STATESBORO, Ga. – This past weekend was supposed to be one filled with action for players across USL League One as its second season got underway.
Instead, players and staffs from clubs around the league were looking to take care and stay safe while waiting for the danger posed by COVID-19 to subside.
For some players, that meant staying connected digitally with family. That was especially the case for the contingent of international players that feature in League One, for whom getting news from home has been as important as ensuring they follow proper protocols to stay safe during the global pandemic.
For South Georgia Tormenta FC’s Nil Vinyals and Marco Micaletto – who come from Barcelona, Spain and Taviano, Italy, respectively – the news has been good so far, even with their families in two countries where the pandemic has spread rapidly.
“The only one that I would worry more about is my grandmother, because she's over 80 years old,” Vinyals told WJCL’s Dave Williams. “She's good, healthy, but still older, which is at risk, but the rest of my family is fine and I'm happy to be able to say that.”
“All of my family is healthy, and I don't think it's done yet because it's still a really, really hard time," added Micaletto. “But everyone is under house arrest essentially, so if you haven't gotten it up until now, there's a no real reason for you to get it.”
Tormenta FC’s players are doing what they can to remain in good spirits – Micaletto and Vinyals are both part of the group that has taken up painting to pass the time between fitness work – and are looking forward to eventually getting back onto the field at Erk Russell Park.
Until it’s completely safe to do so, however, the pair will put their seasons on hold and wait for more news from home.
“It's a small sacrifice for us, we will play this season,” Micaletto told Williams. “We will play a game, I will kick another ball, I will play in front of fans, I will play with my teammates and we will play North Texas. I'm just going to put it on hold because it's the right thing to do right now.”
“If I compare myself, sacrificing myself of not playing a football game compared to all the health workers in Spain that are going every day working 12 hours, 14 hours to be to take care of the people at risk,” added Vinyals. “There is no sacrifice for me.”