FRISCO, Texas – Despite testing positive for COVID-19 in early August, North Texas SC Head Coach Eric Quill was able to remain involved and coach his team remotely.
Quill was fully vaccinated when he tested positive and followed USL League One COVID-19 protocols. He was quarantined away from players and staff.
“I'm able to watch training live as it happens and we get on a staff call after the training and discuss player performance and assess what we tried to apply and whether or not it helped,” Quill continued. “Then we design the next day’s training session. It's really nice to be able to have these live training sessions I feel like I'm watching it in real-time and able to be in sync with the workday of players and staff.”
The team and staff adapted quickly to the circumstances to ensure the best possible outcome.
"I call players on the phone, I'm in communication with them about their training performance because I’m watching it and also about the game and the opponent on the weekend. I'm watching a lot of video at home so I know the matchups we need to have in these games. I'll call a player and let them know their matchup and then make sure they’re prepared mentally with that match up. Then I have staff show individual video on their matchup, so they're hearing from me and they know what I expect and then they have a video image in real-time.”
Tanner Holley, the Soccer Operations Manager for NTSC, quickly became the right-hand man for communication. He also operated the video cameras that allowed Quill to view the training sessions live.
“I find out what he wants the schedule to look like for the weekend follow-up with certain players about how they’re doing. If there are injuries or anything going on in the locker room I relay any of that information to him.”
Quill was unable to be present for their game against Tucson which ended up being the team's first win on the road. During the match against Tucson, the live stream wasn’t working, leaving Quill in the dark unable to watch his players’ performance.
"I was going a little bit crazy, I was looking forward to watching it on video and being able to see live play and then be able to communicate a piece of instruction from what I'm seeing to staff in my call at halftime. But I ended up texting Tanner Holley for my game analysis. I really had to go off the score and what I thought the mentality of Tucson would be at halftime being down 2-0.” Quill stated.
"We exchanged probably over 150 text messages during the game. I texted him trying to describe every moment in the game to him, then he would ask me questions about how each player was doing and I would let him know whether it was good or bad. I would jot down the notes he would have on a notepad and pass it on to the coaching staff.”
After winning against Tucson the new communication method was successful.
"It was a weird first few days, missing our leader and the voice of the team in the locker room. He keeps everyone motivated, but I think we figured it out pretty well, he still made daily decisions.” Holley said.