FRISCO, Texas – With the MLS season suspended, FC Dallas players are taking advantage of the lack of travel to spend more time with their families—many of which are growing by the day.
There are 17 road matches in a typical MLS season meaning the players are away from their families two, three and sometimes even four times per month. However, since the season was halted in mid-March, the players are relishing the added facetime with their loved ones.
“I enjoy the family time and it’s just beautiful to stay with them,” said defender Reto Ziegler, who celebrated his daughter Valentina's first Birthday just days after the MLS suspension was announced. “I was able to see my daughter’s first steps. In a normal year with normal competition, I’m traveling a lot and that’s something that I for sure wouldn’t have seen.”
For midfielder Michael Barrios, the suspension was actually quite timely. Barrios welcomed daughter Luciana into the world 11 days before FC Dallas kicked off its 2020 season against the Philadelphia Union. While that first game was at home, the team was scheduled to go on five away trips over the next two months—a less than ideal travel schedule for a new father.
“(I’m) very happy for the birth of my daughter,” Barrios said. “She’s practically [three] months old now and I’m trying to enjoy this time with her. If we were playing, my time with her would have been a lot shorter because of the trainings, the matches and all the traveling. So, this quarantine fell at the right time in a sense because I can share it with both my daughter and my partner. I think that has been essential for me.”
While the extra family time is a blessing – especially for the players with young children – they’re still eager for a return to the sport they love.
“I’m glad to spend time with my family but at the same time I miss the game,” Ziegler added.
“So, it’s a strange feeling. But I think we’re getting closer to real competition.”