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Freddy Juarez Shares Insight Into How Real Salt Lake Is Dealing With Being Quarantined

Photo courtesy: Real Salt Lake

SANDY, Utah – Real Salt Lake manager Freddy Juarez shared insight into how the club is handling the current MLS quarantine during a conference call with members of the local media.

The majority of the conversation was based on how Juarez is monitoring his players, what they are doing to try and stay busy and how he plans on nurturing the players once they are allowed back into the RSL practice facility.

“Myself and the front office, we get on a call twice a week…we go over projects that we are looking at…we are scouting every team in the West and then from there, we will eventually branch out to the East,” Juarez said when asked about how he and the staff are working through these trying times.

Interestingly, Juarez also admitted to giving his assistant coaches projects that “other coaches in the past may not have done. He has given himself and the assistant coaches “two teams to put together a scouting analysis and tactical plan towards, it is on them to come up with the plan whereas in the past it has been myself and maybe another coach to deliver it and carry it out that week,” said Juarez. “This will help every coach think about the opponent and the tactical awareness regarding that opponent.”

Keeping The Players Active

Despite all of the work from the front office and coaching staff, the players have been asked to do very little in an effort to help them get adjusted to the new way of living. Juarez said that he wanted the players to get organized, clean their homes, spend time with their families while they can.

Although, the players are starting to get back into more of a routine. Just a couple days ago the team got together, as a whole for the first time, via a conference call on Zoom. During that call, the RSL Head Strength and Conditioning Coach put the players through a basic core workout in which they did together from the comforts of their home.

Later this week they will get together again to go over film analysis.

“We are hoping to refresh their memory with how we want them to play, the positions we want them to take to try and develop the tactical part of the game, and so when we do get back it is just going over our preseason again and going over things that we thought really helped us and will continue to help us grow,” Juarez said.

Excitement Levels Growing

Following the first Zoom conference call with the players, Juarez spoke on the excitement of the playing group to get back to work.

“We are regaining hunger, we are missing it and we have that itch,” Juarez said. “I think that is critical, I think it is important for the players and myself that you are coming back with excitement, every day you can’t wait to get back, that is important.”

How Much Time Is Enough Time To Get Ready

When asked about how much time Juarez thinks is enough time to get ready, once the players are allowed back into the training facility, Juarez is “hoping for at least three to four weeks, if you only allow one or two weeks then you better prepare for a lot of injuries so I hope at least a minimum of three weeks.”

He acknowledged that the league may not be able to do that, simply due to time restraints, in which he is anticipating many weeks where RSL has three games in seven days.

“It could be a condensed season, a lot of three [games] in seven [days] type of deals and so you have to give enough time for a pre-season.”

If the league does implement a lot of games during any given week, one would assume that the teams with the better youth and depth will surely have an advantage.

“I am happy with our depth and our youth and hopefully that gives us a lot of advantages…there is no way that you cannot use your whole roster in a condensed season.”

External Help

Juarez has reached out to who he referred to as “a couple of friends outside the club” to report on Real Salt Lake. A tactic used to try and help him create a better understanding of how opposing coaches break down his team.

“It is nice to see some weaknesses that they spotted and where we can evolve in but also they saw some things that they liked and those were things that we were trying to implement,” said Juarez.

Juarez did not mention who those friends were, but did state that he “returned the favor”, suggesting that they may coach other teams.

RSL Academy

The foundation of Real Salt Lake is based on the youth development program, the RSL Academy. Hence why Juarez informed members of the media how they are staying on top of their IDP’s, otherwise known as an independent developmental plan, “to make sure that our younger players do not get lost in the shuffle.”

There is a fine line when it comes to developing younger players. If you push them too hard, they will likely not perform as well as they can when they play games on the weekend. However, making sure that they are aware of their weaknesses, whether that be in the gym or out on the pitch, is paramount to properly develop the next generation. Because of how time-consuming the process is, Juarez admitted that the club “has never done this before.”

Weekly Roundtable Meetings

The press conference with Juarez will hopefully take place once a week moving forward. For all the latest RSL news, be sure to check KSLSports.com frequently.

Tom Hackett is a Utah and Real Salt Lake Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the It’s Utah’s World Podcast (Utah Football themed) and The Lion’s Den Podcast (Real Salt Lake themed). Follow him on Twitter: @TomCantHackett.