Valencia’s academy boys might be stuck at home, but in no way are they slacking off. From jump squats to dribbling drills and shot-blocking practices – academy players are sharing their exercise routines or tricks as part of a #StayHomeChallenge.
Such “homework”, which also come with a nutrition plan and guides from the club’s psychology department, are helping them to stay fit, as well as adjust to and break the monotony of being confined at home. Coaches are keeping in close contact with players and their families.
“We had been preparing our contingency plans for a while. We were able to quickly suspend training, once the youth divisions were halted. Our players were sent home to be with their families,” said Sean Bai, director of Valencia’s academy.
A surge in Covid-19 cases in Spain has forced the government to put the country on lockdown since last Saturday, preventing people from leaving home except to go to work, get medical care or buy food. Valencia closed its training grounds for the first team and academy the day before.
Not forgetting the fans, VCF media has also launched a special 24-hour programme that can be followed on the official Valencia CF app and website. Content from the VCF Centenary will be broadcast, such as its opening act, interviews with VCF legends, commemorative events and the Centenary Day, including the legends match.
The club is also in the midst of hosting an online e-sports tournament to engage fans. “Apart from the medical aspect, it is important to keep the morale high as we brave through this difficult situation together with the entire community,” said Bai.
About a dozen of the club’s first team, including players and staff, have been infected with Covid-19. Though none have any symptoms, they have all been isolated. Other than daily phone checks by coaching staff, the club’s doctors are also making daily house calls to do health screenings and conduct spot checks.
“Quarantine means stay home and follow (the) work plan and diet. We check your weight! The key is to come back operational. And ready to start competing again,” said club president Anil Murthy.
The team will be back to training on March 30, unless the Spanish government implements new measures that prevent them from doing so. “We hope to return to the competition soon. Because we are still fighting for our objective of Champions League next year,” said Murthy.