EL PASO, TEXAS (KTSM) – El Paso Locomotive FC worked for almost two months this winter to prepare for the 2020 USL season, which was suspended after just one match because of the outbreak of COVID-19.
“We played one game and then you have to stop again and it didn’t really feel like we had a chance to get going,” Locomotive head coach Mark Lowry said.
With the season on hiatus until May 10 at the earliest, Los Locos are now doing their best to stay healthy and prepared for when the season re-starts.
With the CDC shutting down gatherings of 10 or more people until early May, Locomotive players have to stay in shape on their own.
“Just trying to run and stay in shape, we’ve put in a lot of work the last few weeks,” Locomotive defender Drew Beckie said. “It’s unrealistic to say that you’ll keep that shape because you’re not training together or doing realistic drills and stuff like that.”
The club is helping by setting daily workout goals for the players to complete and then log their performance, a process Mark Lowry can track online.
“They’re all guys that want to stay in shape,” Lowry said. “It’s about keeping them up to a certain level of fitness. To do that you have to set objectives and targets. So if we want them to do a 4 or 5 mile run, they have to do it in a certain amount of time.”
With the league on an indefinite hiatus, the players are doing their part to promote social distancing on social media with fun interactive games and online clinics.
“Soccer is just a game. It’s very important to all of us, but in this moment it’s not all that important,” Beckie said. “We’re just making sure everyone is safe and healthy.”
When USL does return to action, Lowry is adamant that there be some time to allow the players to return to form to avoid injuries.
“It’s just not safe to throw the guys back into a game after six, seven, eight weeks of not being able to do much,” Lowry said. “The league is very aware that we need a couple weeks to get back going and get some games in. It will be almost like a mini-preseason.”
Lowry told KTSM that he’d like to see the entire 34-match USL Championship schedule get played, which would mean multiple games per week for most of the season when it re-starts to make up for lost time.