Diego Valeri at pre-MLS Cup press conference
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Portland Timbers star Diego Valeri: "It’s hard to isolate ourselves, but we have to"

Millions of adults across the United States and Canada have been balancing work obligations with parenting during the COVID-19 pandemic, and Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri is no different.

The 2017 Landon Donovan MLS MVP described some of the finer details during a first-person story in The Players’ Tribune. Specifically, it’s meant developing a routine with his 11-year-old daughter, Connie, and explaining to her how the public-health crisis is reshaping daily life. 

“We talk about everything with Connie,” Valeri wrote. “She’s aware of what’s going on with the virus and the international crisis. We only have one daughter, so that also makes it a bit more — I don’t know if I should say easy, but everything falls on us three. The usual questions are, ‘Why is this or that happening? Why is society doing a certain thing? And how are we going to come out of this at some point?’”

As Valeri’s guided his daughter through isolation, he’s also focused on fitness for an eventual MLS season return. He’s been with Portland since the 2013 season, and is on the verge of reaching the 80-goal, 80-assist club. Through 213 regular-season matches, Valeri has 78 goals and 81 assists.

But he's also turned to the bigger picture, an overall worldview during this unprecedented time.

"Even as restrictions ease, we still have an obligation to take precautions to contain the spread," Valeri wrote. "That means following those steps with conscience, with the awareness that it’s not just something that can happen to you, but you can pass it on to someone else. Honestly, it’s hard to isolate ourselves, but we have to. It’s the best we can do to prevent this disease. There’s no other way to minimize, at least for now, the contagion curve, so, if it’s possible we have to do it."

For more from Valeri in The Players’ Tribune, check out the entire story here.