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Life Without Soccer: News and Updates for Monday, March 23

From morning coffee dates to partnerships with local government, teams throughout the USL are finding unique ways to reach out to their communities.

New Mexico United fans wave flags through plumes of smoke during their inaugural match against Fresno FC
New Mexico United fans wave flags through plumes of smoke during their inaugural match against Fresno FC at Isotopes Park on Saturday. Photo Courtesy of USL.

Every day MLS, the NWSL and the USL are suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, Pro Soccer USA will provide the latest news and updates, examples of what the soccer community is doing to pass time and some recommendations for readers to keep busy while hunkering down at home.

The Latest

Throughout the league, USL teams have found different ways to engage with their communities and provide support, relief and guidance throughout the uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic.

Spurs Sports & Entertainment — the parent company that owns both the San Antonio Spurs and the San Antonio Rampage — pledged a $500,000 fund to ensure that all part-time workers were paid through the end of both teams’ suspended seasons.

In Albuquerque, New Mexico United partnered with Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to create a messaging campaign to spread public health recommendations fans and followers. 

These PSA’s have expanded to include health and safety tips, at-home workouts and encouragements to support local businesses.

“New Mexico United has been a powerful force in our community since day one,” Grisham said. “The team’s dedication to helping their fellow New Mexicans is evident, and I am grateful to have them as a partner on these important public health announcements.”

Forward Madison furthered its club’s reputation for quirky fan engagement by creating “Coffee with ‘Mingos.” Each morning, 15 fans can sign up for a morning video chat with players and coaches from the team.

The campaign was created in partnership with local Madison coffee co-op Just Coffee, which created a special “Wake The Flock Up” brew in partnership with Forward Madison. 

MLS suspension creates uncertainty for older players

For players already nearing the end of their career, the MLS suspension is only making time seem to move faster.

Los Angeles Galaxy forward Sacha Kljestan, 34, and LAFC defender Jordan Harvey, 36, are both the eldest players on their respective squads. They entered this season understanding that it might be one of the last of their extensive careers.

Both players are making the most of their periods of self-isolation — Harvey’s wife recently gave birth to their second child, and Kljestan is also enjoying extended time with wife and children.

However, both players are aware of the necessity to maintain their fitness at a more rigorous rate than some of their younger teammates. Harvey is lifting weights and riding a bike to follow a daily two-hour workout regimen, while Kljestan is following a running and circuit training program set up by the Galaxy’s performance coach.

“I know at this age, from talking to other guys, that getting back in shape is a lot harder than it used to be,” Kljestan told Kevin Baxter of the Los Angeles Times. “I’m going to do my best to stay in shape and I’m sure I’ll be fine. I’m not scared about that.”

Orlando Pride trainer creates non-traditional workouts

Despite the training moratorium, Orlando Pride strength and conditioning coach Ivi Casagrande is still finding ways to get people moving.

The trainer posted a video of herself leading a workout on Saturday while still following social distancing practices. Casagrande stood in the atrium of an apartment complex, leading a cardio workout from the first floor while athletes stood on their respective balconies.

“For my own sanity, being able to coach, give back to the community and stay active and healthy,” Casagrande wrote in her post. “We shall get through this together.”

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