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Inter Miami players waiting for return to normalcy amid coronavirus outbreak


Like most people, Inter Miami players are biding their time. Like most people, Inter Miami players are anxiously awaiting to return to normalcy.

The suspension of the MLS season because of the COVID-19 pandemic has extended into a third week, and there is currently no clear end in sight as the world continues to deal with the contagious and deadly virus. The league has officially set May 10 as a target return date, but that may have to be pushed back given the ongoing situation in the United States.

For their part, Inter Miami players are continuing to work on maintaining their fitness. They may not be be practicing together, but they are practicing social distancing — all while hoping that things can get back to normal soon.

“It’s similar to everybody. Everybody is nervous, everybody is anxious, everybody is waiting to hear more news,” said Inter Miami midfielder Victor Ulloa on a conference call this week. “Obviously, it’s about more than just the game that we are playing right now. Obviously, I want to go back to work, I want to play soccer, and I want our fans to come watch us play. But I think it’s more important right now to listen to the health industry and to all the professionals, the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), and taking care of yourself so we can all get over this.

“I think, honestly, that’s the most important thing. I’m a little bit nervous, a little bit anxious, a little bit wondering what’s going on. But I’m staying up to date with what the team is telling us, what the MLS is deciding, and when we can come back to train.”

Inter Miami players may not be spending time together at the team’s practice facility right now, but they have seen each other through video calls. Club owners David Beckham and Jorge Mas have not been on those video chats to date, but head coach Diego Alonso and the entire group of players have in an effort to try to maintain chemistry and camaraderie.

That said, the change of pace has been a bit challenging despite its clear necessity.

“It’s been difficult because we went through preseason and started the season and played two games, so you kind of get into that routine and rhythm,” said Inter Miami left back Ben Sweat on a separate conference call. “Mentally, emotionally, physically, it’s go time, it’s the season. To kind of back off that, it’s been tough mentally.

“But it’s just having a lot of patience and realizing it’s out of our control. The best thing for us to do is just to be with our families right now, stay focused, work as much and as hard as we can with the space and the time we’re given during the day just to make sure sharp and we’re ready to go once the season is announced to start up.”

When things will return to normal or even a semblance of it is fuzzy right now, but all Inter Miami players can do in the meantime is continue to prepare for Major League Soccer’s eventual resumption of play.

Like most people, they want things to return to how they were but know full well that the safety of everyone is the No. 1 priority.

“Guys keep asking when we can train again, when we can come together, but the most important part is for everybody to stay healthy. All our family, our fans, everybody,” said Ulloa. “It’s about listening to the professionals so that we can get over what we’re going through in this tough time and get back to enjoying soccer and playing again.”

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