On a conference call to media members on Tuesday, Head Coach Caleb Porter walked through the roller coaster of emotional and logistical challenges the Club and community have had to go through in the last two weeks, and provided an update on to what the team is doing to stay prepared.
The Four Categories
As players and support staff stay in home isolation during this training moratorium, Porter emphasized the aspects that still remain in the team’s control, breaking it down into four categories.
“What I can say is it’s been a roller coaster day-to-day, but I’ve been telling the players – and I’ve talked to every single one of them regularly – and I’ve talked to my coaches every day on a conference call, there are four simple things we need to do every day,” Porter said.
“The first one is to stay healthy. That’s number one," he said. "We need to stay safe and stay healthy and we need to do all the right things so that no one in our club, in our team, in our locker room, no coaches, no staff get this nasty, dangerous virus."
The second aspect is something all professional sports teams have had to deal with and that’s maintaining physical & mental preparedness, something Porter said his performance staff has begun to address in traditional and creative ways.
“I am very confident that when we pick back up with team training or individual training at the facility or small group training… that we will be in as good of a position or better than anybody in the league with what we’re doing from a sports science and a performance standpoint,” Porter said.
Currently, League mandates informed by federal and local health officials ensure that each MLS team currently follows the same daily precautions.
So the obvious question remains; how can the Crew best be prepared for an eventual return to play, and what does that entail? Or as Porter said, “Can we gain somewhat a leg up on other clubs by looking at some different projects during this time?”
Maintaining A Competitive Edge
Given the variety of players’ constraints (nutritional needs, different living arrangements, etc.), Porter said the guys have had to go old-school in some respects, often running on their own or doing individual drills at a nearby field, but that the support staff has been heavily committed to providing and monitoring daily nutritional and workout regimens through a variety of virtual means.
Porter also spoke on the technical staff’s efforts to make sure the more behind-the-scenes processes are operating at full capacity, like player scouting, opposition research, as well as individual Crew players studying their own training & game footage.
“As a coaching staff we are working hard to come up with projects and things for us to hit the ground running better than any staff in the league," Porter said. "We are studying more than ever. We are doing a lot of scouting to make sure we are ready with players in the pipeline. We are updating our tactical roadmap and our tactical role clarity and coaching manuals and drill libraries that we had already put together…We’re working hard as a coaching and technical staff to figure out innovative ways to keep the players dialed in and engaged."
Aside from the individual duties, Porter stressed how staying connected is another main priority.
“A lot of our day right now is making sure that we stay in touch. That people are accountable, that people are working, that people are not isolated. People know that we are here for them. So, most of my day is staying in touch with people in the club, staying in tune, and being innovative in how we handle this time,” he said.
Lastly, maintaining positivity is the simplest but often the hardest thing to do, Porter said.
“As simple as it sounds, you know, it’s hard to when you watch the news and it’s scary. You see all the things that are happening, and they hit home when you think about what’s going on around the world and our country. We’re all a part of that, we feel that," Porter said.
"But we have to stay positive and that’s a really important thing to do during this time. Because we will get through this, the league will pick back up. I don’t know when that will be…but we’re all staying positive. We’re sticking together, we’ll get through this together. So those are the four simple things I’ve told my staff and my players to do every single day.”