With MLS games and training currently suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, FC Dallas head coach Luchi Gonzalez is ensuring that communication between he and his players remains constant, and not just for training purposes.
The players are all in different situations, with some living alone, or living far away from their family, which can make the isolation that much more difficult.
“First and foremost, it’s about connecting with every player to know how their health and family is," Gonzalez told MLSsoccer.com on Wednesday. "We’ve got players who don’t live with their family, they live on their own or they’re younger and live on their own. Just making sure everybody knows we care about each other. Number one is health, well-being and family. This whole thing puts things in perspective.”
With all players healthy, the goal is to keep their fitness at home amid the training moratorium. Gonzalez revealed that there were discussions of potentially allowing the facilities open for very small groups, but was ultimately decided against.
“The league almost approved for some type of group work here at the facilities or at each club’s facility," Gonzalez said. "One coach per player or two players. Each player assigned to a different sector of the field, we have a big facility we probably would have had an advantage in that way. But, it turns out because of the progression of the government issued information about the virus, it was the decision of the league to ensure nope, facilities are not being used, players are staying home and as quarantined as possible. Which we obviously all agree with, it’s the right thing to do.”
Our thoughts are with everyone during this challenging time. We’re disappointed the MLS season has paused but we absolutely support the league’s decision. We’ll find creative ways to stay fit and ready for what’s next.— Luchi Gonzalez (@LGonzalezFCD) March 13, 2020
Thank you for the support.
We will overcome this together.
Dallas have given their players work to do at home, from technical, to physical and mental. As assistant athletic performance coach Vander Salas explained to MLSsoccer.com on Tuesday, the staff has sent the players various videos for workouts to maintain fitness and ideal weight until the group can resume together.
For now, they're all looking to make the most of increased time at home.
“It’s funny, I have a dynamic at home where my wife is like the school principal of the virtual learning for the e-school," Gonzalez said. "I have a six-year-old son and an 11-year-old daughter, they’re doing their homework assignments, but they knock it out in like two hours and I don’t want them sitting on the couch watching Disney+ all day. So I’ve been like the PE coach.”
He and his kids go on bike rides, walks and play all sorts of sports. It's moments like these amid the trying times across the country that put things in perspective.
“The reflection of all this — soccer is an amazing sport we play and we’re all so passionate about it, we love this game and we’re going to miss it until we get it back – but the number one thing we love it our family," Gonzalez said. "It puts everything in perspective, that’s for sure.”
Even if, maybe, his kids aren't always thrilled when he reverts back to coach-mode.
“I’ve actually really appreciated doing these things with them that I don’t get to do so often," Gonzalez said. "My kids are not used to this either, they’re like ‘dad, come on, why do we have to do this rep 20 times?’ So it’s testing their patience with me, too! But I’m having a blast."