The USL is set to restart it's season on July 11th, on Monday the Switchbacks entered phase two of training protocols, allowing groups of ten onto the pitch for training. The Switchbacks don't know yet what their schedule will look like, but they have some direction, "When we were practicing and there was no set date on when we were going to return, that's always a little daunting. To be able to know exactly when we need to be ready is a huge help," says Switchbacks forward, Austin Dewing.
With larger groups, the Switchbacks can rev up the intensity. This is effectively a second pre-season, "To be able to play and to simulate things that are much more game like, and things that are actually going to get us back to being ready to compete, is a big deal and a big step in the right direction," says Dewing. There's still a lot of work to be done. The players are going up against motionless mannequins, "You need to have contact. Obviously that's a major topic as we progress through this pandemic. The next step to be able to prepare yourself to play the game, because there's going to be contact in a game, is to have contact training," says Switchbacks manager, Alan Koch. With the return of the season a month away, the Switchbacks are excited, "It doesn't even feel like the same world to be brutally honest. We are living in such different times with so many different. challenges presenting themselves. That first game is going to be very very unique. Personally I almost want to go up and hug the opposing coach. It's like: we've all been through these challenges together. This is exciting to be back. Let's go for it," says Koch.>