Los Angeles Football Club players were reunited, in a sense, on Thursday and there were smiles all around.
Some LAFC players participated in voluntary individual training at the LAFC Performance Center on Thursday, the first day in nearly two full months players could train at team sites. While the players who participated could not engage in any physical contact with teammates, even passing the ball to each other, they clearly still relished getting back out on the field.
“It’s obviously a great feeling,” midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye said after training Thursday. “The staff here, the groundswork is amazing. It’s just a good feeling to be able to get on a field that’s nice, that’s not turf and you don’t have to worry about dogs leaving their messes everywhere, so it’s just nice to have a clean, safe space to practice.”
Kaye noted he had trained for a time by himself at a local turf field, but had spent much of the coronavirus shutdown working out at his home.
Tristan Blackmon said Thursday’s session reminded him of his school days.
“It was great,” said the defender. “It felt like back in high school, we’d have summer workouts and I just remember showing up all giddy and whatnot, it’s what it reminded me of. I’m happy to be back.”
What did the players work on in the first session back? A lot of running in general.
“Just a little warmup, conditioning work, decent bit of running and a little ballwork towards the end. Free time, 10 minutes or so, so that was fun to run around a little bit,” Blackmon explained.
And while the first session wasn’t the same as usual training — the workouts were voluntary, players had to stay in their designated zones, and coaches are reportedly not allowed to be on the field at this time — having any semblance of normalcy certainly brightened the spirits of the players present.
“I think everybody would say the same, it was incredible,” said defender Mohamed El-Munir. “We were waiting long time, especially guys like me who can’t find a place to do our workout, training, there is no gym anymore. So to be back here on the field, it still is not the same as if everyone would come back and we would be together, but at least step-by-step we can get there and this is better than nothing for us after this long time running in the streets and trying to find some faraway parks to drive 30 minutes or more.
“Now I’m really happy. Hopefully this will continue to get much better and soon everyone will come back as a team altogether,” he added.
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