been able to focus on and enjoy these past few weeks."

Stay-at-home orders in Florida are keeping Sweat from engaging in the outdoor activities he loves, be it his water-bound hobby or land-bound vocation. They're also keeping his wife, Inis Sisic, from her new job in South Florida after she previously worked as a customer experience manager in the automotive industry when the couple were in New York.

Sweat knows it could be worse; he need merely look at the crisis engulfing his former city, where he previous played with New York City FC before Miami selected him the 2019 MLS Expansion Draft. Even so, many of this thoughts and feelings in these unusual times aren't unique to a pro athlete.

"It’s extremely difficult to see how many people are affected worldwide," Sweat said. "It’s difficult to see the economy get hurt. People lose their jobs. ... I know people who are getting their jobs cut, their salaries cut, their work hours cut. It’s affected a lot of people. And I’ve been able to sit back and watch more television or news-related articles, read stuff that I might not have read on a normal daily basis because of it. It’s been eye opening."

While Sweat grew up only a few hours' drive from South Florida, the pandemic crisis means he won't be able to visit family anytime soon. (They're all healthy, thankfully, he says.) As for his new teammates? While a training moratorium remains in place across MLS, they're still trying to learn each other virtually through team-wide videoconferences, and smaller virtual meetings among position groups. That's an imperfect substitute for the bonding that comes with sharing a practice pitch or a dressing room.

"We went through preseason, started the season, played two games, so you kind of get into that routine and rhythm," Sweat said. "To kind of back off that, it’s been tough mentally. But I’ve just been having a lot of patience and realizing it’s out of our control. It’s out of my control. So the best thing for us to do is just be with our families right now. Stay focused. Work as much and as hard as we can with the space and the time we’re given during the day."

Sweat remains hopeful Miami's first season in MLS will be a full one, even if that means a congested schedule and some other sacrifices when play finally resumes.

"They want to play 34 games and I think it’s still possible," Sweat said. "We’re going to have a lot of midweek games, and there’s potential talk of not playing the Open Cup. And I think the regular season is the most important thing right now to focus on. So hopefully this gets settled pretty soon and we can get back underway with our schedule.

"I think we’re all really curious and anxious to see what they’re going to come up with and what the rest of the year is going to look like for us."