FRISCO, Texas – FC Dallas head coach Luchi Gonzalez joined K&C Masterpiece on 105.3 The Fan for another episode of “The Luchi Gonzalez Show”, presented by Toyota.
As the second week away from the beautiful game comes to a close, Gonzalez talked about the adaptation process and what it was like for him.
“For me, the first week was tough, to be honest. Soccer is a big part of my life,” Gonzalez said. “I’m very passionate about it. I look forward to going to work every day – so much so that I don’t call it work.”
Although the time away from his players and staff was never going to be easy, the halt in play allowed Gonzalez to spend a lot more time with his family.
“I’ve actually had a better second week with the family, being close to my kids and my wife. [I’m] learning about the situation in the world and putting things into perspective,” Gonzalez said. “I have so much respect and admiration for the people that are putting their own lives on the line, from the doctors, nurses and food donators. They are the real heroes for me right now.”
As the club continues to find creative ways to keep its players engaged and focused on the ultimate goal of lifting an MLS Cup, Gonzalez and his staff are continuing to search for that perfect balance.
“With the players, we need to always respect their personal time, especially with those that are home helping with their kids’ online school. That is not easy,” he said. “We do need to create some boundaries. We do need to have a commitment each day of the week with a scheduled time for a video conference or an activity that [the players] do on their own. It has to have flexibility. We’re not going to know that perfect solution until we try things, get feedback and then try them again.”
After a couple weeks focused solely on general physical plans, it is now time to transition the activities to more social climate.
“We’ve got some ideas that we are going to implement next week,” Gonzalez said. “We’ve got to do some things that are not typical, but I think that could help us develop in other ways that, when we do get to play this game again, we’re going to be stronger from it.”
Even a competitive match of FIFA wouldn’t hurt, believe it or not.
“It’s the game. You’re envisioning yourself being this player and having this time and this space. You have opposition, teammates and a goal,” Gonzalez said about the wildly popular video game series. “That stimulation is as close as these guys are getting to playing real games, other than maybe virtual reality. A FIFA game is actually quite beneficial for our players right now.”
To close out his fifth appearance on the radio, Gonzalez was asked to give the soccer parents out there a plan to help their children stay sharp.
“There’s always this debate in youth development about the philosophy of ball mastery versus decisions, [awareness] of teammates and being able to pass the ball. I’m going to say my philosophy: both are important,” he said. “Whether you have a six-year-old, a ten-year-old or an eighteen-year-old, make sure that you keep things global – dribbling through cones, different footwork exercises – but you are also stimulating some type of decision making – having their head up, recognizing a teammate or opponent and either dribble around them or pass to beat them. I know these are hard things to do when you only have limited people in your household. Maybe you can only use the wall. Use the wall because it is a teammate.”
But perhaps most importantly, Gonzalez believes it is crucial to not be too picky about the playing surface.
“Don’t be afraid to play [on different surfaces]. Get on the concrete and play. Kids all over the world are playing on different surfaces,” Gonzalez said. “It doesn’t need to be a beautiful grass field. It can be dirt, concrete or grass.”
The coach will be back at it again next Thursday at 1:30 pm.