COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – MLS resumed individual workouts on training grounds this week. For the first time in nearly two months, MLS players are driving to their club’s training facilities and doing drills on team pitches. The Colorado Rapids are set to do so on Monday. Robin Fraser is confident that the Burgundy and Blue are in a good place with the league set to resume the week of June 8.
Project Restart: Robin Fraser Confident as Colorado Rapids Start Training Monday
“We’ve been able to do work to maintain their fitness and strength. We’ve been able to maintain their mental sharpness with the video work we’ve done,” Fraser said on a Zoom conference call on Thursday.
The club had a comprehensive plan for the pandemic. Head of Performance Chad Kolarcik set up training regiments and got equipment to every player. The club had weekly workout and other video meetings.
The coaching staff had regular meetings with players by position as well, that included film sessions. Fraser elaborated on what the club needs to do to be ready for Monday:
“We need to make sure we have enough equipment to make it purposeful for the players. Cones, flags, balls, rebounders. It’s important that we have enough equipment that it’s purposeful for the players. We would like to make it that they gain something out of it everytime they come out. It is voluntary,” adding “currently, we’re planning to use two fields at a time and run eight players at a time.”
The club knows whomever handled this shutdown the best will be at an advantage coming out of the restart. For Colorado, that means being fit at altitude. The Rapids had less than two week of training in Commerce City prior to team trainings being susepnded.
“You are an altitle team, but you’re not an altitude team until you actually are [at altitude] for several weeks. Once we get started, inspite of the possiblity of playing with no fans, we will have an advantage,” said Fraser.
“We are aclimated. It’s just gettout on at training and getting game fit at altitude.”
There is a lot of uncertainty about the schedule and what lies ahead. The timeline for group training, full team trainings, and starting play again are not set in stone.
“I feel like everything now is all so new to us. We’re still trying to navigate these waters. We don’t know when it’s going to be safe,” said Fraser.
When asked about the timeline, he said “I think when we get to two players in training, the progress will be accelerated. Any small sessions will cut that time down.”
It’s clear the club’s and players’ efforts find Robin Fraser confident they can navigate this. They’ll be ready to play games again when the time comes. Certainly a month into the season restart could have them 90 minutes fit at altitude and ready to again challenge for the playoffs in the Western Conference of MLS.