The Vancouver Whitecaps returned to the pitch this week for a socially-distant training session.
It’s the first step to one day playing matches again, which Major League Soccer still hopes to do at some point this summer — likely at a centralized location in the United States.
The Whitecaps took many precautions, which included temperature checks upon arrival, face masks for everyone while not on the pitch, and players separated into four quadrants on the soccer pitch.
There was no sharing of any equipment, even the ball, meaning goalkeeper Max Crepeau had to shoot on himself using a rebounder.
2 months is 2 long without ⚽️@Enerex | #VWFC pic.twitter.com/0wwQhpikIx
— Vancouver Whitecaps FC (@WhitecapsFC) May 13, 2020
The team even went so far as to assign parking spaces at their UBC training facility, to ensure distance for players, who were given separate arrival and departure times.
“We are not playing soccer here,” stressed Whitecaps FC sporting director Axel Schuster. “We are only going onto our pitch to make individual workouts. It means we are doing individual exercises, each player by his own… but it’s still a very important first step because this step will help for us to come to the second step.”
Despite the limited return, Crepeau was thrilled to be back.
“I left the house, blasted some music (in the car) because I was so happy,” the Canadian keeper said. “I was just happy to get back, put my gloves on, see a few of my teammates, see people in the club, and just do the thing that we love.”
“It’s way better than to be home in your apartment or backyard trying to figure out your drills that you have to do… it’s way better to be out here.”
Here’s how the unusual training session looked: