RSL Head Coach Freddy Juarez Starting To Feel “Normal” Again
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Major League Soccer seems as close as it ever has been to return, that is, following the introduction of voluntary independent player workouts that were introduced last week. Real Salt Lake head coach, Freddy Juarez, seems content with where his team stands, despite not being able to train for the better part of two months.
“We have a lot of work to do, but it was great to see all the guys and have them back on the training pitch and not behind a computer screen,” Juarez said.
Juarez admitted that “most of the guys” have chosen to take part in the voluntary workouts, although, some of the players have opted to wait, which he is more than okay with.
“I have been very transparent with the players, if you would like to run around on the pitch and take part in the workouts, then we would love to have you, but if you need more time and are still unsure on whether or not you feel comfortable doing so, that is fine by me,” Juarez said.
By no means will a player’s decision to take part in the workouts or not affect his playing time down the road.
Every player required a quarter of a soccer pitch, every player also required their own equipment. Juarez admitted that scrambling for all of the equipment was a tad messy and untidy. The club meandered through all of their storage space to find enough nets, balls, rebounding blocks and the like to provide the players.
Juarez also discussed a few of the changes that may take place once the return of Major League Soccer is set in stone. Such as the idea that every team will be allowed five substitutions, as opposed to the standard three.
“I have dealt with utilizing five substitutions at the Academy level before. I am all about the players and if it protects them then I say let’s do it, however, I fear that it may interrupt the rhythm of the game.”
Despite the tragic circumstances that resulted in a long hiatus from what normally should be an action-packed MLS season, Juarez mentioned how he felt somewhat normal again.
“Setting up the drills, watching the players arrive, albeit with gloves and masks on, felt as close to normal as it has in some time.”
Juarez also informed KSL Sports that the team is 100 percent healthy. The players may not be fit, but they are healthy and everybody that has some sort of injury prior to the extended break has recovered and can participate in drills when they choose to.
Sam Johnson, Giusseppe Rossi and Kyle Beckerman were all unavailable for stretches during the opening two weeks and games of the season. They are now available and will be fighting to return to the starting eleven when the league decides to return.
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.
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