Earthquakes right back Tommy Thompson had an early read on the coronavirus pandemic. But even seeing the entire 11-million population of Wuhan, China on complete lockdown, he didn’t know how or if it would translate to North America or beyond.
“We were all just confused by it,” Thompson told NBC Sports California of discussions with his teammates. “There wasn’t any real indication from the league or management that this would have the potential to cause our league to come to a standstill.”
The Quakes had completed a full training camp, and already played their first two matches when MLS suspended the season in mid-March.
“It’s been bizarre,” Thompson said. “My heart goes out to everyone affected by coronavirus, and at this point, everyone has been affected some way or another.”
Recently as two weeks ago, the MLS had targeted a return for May 10, which might already seem outdated, and distant from life priorities. Thompson says the best approach might be to avoid the highs and lows of over-speculating.
“It’s important for us to focus on the virus and fattening the curve,” Thompson said. “After that, sports will come. Life will return back to normal. It’s important to look forward to that time, but you can’t get too caught up in getting excited or disappointed.”
In the mean time, the Sacramento native has been keeping busy with two new-found activities: Cooking, and launching his YouTube channel.
He recently uploaded more than 50 soccer trick and instructional videos, specifically aimed at keeping a young audience entertained and developing their skills.
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“I wanted to challenge kids of the United States to do different skills that I used to work on in the garage of my home,” Thompson said. “I thought now would be the perfect time to communicate that it’s still possible to practice.”
Thompson has seen rewarding growth, from literally zero, to tens of thousands of views in a week.
“It shows that kids need this right now,” Thompson said. “And it makes me excited to see that they’re staying productive by watching, and doing these drills at home.”