VANCOUVER, BC – As the ‘Caps prepare to travel to Orlando for the MLS is Back Tournament, the long pause in the 2020 season will soon conclude. While lengthy, the break served many players as a way to prepare for the upcoming competition.
Jake Joachim, Whitecaps FC Head of Player Medical Care, is tasked to ensure that players are fit and healthy for matches and training. He discussed how the squad and specific players were able to use the extended break to their advantage, and highlighted one name that fans could look forward to seeing more of.
“This break has allowed Jasser Khmiri to make good strides forward in his strengthening and rehabbing his left knee,” Joachim said.
Coming off meniscus surgery in November 2018 to make his debut towards the end of last season, the young Tunisian defender has used his time in quarantine to recover as he looks to make become a regular presence with the Blue and White.
As for the rest of the squad, players were able to participate in new training techniques that aren’t typically associated with soccer.
“We got to utilize yoga once a week,” Joachim said. “A full yoga session which helps with guys’ mobility and flexibility.”
Additionally, Joachim noted the importance of the recent absence of international duty and what that means for the ‘Caps that weren’t able to play for their country.
“It is very difficult to measure the toll,” Joachim said. “But, those guys who never get a break from soccer because of international duty, not having international duty meant that they didn’t do any time zone traveling, they got into a routine at home that allowed them to eat well, possibly sleep more and allow their body and mind to recover.”
While the training routines have benefitted the squad, all eyes are now set on Orlando as the 'Caps prepare to adjust to the Central Florida climate and humidity level fairly different than that of the Pacific Northwest.
“There is certain training that we implement to try and increase blood volume and that is what playing in the humidity over time, your body will adjust and your blood volume will go up,” Joachim said. “The only other way is the more conditioned you are, the more fit you are, the easier the transition is to the heat.”
“So, as we build up and we are able to start training here, we will work those in,” Joachim added. “This is from the ground up because different players had different levels of activity during the break. We’re really pushing each one properly and loading them the whole way so that we can get them as conditioned as possible before we can even leave.”