There may be growing concerns about the MLS is Back Tournament given some of the positive cases that have surfaced, but things feel pretty safe inside the league “bubble” as far as Inter Miami is concerned.
Inter Miami has spent three days at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin resort, and the expansion side’s initial impressions of the base hotel that all teams will stay at have been nothing short of positive. The club has not only enjoyed some of the more fun activities the resort has to offer, but players also stated that they feel safe in the MLS base in Orlando, Florida.
“We’ve talked a lot about the organization that the tournament has and the amenities the hotel has,” said centerback Nicolas Figal in Spanish on a conference call on Friday afternoon. “We’ve had (video and board) games to play. We went golfing. Truthfully, it’s a really well organized tournament and we feel very safe.”
Of course, the hotel setup is a bit different than what the players are used to.
In an effort to try and reduce the chances of COVID-19 spreading inside the bubble, MLS has given each player his own room. Teammates typically become roommates in sets of twos on most road trips, but the league has put in place this protocol of one player per room to try and mitigate the risk of infection.
That is not to say that the players spend most of the day alone. Each team has its own designated entertainment area that players can go into together. The rooms have many fun offerings, including lounge chairs, a poker table, and arcade, console, card, and board games.
Inter Miami players visited their shared space during their “day off” on Thursday and also got their competitive juices flowing with a game of golf on the resort’s course.
“We have a great lounge that guys can convene in, in social distance type of situations,” said midfielder Wil Trapp. “There’s Playstation, there’s FIFA, there’s all those sorts of games and such. Yesterday, we had a nice time where we could kind of stretch our legs a little bit and go golfing.
“It was pretty amazing to see some novice golf players and some seasoned vets, for sure, and that’s just great. Not only for the mental side of this but for team building as well.”
Inter Miami’s early reviews are positive, but not everyone that has entered the bubble has had the same experience. While no Inter Miami players have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since arriving to Central Florida, FC Dallas has had a number of positive cases, a development that has forced that entire Western Conference team to stop practicing and enter isolation.
A level of concern with regards to a further spread certainly exists in these trying times and is something that may not go away soon. That said, not everyone inside the bubble is overly worried or uneasy.
Inter Miami feels safe right now and is very pleased with how things have been handled thus far.
“I know inside the bubble it can feel — it’s just different,” said Trapp. “It’s not a scenario any of us have ever experienced. The thing you can lean on is what’s being communicated from our club and what’s being communicated from the league, and that’s the protocols that are in place.”