Several Canadian Premier League clubs have made their return to the training pitch this week after more than two months off due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In that time, players and coaches have been getting creative with their at-home training in a bid to hit the ground running (literally) when the green light comes.
Now that HFX Wanderers FC, Atlético Ottawa, York9 FC, and Pacific FC have received approval to get back on the field, we finally get to see just how effective those Zoom workouts were the past few months.
According to Pacific newcomer Alejandro Díaz, the Vancouver Island club is in decent shape.
“It’s been hard times around COVID, and sometimes it’s really hard to train on your own, but we have been training so hard,” Díaz told CanPL.ca.
“We’ve been training in our houses, or if we could still find a small green space that we can go and train (in) alone. We’ve been looking for small places where we can run a little bit, so we can have the fitness to come back. And we feel really great, we’ve been doing a really great job. We feel pretty good to start again.”
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The 24-year-old striker, who signed with Pacific this off-season from Liga MX side Club América, added that he’s been living on his own in B.C. the past three and a half months (his wife hasn’t yet been able to join him in Canada from Mexico due to travel restrictions). So, he’s had to lean on his new teammates and Pacific FC staff to keep him connected in his new environment.
“It’s a really familiar group, so I feel really great and really happy to be here and be part of this group,” he said.
Now that they’re back out on the pitch, it’ll be easier to continue bonding with the new club — still at a distance, of course.
Díaz revealed a little about what it’s been like to return to the training pitch these first few days.
“We have to come with masks, there’s always anti-bacterial gel. They take our temperature, we’re distanced. We’re training in small groups, but it’s really good,” Díaz explained. “There are really good exercises we can still do, but with no contact.”
He elaborated: “It’s a little bit of passing, but it’s still on our own, individual drills and all that stuff. Just a little bit of touching the ball, but it’s mostly individual work.”
It’s been a little tough for Pacific (and other CPL clubs) to refine their tactics, even now, by virtue of training in small groups, but Díaz is nonetheless delighted to be making progress with his teammates.
One major question surround the Tridents is, of course, how they’ll make use of both Díaz and Terran Campbell in attack (more on that to come at CanPL.ca), but the players seem to be taking things one step at a time, for now.
“Everyone’s watching and being careful about the situation still, but we are so happy because now we can train,” Díaz said. “We hope we can start (games) soon.”