'Let the games begin': Valour FC coaches and players excited to hit the pitch again
WINNIPEG -- The Canadian Premier League (CPL) announced on Wednesday that a shortened season will in fact take place in 2020 and games will be played in Charlottetown, PEI, starting on Aug. 13.
With that, Valour FC will be heading out east and head coach Rob Gale is ready to get playing.
"Let the games begin," he said. "It's exciting for everybody, players, coaches, ownership, fans. This is what we have been waiting for and looking forward to and hoping everything can be organized. Now we have a road map."
Gale said now that a plan is in place, training and full contact practice will begin right away on Thursday before the team heads to PEI in a few weeks.
The league is setting up a bubble format, similar to what the NHL and NBA have done. Valour captain Dylan Carreiro said what the CPL has done is great.
"We're all looking forward to it, we're all excited there is a tournament and that we can play some games," said Carreiro.
The Island Games, which is what the CPL is branding this shortened season, will be a tournament style event that will see every team play each other once and is scheduled to run until sometime in September.
Gale said he likes what the league has done.
"I think they have come up with a really interesting and exciting format that gives everybody a great chance and it will be a sprint because of the number of days it will be coming in," said Gale.
Valour has had a lot of turnover in players compared to last season, but Gale thinks they have been able to build chemistry over the last few months in team events over Zoom calls.
Carreiro thinks the new faces will allow the team to go on a deep run.
"Many people from the outside have doubted us just because of how we were last year," said Carreiro. "I think a lot of people will be surprised at the quality that we bring and the results that we bring as well."
For the Island Games to be successful there will be a lot of testing for COVID-19. Carreiro said the team has already been tested once and they will be tested one more time before they head to PEI. Once they are in the bubble, they will be tested two more times and they must have negative tests before they are allowed to play their first game.
Carreiro added after that, players will be tested every week to make sure they continue to be safe.
The team is expected to leave Winnipeg for the new bubble on Aug. 8.