Cornelius: 'Everyone was looking forward to this day'

VANCOUVER, BC - It feels good to be back as one.

On Monday, Vancouver Whitecaps FC players returned to full team training in preparation for the MLS is Back tournament.

Midfielder Russell Teibert said that everybody was excited getting back on the field at the training facility at UBC and some teammates we’re even out early to get 5v2 drills going.

“It's a great feeling, it's why we play this game. For that team camaraderie, to be able to be in a team environment, a team atmosphere. We all missed it. I mean, it just brings us back to the reason why we play this game,” said Teibert. “It’s the kid inside of all of us that loves the game of football. Just being able to be back on the field kicking the ball around with your friends, with your teammates.”

The anticipation of going back on the field after a three-month pause gave Teibert some earlier childhood memories to reminisce about. 

“I remember being a kid, you know inside math class or science class in elementary school, and just waiting for the bell to ring, to go outside and play soccer on the field at recess. That's what it felt like, ‘Finally the bell rang, finally back outside,’” said Teibert.

Despite a typical rainy day in Vancouver, the weather didn’t stop players like Derek Cornelius from containing his joy.

“I don't think there was anything that could stop the excitement. Whether it’s thunderstorming or anything, if we're told we can go back out there and play again, you know it’s a good day,” said Cornelius.

Going back on the field while being able to play with his teammates again, Cornelius said that he didn’t have any rust to shake off.

“For me personally, I felt good. I felt excited because it's almost like we've been held back for these last three months,” said Cornelius. “So it felt good to be finally back out there and being able to go full on again.”

The ‘Caps were drawn into Group B of the upcoming tournament, in which they will face FC Dallas, San Jose Earthquakes, and Seattle Sounders FC. 

The two Canadian internationals feel good about their upcoming journey in Orlando.

“We were all anticipating that draw, I mean, we knew it was coming. I think everybody's excited, how this tournament is going to unfold. And you know, everybody's excited to play in meaningful games, getting back to doing what we love and that's playing the game of soccer,” said Teibert. “It's a tournament setup, and I can't remember the last time I've been in a tournament like that. So it's gonna be exciting, again, I think everybody is anticipating how it's all going to unfold.”

The ‘Caps played their last MLS match visiting the LA Galaxy on March 7 with a big road win, which captivated the whole squad. Cornelius points out how the result of this game still has its effects onto the team’s mentality going forward.

“We're feeling good, right before the break we had to go into lockdown, we had a massive win away against a solid team,” said Cornelius. “So I think that also not only gives us confidence, but it also should be an eye opener to many other people. Just about how good the Whitecaps are this season.”