Jeremy Ebobisse - Portland Timbers - September 25, 2019
Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Jeremy Ebobisse: Portland Timbers return to training feels like a massive step

Jeremy Ebobisse returned to the Portland Timbers training facility Thursday for the first time since Major League Soccer suspended play due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In the grand scheme of things, it was a small step. But it meant the world to the forward.

“It’s a little step that feels like a massive one right now,” he said in a conference call Thursday. “I know we aren’t interacting at all, but even just to be in each other’s presence as far apart as we are, it just feels like we share in the struggle of being away from the pitch together and we’re also sharing in the opportunity to come back.”

Ebobisse said he appreciated things he might otherwise overlooked — training on a soft grass field, a ball at his feet, dribbling through cones and a small goals to target.

“All these little things that players take for granted and probably only work on in the offseason, but after such a long break it feels so good to just do those little things,” he said. “I think we’ll all appreciate it for a really long time.”

To this point, Ebobisse has been doing most of his running on concrete and said for the first part of the break didn’t have a ball at his feet. He admits it was getting monotonous.

“To be out there in such safe conditions was definitely really, really important to be out there,” Ebobisse said. “It just felt great to be out there, to see some of the other faces as well, even if it’s from a distance, the bond felt closer today.”

While he hopes this is the first step toward returning to play, Ebobisse is also realistic. COVID-19 is unpredictable and there’s no guarantee the road will be clear going forward. But he’s appreciative of a moment he hopes brings some positivity to Timbers fans.

“Just to be able to get back out on the field in such a controlled manner, for us, the players who are able to share little snippets of our entrances and us being on the field, with the fans, we want to convey the belief and the uplifting spirit that comes with us being back out on the field,” Ebobisse said. “Hopefully taking a big step into playing in a regular season game, however that looks.”

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