“Sport, rightfully so, has to take a back seat at the moment.”
Valour FC coach Rob Gale. (Valour)
These are uncharted waters, and Valour FC boss Rob Gale is trying to help navigate his Canadian Premier League squad through the choppy seas.
Valour FC was into the first week of its second-ever training camp last Friday when the CPL instituted a hold on all training activities due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
“All we can do is wait and follow the expert advice of medical people and make sure we’re doing the right thing for society,” said Gale in an interview with valourfootball.club this week. “And, within that, each of us must try to do what we can to stay connected and keep preparing for playing for when we all get back together again.”
In the wake of the CPL’s decision to put camps on hold, Gale said six players who were on trial during the camp have headed home, while the 13 already settled in Winnipeg will remain.
“All the players that are already housed here are staying,” he said. “The others we were going to sign for the preseason have returned to their home base because they would have needed to get their stuff anyway. They will come in when everybody gets the all-clear to do so.”
Valour FC has made other daily-routine adjustments as a result of COVID-19. The team has set up an individual workout schedule for players so that they don’t come into contact with each other at the training facility.
“It’s been organized by our medical staff in conjunction with our cleaning staff and it’s very important that they come in on an individual basis,” Gale said. “We hope that once the weather gets better we can add an endurance or running component on top of that.”
The Valour FC roster has undergone a significant makeover from its inaugural season to 2020. Gale said Valour’s medical staff is in daily contact with the players while the coaching staff – including Damian Rocke and Patrick Di Stefani – will check in on the social well-being of the players every couple of days.
“We also might start some remote teaching and video watching,” he added. “I think it’s important to still have that learning and social interaction if we can do it remotely so that we stay connected as a group.”
Fingers crossed, Gale is among the millions who hope a return to normal is not far off and that he can get his Valour FC squad back to work in preparation for a 2020 CPL season.
“No matter how you look at it, it’s tough for everyone,” he said. “With so many people sick and succumbing to this it’s hard to think about sport. It’s our job, it’s our livelihood, it’s entertainment and I’d love to get back and have a season because what that means then is society has returned to normal.
“The silver lining I take out of this is how people are treating each other and coming together while realizing how important doctors, nurses, social workers, the front-line workers to everyone’s way of life. Sport, rightfully so, has to take a back seat at the moment.”