The New England Revolution officially are getting back into the swing of things.
On Monday, the Revs participated in a full team training session for the first time since Major League Soccer suspended play on March 12 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They held a smaller group training at the team's facility Thursday, but this marked the first time in which the full squad returned to action.
Revolution head coach Bruce Arena was encouraged by what he saw in the team's first day back at work.
“The first day of training was good," Arena said. "You can’t expect too much on day one, but we have approximately four weeks to get our team ready for real competition. We’re going to work hard and get there, but I was impressed with the effort today.”
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New England's players were thrilled to reunite with their teammates at their state-of-the-art training facility in Foxboro, Mass.
“It feels great. Finally we can play football with each other again. It was a long time we had to train by ourselves, but finally we are back," said defender Alexander Büttner.
“It felt really good to be back, full training, for the first time in months," said defender Harry Kessler. "I think guys are going to be a little rusty, but it felt really good to be back. We’ve done a lot of running in the past weeks and I think we’re all glad to be back playing with the ball again.”
Now that the players are easing back into their regular routines, health and safety precautions are MLS' primary concerns. According to Büttner and Kessler, the league is doing a fine job with the safety protocols that have been put in place.
"We get tested almost three, four times a week and so I think it’s safe to train because the results are good," Büttner said. "I hope everybody stays safe and healthy.”
“It’s safe and reassuring that everyone’s been tested and no one tested positive. That’s really good news," said Kessler. "There was a blood test and then the other one was a bit uncomfortable. You have to stick something pretty far up your nose. Those were the tests but it’s good to have those done and make sure everyone’s healthy.”
MLS action is set to resume next month with a six-week summer tournament in Orlando, Fla. As for when the regular season will resume, MLS is reportedly hoping that can happen after the summer tournaments in home markets.