BOSTON (CBS) — The “new normal” as the country deals with the coronavirus pandemic includes a life without sports. There are much bigger things going on in the world than the lack of athletic competition, but sports provide a nice escape from reality for many.
Life will hopefully get back to the “old normal” soon, but at the moment, there is no return dates for any of the major sports leagues. It was reported Wednesday that Major League Soccer won’t be getting back to action before June 8.READ MORE: I-Team: Kids In Crisis Spend Weeks In Emergency Room Waiting For Mental Health Services
New England Revolution head coach Bruce Arena would love to get back to work on the pitch, but not before it is safe to do so. Like many, he’s hoping sports everywhere will return soon to provide a much-needed breath of fresh air around the country.
“I think it’s critically important,” Arena told WBZ-TV’s Dan Roche. “We have the largest sports market in the world and no other countries can support all the professional sports that we can. It’s a way of life for a lot of people. Even if we can’t have gated games, just to get games back on television will mean so much for the fans in all the different sports around our country.”
Arena said that he and his Revolution staff are reaching out to players numerous times during the week, making sure they’re doing their part to stay physically and mentally sharp for when play does resume. A number of players were given training equipment before MLS went on its hiatus, but self-isolation has made it difficult for many to stay game-ready.READ MORE: Worcester Businesses Hope WooSox Help Them Bounce Back From COVID Pandemic
“The guys living in Boston are living in apartments, so it’s not easy and it’s a real challenge mentally. Hopefully the guys have a good frame of mind right now,” said Arena. “I know everybody in every sport in our country, the athletes are eager to get back and so are the coaches. Hopefully in the near future that can happen, but I’m not optimistic.”
Arena believes MLS players will need a month of training camp to resume the season.
“Our sport is different. I remember when I was with the Los Angeles Galaxy, and my owner also owned the L.A. Kings. The Kings would come in on a Thursday in preseason, and play an exhibition on Saturday. You can do that in hockey, take a 20-second shift and make a lot of substitutions and use a lot of players. In soccer, there are three substitutions in a regulation game,” he said. “Conditioning is really challenging in our sport and you need a full preseason. From my experience, it takes a good two months until our players are really fit. We’re going to need some serious time to get ready to play competitively.”MORE NEWS: TD Garden Capacity Increases As Bruins Head Into Playoffs
A five-time MLS Cup champ and the winningest coach in MLS history, Arena is now in his second season as the Sporting Director and head coach of the Revs. He came out of retirement to take over the franchise midway through last season, and the Revs finished the year on an 8-3-8 run to earn a spot in the postseason. The team started the 2020 season at 0-1-1 before the league halted play in March.