How FC Dallas is keeping players and staff moving ahead during the Covid-19 shutdown

The current MLS stoppage due to the Coronavirus has brought FC Dallas, its players, and staff to a place they’ve never been before.

“This is new territory for all of us,” said Coach Luchi Gonzalez via conference call on Wednesday.  “We’re a collective team sport, not individuals.”

As the stoppage began, the FCD coaching staff set up a program for keeping their players fit and in tune with the team’s tactics. 

“We had a plan. We were going to work in small groups of 2 or 3 players out on our training field,” Gonzalez said. “We were allowed to have a coach with them giving them individual direction. They had to work independently but the coaches could instruct them.”

“But that changed. Now players can’t be at our facility.” 

This change in status obviously makes things much more complicated for the coaches. “Now the players individually work from home. Or in open space, a park, something near them.”

According to Coach Gonzalez, the players aren’t completely on their own though, unsupervised.  Each member of the team is getting workout plans and programs like this one below (from Garrett Melcer’s article).

One example of the FC Dallas daily fitness and exercise program required of players during the 2020 Coronavirus shutdown. (Courtesy FC Dallas)

“We are supporting [Assistant Athletic Performance Coach] Vander [Salas] who’s putting together videos and plans for the players,” Coach Gonzalez said. The below videos provided by FC Dallas are examples of the videos provided to players. Notice how they are tailored to be used at home without equipment.

Outdoor Fitness Program

Indoor Strength Program

As for the main coaching staff, this shutdown is by no means a vacation – with apologies to Rodney Dangerfield – it’s more like back to school. 

“They are doing personal education assignments,” Gonzalez says. “Research, learning, tactics, team concepts, and education. Perhaps looking at specific areas of the field, positional ideas, or specific units.  We’re looking for ideas and then doing presentations to the rest of the staff and ownership on concepts.”

But in the current circumstances, even those educational efforts and presentations aren’t simple.

“We can’t meet as a group inside. If we need to we can meet outside and chat with proper space between each person,” Gonzalez explained.  “But we also share things online, in conferences. Digitally.”

Right now, Gonzalez says the number one priority for him and his staff is the health and well-being of the players. “I’m in constant contact, I check on all the players. I send them texts and messages. Check-in on them all and make sure they are ok.”

But as always with Coach Gonzalez, his mind was on the bigger picture and those worse off.

“We’re not victims here. We’re lucky to have our families near us. My heart goes out to those dealing with the virus in more direct ways.”

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