FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – After three long months, the New England Revolution dusted off their boots together as a squad on Monday morning, taking the training fields for their first full-team training session.
Since March 12 – when the MLS season was suspended due to COVID-19 – the players had largely been working out remotely at home. While the players had opportunities to conduct voluntary individual workouts and small group training periods starting in mid-May, June 8 marked a milestone as they resumed full-team training sessions.
In doing so, the Revs became one of the first professional sports teams in North America to resume full training.
“It felt really good to be back in full training for the first time in months,” said Henry Kessler. “I think guys are going to be a little rusty, but it felt really good to be back. We’ve done a lot of running in the past week and I think we’re glad to be back playing with the ball again.”
“I think everybody was super eager to get back out there in that team environment,” said Matt Turner. “We all really missed it. It’s a big part of our lives so getting back out there, getting to pass the ball between each other a little bit and getting that feeling of being a real team again was super nice.”
While the team has truly missed this feeling of camaraderie, they’ve also missed the ability to compete with each other on the pitch.
“This might be a defender’s answer, but I missed competing the most,” said Kessler. “You can kick a ball around, still try to do technical stuff, but competing against another guy, that’s something that we didn’t have.”
The squad leaned into their competitive spirit during Monday’s training session.
“We did some small games, some crosses, so for me it was a good training,” said Alexander Büttner. “Most things were in small areas and quick and fast return to the ball and everything on crosses, so it was really good to be training again.”
While returning to full-team training is a big step forward for the Revs, there is still a lot of work that lies ahead for the team.
“The first day of training was good,” said head coach Bruce Arena. “You can’t expect too much on day one, but we have approximately four weeks to get our team ready for real competition so we’re going to work hard and get there, but I was impressed with the efforts today.”
The Revs have their sights set on taking advantage of these weeks before they depart for the MLS Is Back Tournament in Orlando, Florida, which will run from July 8 through August 11.