Like the rest of us, professional footballers currently find themselves with much more time on their hands than usual.
They’re working out, and discussing tactics with coaches, of course, but with the rest of their time, players have been free to find things to do during this hiatus due to COVID-19 pandemic.
Atlético Ottawa wingback Malyk Hamilton, for one, has been learning Spanish while at home in Calgary.
“A lot of my team, especially the coaching staff, are fluent in Spanish, so that’s one thing that I’ve been working on,” Hamilton told CanPL.ca. “When I was in Ottawa living with the guys, a lot of (them) spoke Spanish, so I picked up some stuff from them.”
Of course, he also competed in the recent eCPL Home To Play tournament with a few other CPLers and pro video gamers, and he added that things such as puzzles and card games with his family have helped pass the time as well.
Like the rest of Atlético Ottawa’s players, Hamilton was training with the club in Madrid as part of the team’s pre-season preparations when the order came to come back home. He wasn’t able to return to his native Calgary immediately, though, as he was required to self-quarantine with his teammates in Ottawa for two weeks upon returning to Canada.
“We waited on the green light from the league in order to be able to go home, then after that period some guys flew back or drove back home,” he said. “And now we’ve just been isolated at our homes, and respected the two-week quarantine once we got home as well.”
Hamilton explained that the players were split up into groups to live in houses together for that period. He was quarantined with a long-time friend of his, former West Ham United academy teammate Vashon Neufville.
“We were just able to reconnect and touch base again,” he said.
Neufville isn’t the only Ottawa teammate that Hamilton has enjoyed talking to in their brief time together, though.
“I see these (news) articles, I know that something that everyone seems to focus on is the cohesion of our team, and whether in a short period of time we’ll be able to get everyone on the same page,” Hamilton said. “But honestly, this group has clicked together so well. I feel comfortable talking to everyone on our team.
“It’s like I’ve been playing with them for years. That’s something that I’m not worried about at all.”
In all, Hamilton spent about 20 days or so in Ottawa with some of his new teammates — well beyond the required 14 — before flying home to his family in Calgary. Since then, his life has been similar to that of most CPLers at the moment.
“Where I am in Calgary, it’s not too bad in terms of cases (of COVID-19) and the severity of the situation,” he explained. “So I’ve been able to work out, go outside, go for runs. The weather’s started to heat up; it was like 16 degrees (one day) so I went for a run.”
He added that he’s lucky enough to have a fully-functional home gym in his basement as well, meaning he’s hoping to be in tip-top shape when he returns to the football pitch.
And if Hamilton is to be believed, that return to the football pitch will feature a more cohesive Atlético Ottawa than we all expected.