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Coronavirus Impacts: How One Youth Soccer League Is Using Virtual Training To Keep Its Athletes Sharp

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- A local soccer club is turning to online training to help keep their athletes sharp during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A typical soccer field is 75 yards wide and 120 yards long, but thanks to virtual training, players can now get in some training in a much smaller world.

Soccer practice for 8-year-old Diego Eshwar and his brother Adrian now looks a little different than it did a few weeks ago.

Instead of meeting up with their teammates at Pipeline Soccer Club, the boys now hone their skills at home, using virtual training.

"Even though I'm not with my teammates, and getting to play around and train, and I have my brother there so I can play with him too," Diego Eshwar said.


To help keep their nearly 1,500 players safe during the coronavirus pandemic, club founders Sean Rush and Santino Quaranta decided to shut down operations, but they still wanted a way for their teams to practice at home. That led them to the soccer training app Techne Futbol.

"Some live in apartments, some live in houses with big yards, some live in the city with no yards at all," Rush said. "So we wanted to connect to an organization that allowed these players to train."

Players log on to complete daily drills and track the time they spend training.

"They can see the players that are the leaders and the ones that are training on juggling, or working on fitness things," Rush said. "There's a leader board that shows who's doing what, so it's kinda keeping that competitive nature as well."

Diego's father, Raj, said after being stuck at home for a few weeks, it also gives his kids something to do.

"Amongst other things, they get bored at times, so this certainly takes away a good hour and a half to two hours of their day," Raj Eshwar said.

But for Diego, it's a chance to do something he loves, adding a little normalcy in a world that has been anything but lately.

As for other sports, the coaches at Pipeline recommend getting creative and making sure your athletes still feel that team connection.

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department's website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ's coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

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