Jeremy Ebobisse - Portland Timbers - Yelling to clouds
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Portland Timbers forward Jeremy Ebobisse channels his energy into the kitchen

Portland Timbers forward Jeremy Ebobisse has always known the basics around the kitchen. And now that the suspended MLS season has given him some spare time, he's trying to grow from a proficient chef to a more advanced one.

With the Coronavirus Pandemic resulting of the suspension of the MLS season until at least May 10, Ebobisse is going beyond his comfort zone at the oven and taking a chance cooking meals he's always wanted to make. There's been a pasta bolognese dish that satisfied his stomach but tried his patience. There was a quiche that didn’t quite go to plan. And there was even a chocolate lava cake that was delicious, but unfortunately not ideal for staying in shape for professional soccer.

Still, the new hobby has been a welcome place to channel energy.

“I really do nothing all day, so I have time to really dive into recipes and try and really put some care into what I’m preparing,” Ebobisse says. “So far it’s been net positive and hopefully it starts habits that I can carry into once the season gets rolling again.”

With nearly two months until the season resumes, at earliest, Ebobisse will have plenty of time to master his quiche-making. 

He might not want to get too good at it, however, while he also balances culinary pursuits with the need to maintain fitness during an unexpected pause. So dar, the most difficult thing for to manage has been losing the rhythm, both with the Timbers and the US national team. Ebobisse had just been named a part of the Americans' Concacaf Olympic Qualifying tournament squad before that late March event was also postponed.

“Just at the time when we’re starting to build rhythm in our first MLS game after a long and challenging preseason for everyone, and for me as an individual ... starting to build into that qualifier and hopefully an Olympics in the summer, to have that momentum halted, that’s tough,” Ebobisse said.

While they can’t train together, the Timbers’ strength and conditioning staff continues to keep players updated on what they can do individually for workouts. For Ebobisse, that includes running every day and trying to push his own limits during workouts, rather than rely on the natural competition of team practices.

“I’ve been and our fitness staff have been really proactive about it,” Ebobisse said. “It’s not perfect. We don’t have weights. But given the position that we’re in, it’s the best thing we can get.”

Ebobisse isn’t worried personally about his fitness level. He believes he’s proactive enough in his individual training that he can stay fit and be ready when the suspension ends. The bigger concern is his technical skills.

“There’s only so much you can do with the ball and the wall,” Ebobisse said. “And then just like match fitness and match fluidity. But I think those are different things that we’ll pick up quickly.”

Throughout this unusual interlude, Ebobisse believes it’s important to keep things in perspective.

“We’re in a relatively good position where we’re not being massively laid off like a lot of these other industries in the country that are being hit hard,” Ebobisse said.