With COVID-19 still controlling a return to normalcy, the Houston Dynamo returned to the pitch but not quite in the fashion they had expected. With specific guidelines in place, there were no team drills, instead just individual participation.
Strict protocols were put it place by both the league and the city of Houston according to head coach Tab Ramos.
“Right across, as part of our facility, right across from our main two fields where we normally practice every day we have those six fields. We wanted to get the players in a space where we could see them all. According to MLS protocol each player can have a quarter of a field as the amount of space. So, we had four players per field and in two sessions we were able to see everyone. So each player comes in and they have a warm up that we have already sent to them on an app the night before. They come in and we put them through some physical work that has also been sent to them from the night before and then we give them 10-15 minutes at the end to do some technical work that they chose to do according to their position or that they want to do. It was very well organized by the club, obviously and the groundskeepers did a great job with the fields. We didn’t have them lined as full fields. We had them lined as four boxes. So it was very clear for the players where to go and how to go in-and-out of the facility from two different access points.”
The excitement of just being back on the pitch was evident in Ramos’ face and voice as he addressed the media by Zoom on Thursday afternoon.
“It was great today being out there. You could tell that staff, players, everyone was happy. It was nice to smell the grass in the morning after it was freshly cut. Those are the little things that sometimes you don’t think you are going to miss, but you do miss. Then the obvious of just seeing the players, how happy they are to be on the field and be back in our environment.”
Twenty-two of the 27 players are in town and working out under the organization’s guidance led by Ramos’ watchful eye. Kiki Struna and Jose Bizama continue to work on their own as they recover from surgery/injury. Three were given permission to be out of town and are just now returning. They (Sam Junqua, Cody Cropper & Niko Hansen) will serve a five day quarantine before joining their teammates on the pitch.
There has been no date set for when Major League Soccer will resume full team workouts or actual gameday matches.