It wasn’t at all the manner in which the Colorado soccer team expected to get back on the field.
Yet getting back to team workouts at Prentup Field, regardless of the uncertainty swirling around any scenario for a 2020-21 season, nonetheless has been a welcome distraction.
Despite last week’s decision by the Pac-12 Conference to shutter all athletic competition until at least Jan. 1, coach Danny Sanchez’s soccer club has been back at work this week, going through small-group workouts while awaiting word as to what might come next in a new academic year that already is unlike any other.
CU did not release an official schedule, but typically this week is when the Buffs would have played their season opener. Instead, they are working and waiting.
“Obviously there are a lot of other schools that are in their normal season…but it’s not a normal preseason for us,” Sanchez said. “We’ll give them more time off. We’re not doing double-days. For us, it’s probably more like the winter or early spring right now. That’s kind of how we’re treating it.
“We’re just fortunate we can do what we can do right now. Our players are taking care of business. Obviously with school starting we know what kind of challenges that’s going to provide. Hopefully soon we’ll have a little bit more idea of our short term and longer term plan. But right now we’re just out there training and having fun together.”
The Buffaloes are training 20 hours per week while hoping the COVID-19 pandemic is reined in enough to embark on an altered season early in 2021. The Buffs are working out in small groups, per coronavirus guidelines, while awaiting word from the Pac-12 regarding what the remainder of the fall training schedule look like.
“We work in our functional groups but we can’t play 11-v-11. We can’t scrimmage, per se,” Sanchez said. “We just do a lot of technical work, a lot of functional training, stuff like that. We’ll wait for guidance from the Pac-12 as to when we can open it up a little bit.”
Sanchez said forward Filippa Graneld, a freshman from Sweden, arrived on campus earlier this week and is undergoing a mandatory quarantine in hopes of joining workouts next week. Despite conducting interviews earlier this month for his staff’s vacant staff position (coordinator of performance analysis and camp operations), that post will not be filled in the foreseeable future.
Kelly Brown left that position in June to take the head coach job at Regis University. Sanchez had been given the go-ahead to fill the spot, but the postponing of the season last week made the personnel matter less of a priority.
“They pumped the breaks on a lot of that (hiring) right now,” Sanchez said. “And it’s 100 percent understandable. I wasn’t surprised at all and I actually agree with the decision. Hopefully, as we get a better idea of what our season is going to look like in the spring, then we can readdress it later in the fall or around the holidays. Because at this point, there’s a lot of other issues in the athletic department that we have to address.”