Real Salt Lake staying patient, but eager to resume MLS season


Head coach Freddy Juarez holds first online press conference since MLS season was suspended

SANDY, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – While the NBA season had less than 20 games remaining when it was shut down because of the coronavirus, the Major League Soccer season was just getting started.

Real Salt Lake had played just two games, both draws, before the season was put on an indefinite hold. But head coach Freddy Juarez said in an interview on Zoom that his team is trying to stay positive.

“Overall, the psyche has been from the younger players to the oldest is they understand the importance of staying away from situations and being careful with distancing,” Juarez said. “They want to get back, but they also understand it’s something they have to do.”

Nobody knows when the MLS season will resume, but Juarez hopes teams will have at least three to four weeks to train before games begin again.

“If you do a week or two weeks, you better be prepared for a lot of injuries,” Juarez said. “I hope it’s a minimum of three weeks. That would be good, but four weeks would be awesome.”

MLS is still holding out hope for a full 34-game season, possibly playing three games a week. But there is also talk of a shortened season when play resumes.

“From what I heard, if we started in July we could possibly do the whole league,” Juarez said. “That’s the one thing I think [MLS Commissioner] Don Garber said he wanted to do the 34 games. But there is also been rumors of a condensed season, possibly playing just the West.”

During this time of reflection, Juarez hopes everyone, players, coaches and fans, will develop a new found appreciation for the game.

“I think an important aspect for all of us in the psychological part,” he said. “We’re regaining hunger. We’re missing it, we have that itch, all of us. I think that’s critical. I don’t want to say this is a good thing because it’s not. But, it’s important for the players, myself included, that we’re coming back with an excitement. Everyday, you can’t wait to get back.”

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