If there is anything that we know for sure right now, it’s that we have no idea when Major League Soccer will be back, when the Colorado Rapids can start training again, or what the timeline will look when soccer is back.
On a conference call with the media Thursday afternoon, Rapids head coach Robin Fraser reiterated time and again that this is “bigger than soccer” and that no one really knows how this is all going to pan out.
MLS announced on Thursday morning that the league will be following the CDC recommendations to cancel events of more than 50 people for the next eight weeks, which pushes the 2020 season back to at least May 10.
“For us, it’s just trying to maintain a level, a certain level, a base level. And certainly, as we get the go-ahead and clear direction as to when we’re going to be resuming not only training, but playing, then we get much more specific in terms of what we think we can do to get ready [for the rest of the season],” Fraser explained.
In the meantime, the players have been in regular contact with Head of Sports Science Chad Kolarcik and the club is trying to figure out how to get some equipment out to the guys since many of them no longer have access to gyms or anywhere to train. He said that the league has been working to put together guidelines, but everything changes so quickly that at this point “it’s about trying to make sure that guys are staying in shape and finding ways to do that and being creative.”
Fraser added that the “first step is keeping guys in the frame of mind that they need to stay fit and continue to work.”
Everyone knows they aren’t going to be able to keep up the same level of fitness as they would during the season, but they’re hoping to have some continuity so they can pick back up when the league gets going again.
The Rapids have started the season with two wins and six points and Fraser isn’t thinking about whether or not this break will slow down their momentum. “I’m just not the type to waste a lot of time lamenting about what could have been and what worries me and that sort of thing. I really think we just have to get on with it. This is our reality at the moment and we have to do what we can to maintain our physical training.”
He’s also not worried about what other teams are doing right now.
“We’re going to do everything we can so that when we get through this and we resume playing that we’re going to be in as good a shape as possible,” he said. “And it really doesn’t matter—not that it’s doesn’t matter, but I really don’t know what other teams are doing and don’t know what sorts of gains or losses they’re going to make in that time and really like any other time, take away coronavirus, that’s something that’s out of my control. And out of our control. So I don’t really spend that much time thinking about it.”
When asked what his message to the fans would be, Fraser was very clear. “Obviously, the first message would be, practice social distancing. Do what you can to be safe and healthy, first and foremost.
With regard to the team, it would be... we’re really excited about the way this year has started. We’re really excited about the enthusiasm that the fans brought to us, and we feel like we’re in this journey together. It’s unfortunate that it’s been slowed down the way it has, and certainly we hope to get through this and back to where we were. We’re looking forward to the fans’ support and to entertaining the fans and getting out and playing soccer.”
He added: “We have so many talented players and I think this is an exciting, exciting group to watch. As I said, we appreciate what the fans have done for us at the beginning of the stretch and we look forward to getting back to it and hopefully continuing as we started.”