EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – For the first time in two months, El Paso Locomotive FC took the pitch for practice at their training facility in West El Paso on Tuesday.
In accordance with local and state health guidelines, as well as guidelines outlined by the United Soccer League in their latest training moratorium, players are permitted to train in small groups with non-contact drills. Small group settings will be limited to up to four players, with no more than one athletic trainer and one member of a club’s technical staff allowed on each field during a session.
In addition, training rooms will open in small groups for player treatment.
“Even though it’s non-contact, you have to stay six feet apart from each other, you can still get the atmosphere of being on the field again with the guys,” said Locomotive FC head coach Mark Lowry. “It’s there somewhat and it has been great. It has been a huge morale booster.”
Locomotive FC players have been meeting with the coaching staff and training virtually, but being back on the field is important as the USL continues to work towards a return to play plan.
“In soccer, you need somebody else,” said Locomotive FC defenseman Drew Beckie. “You can pass off the wall and stuff like that, but it’s not like basketball where you can go shoot on your own, or baseball where you can hit in the cage, you need somebody else [in soccer]. So to be in a little bit of proximity to someone else and do some drills together has been really good.”
Training rooms are open for player treatment, but safety is of the utmost concern for management. Extreme precautions are being taken.
“We work with our doctors through Texas Tech, we work with our trainer, and we’ve looked at the best practices from the CDC, WHO, what the USL has provided, and what the MLS is doing,” said Locomotive FC general manager Andrew Forrest. “We want to get back on the field, but we are doing so in a safe and cautious manner.”
Locomotive FC management is looking at different options if the season was to resume without fans in attendance, but for now, the season remains suspended. However, getting back on the field for training on Tuesday was a step in the right direction.