'We are doing what we can': Valour FC continues with restricted practices, hoping it's in preparation for a season
WINNIPEG -- Valour FC was not two weeks into training camp when it came to a halt back in March. However, with eased restrictions the team, minus a few players caught abroad, is back on the pitch for restricted practices.
“Without contact, it's unrealistic in terms of decision making for the players, and pressure, but we are doing what we can," said Valour FC head coach and general manager, Robert Gale.
With only a third of the roster from the inaugural season returning for a second year with the club, the limitations have made it difficult for players to build chemistry, other than some video conference socials held during the lockdown.
"You're not obviously going to get the ball skills not playing with your teammates as much,” recently acquired midfielder, Fraser Aird said.
“But keeping yourself physically fit during the whole thing out running and stuff like that is key because we never know what's going to happen so we need to be prepared for that."
Further to the challenge of running practices while maintaining physical distancing, is the fact that no one knows exactly what the league will decide when it comes to when, where and how it plans to forego a season, if it even does.
“What's it going to look like? Is it a tournament? Will we get any games in? All of those factors are still unknown, so I think it's been a challenge,” Gale said.
The uncertainty has challenged some players’ ability to keep focused, with no season opener in sight.
“It's probably most mental (the effects), the whole pandemic thing and getting used to it and coming back to training not knowing what the outcome is going to be or when we are going to get the call," Aird said about the challenges of training during the pandemic.
With no firm start date, Gale says his staff has been taking a “scientific approach” in preparing for a potential season, using a “sliding scale” to gauge how hard to push his players.
"We had one for a potential June first start, a potential July first start, and a potential August first start,” Said Gale.
“Obviously as more information becomes available then we kind of ramp it up towards competition."
It’s unknown when the league will decide on the 2020 CPL season.